How Long To Break In Leather Boots?

New leather boots always look fantastic, but they can be a blister-inducing beast to break in! If you've just got a pair of leather boots, you should know how long it takes to get them feeling comfortable. Knowing this average timeframe will help you prepare for breaking boots in and better understand if your boots aren't the right fit. 

It usually takes 3-4 days of wear to break in a pair of leather boots. However, you shouldn't wear new boots all the time to hit this average faster. Instead, space out short walks every other day until your boots start to feel comfortable. 

Anyone who wants to wear leather boots should know what the breaking-in process feels like to figure out whether their footwear is the proper fit. Reviewing this info can save your feet a whole lot of unnecessary misery. Keep reading to learn more!

Leather boots used for hiking in a forest, How Long To Break In Leather Boots?

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How Long Does It Take To Break In Leather Boots? 

Many boot manufacturers claim it takes about 80-100 hours to break in a pair of leather boots. That translates to roughly 3-4 days. 

However, it's essential to note that you won't "speed up" this process by wearing your leather boots every day to form creases. Ironically, it's quicker if you take frequent "breaks" while breaking in leather boots. 

For pro tips on how leather boot fans break in a fresh pair of boots, take a peek at this YouTube video:

Do Leather Boots Hurt At First?

Fashion model wearing jeans and brown boots with zipper

Leather boots won't feel "comfortable" at first, but they shouldn't feel excruciating. If you notice your feet are tingly or that you're losing blood circulation in your feet, there's a good chance you need to adjust your size. 

The best way to know your initial "boot pain" is typical is to get the proper boot size from the start. The best strategy is to visit a boot store and get measured by a specialist. 

For those who can't go to a store that sells the boots they want, it's still important to know a precise foot size. Please visit a shoe shop and get a proper measurement before ordering leather boots online. 

Please watch the video below for pro tips on finding the ideal leather boot size:

How Do You Speed Up Breaking In Leather Boots? 

Side view of a male walking downstairs using boots as fashion

There's no secret formula to breaking in leather boots. Unfortunately, many people who use "cheat codes" to crease their leather boots often destroy them.

As strange as it may sound, the fastest strategy to properly break in leather boots is to go slow! Start by wearing your new boots for one or two hours at your house. Keep this up for a few days indoors to ensure you have the proper fit. 

After a few days of breaking in your leather boots at home, you could go for a short walk around your neighborhood. Just be careful not to wear leather boots for too long on rainy or damp days. For more info, take a look at this post: Can You Wear Leather Boots In The Rain?

Most boot experts recommend breaking in leather boots by going on low-intensity walks in stretches of 2-4 hours every other day. The rest period is essential for both healing your feet and reducing excessive sweat exposure on your leather boots. 

Will Thick Socks Help Break In Leather Boots? 

Wearing thick wool socks will make breaking in leather boots a more enjoyable process. Not only will these thicker socks help prevent blisters but they can also help stretch the leather faster than thin socks would.

Click here to see these socks on Amazon.

If you don't feel like buying a bunch of thick wool socks, at least wear two pairs of the thickest socks you have at home. You could also add a few Band-Aids to blister-prone areas like your heels as a preventative measure. 

Does Boot Conditioner Help Break In Leather Boots?

Cleaning shoes on wooden floor

Conditioning your boots is a great way to help loosen the leather and prevent damage from rain or other natural elements. Just be sure you're using a conditioner approved for use on leather boots before applying it.

Click here to see this leather conditioner on Amazon.

Although conditioning leather boots is excellent for long-term care, please don't overdo it. Too much conditioning can lead to oversaturation which could destroy your boots' precious leather. 

To find out the proper technique for conditioning leather boots, please read our guide: How Often To Condition Leather Boots

Can You Break In Boots Without Wearing Them?  

Gorgeous boots for men

You can't break in your leather boots simply by bending them with your hands. At some point, you need your feet to come in contact with your boots to form natural creases. 

That being said, it doesn't hurt to bend your boots in between walking sessions. This is no replacement for wearing your boots while breaking them in, but bending them a few times with your hands doesn't hurt. 

Does Warm Water Help Break In Leather Boots Quicker? 

Brown wet hiking boot

Most manufacturers don't recommend soaking leather boots in water to break them in. Too much water exposure puts your leather at a greater risk of cracking, which will diminish its appearance and reduce its longevity. 

Since leather boots are an expensive investment, you should do everything you can to avoid exposing them to water. Indeed, many boot fans work hard to waterproof their leather boots. 

To find out a few DIY strategies to waterproof your leather boots, please watch this video:

Is A Water And Alcohol Spray Good For Breaking In Leather Boots? 

Another "trick" some people use to break in leather boots is to spray tough spots with a mix of water and alcohol. However, most professional boot manufacturers don't recommend this method.

As mentioned above, water can damage leather after frequent dousings. Also, alcohol will erode your boots' dyes. It's far better to rely on leather-approved oils and conditioners than to apply alcohol and water while breaking in leather boots. 

Will Heating Leather Boots Help Break Them In Faster?

Like putting leather boots in water, it's not good to "speed up" breaking in boots by heating them. Heat will dry out your leather, which quickly degrades the quality of your boots. 

Although warm temps will loosen leather, the concentrated heat of a hairdryer (or an oven!) isn't good news for your boots. Instead, it's far better to use the sun's natural heat for a slight boost. 

In fact, some people claim breaking in boots is easier in the summer versus the fall or winter. Keep this weather factor in mind before deciding when to break in your boots. 

Could Leather Boots Shrink Over Time? 

Travel boots perfect for hiking ang long travels

Leather boots can shrink over time if you don't wear them frequently enough. The less often you walk with your leather boots on, the higher chance the leather will harden and shrink. 

It's also possible for leather boots to shrink if they come into contact with a lot of water. Indeed, for this reason, boot experts never recommend putting your boots in hot water to help break them in.

If you'd like more details on this issue, please read our post: Do Leather Boots Shrink Over Time?

How Do You Know When Leather Boots Are Broken In?

Boots perfect buddy for travel and long travel

People have different definitions of when they've successfully "broken in" leather boots. However, the critical factor is comfort. Can you "stand" standing in these boots for long periods? If so, then you've probably broken them in. 

You may want to take note of how long it takes until your new leather boots feel uncomfortable while on walks. With each successive wear, you should notice it takes a bit longer for your feet to start to feel sore. 

Hopefully, as the break-in process continues, you'll eventually come to a point where you don't notice any discomfort when wearing your boots. At this stage, you can safely say you've broken in your leather boots. 

Please Practice Patience While Breaking In Your New Leather Boots! 

Breaking in leather boots can be a bummer. Depending on your shoe model, it can take weeks before you feel like your shoes are getting slightly comfortable. However, taking a deliberately slow approach to breaking in boots is always the best strategy.

Leather boots used for hiking in a forest

While it usually takes about 80-100 hours of wear to break in leather boots, you should only use this range as a general guide. Please always start breaking in your boots indoors at home so you can double-check your boots' size. 

You must start on the "right foot" if you're going to break in boots properly. Swap your leather boots until you know the size is right for you before going through the breaking-in process. 

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