How Long Does it Take To Break in Hiking Boots?

Have you ever purchased hiking boots that felt great at the store but later felt tight around your toes and pinched with every stride?

Well, that’s because you didn’t break in your new boots and precisely why you need to break in before your next hiking trip. 

Breaking in hiking boots is important for a comfortable hiking experience and if at all you care for the well being of your feet. It is a gradual process that will take you 80 to 100 hours depending on two main factors that we will talk about in the next section.

Before your next hiking trip, lets quickly look at how to break in your new pair of hiking boots.

What determines how long it will take to break in hiking boots?

It may take longer or a shorter time to break in boots to a wearable state, however, that will be determined by:

  1. Types of hiking boots 

If you go for the trail runners or the low-cut, lightweight shoes, not much time may be needed to get such boots broken. Ten miles could get them ready for the go.

However, if you opt for the heavy-duty mountaineering boots, definitely more time and more miles will be needed to break in such boots.

  1. The material of your hiking boots

Hiking boots made of leather will employ a different process of breaking in compared to fabric boots. Due to the leather material being more massive and thick, breaking in a pair of leather boots may take much longer.

On the other hand, lightweight fabrics do not conform themselves to one’s feet, unlike leather. Therefore, the only requirement for such boots is wearing insoles, making the process easy and faster than for leather boots.

Depending on how long you have till the hike day, choosing the hiking boots to purchase is quite easy. 

How to break in your hiking boots

Well, assuming you already have the new pair of kicks and can’t wait to go out there and hit the trails. 

The following steps will get your boots ready for the big day.

Tip: It is important to note that there is no shortcut or a quick -fix to break in a boot because the process must be gradual. Forcing it won’t work, it may result in blisters and painful feet.

  • Wear your hiking boots around the house

Before putting on your boots, start by slipping into the socks you plan to use with your hiking boots. 

Ensure they are lacing up nicely, lining up and folding the gusset material, and the tongue flat. 

Wear them around your house and the neighborhood carrying out chores, just like you would with any other shoes. The more you wear the more your boots start to conform to your foot.

  • Check your feet after a day of wearing your boots.

After spending a day or two in your boots, it’s essential to check your feet for any pains, pinching, or blisters.

A pair that gives you the above symptoms may not be the best. However, try a different insole, lacing technique, or adjustments to ensure the boots get comfortable.

In case the symptoms persist, you may consider sending it back to the seller and getting a better fit.

  • Take micro-adventures

The next step is to take your boots on a real test outdoors under different weather conditions. 

It is advisable to take about 2-3 miles through a favorite campground or foothills. This is also the time to test what other benefits and features your boots possess.

Continuously do this increasing the distance covered each time to enhance the break-in.

During this step, blisters may appear as a result of heat, moisture, or pressure.

To avoid this from occurring, ensure you have boots that fit your feet correctly. Also, take adequate breaks during the hike to rest your feet.

  • Store your boots in the proper way

Many people probably ignore this after a rough day, but it is an essential step in enhancing the break-in. Do not kick them off and leave them unattended.

To store your leather boots properly, consider using leather conditioners to moisturize and keep off lousy odor.

For the fabric boots, consider keeping the boots open by placing some cushion inside to assist in eliminating the bad odor. 

  • Take a real test hike.

Before you go for the grand hiking, you may consider going for a weekend trip or a day hike.

It is essential to be aware of how to break in hiking boots and understand how long it takes to ensure you have appropriate footwear.


Breaking in your hiking boots may take roughly one to five weeks. However, this will depend significantly on the type of boots you go for and the materials used. 

The process of breaking in hiking boots is gradual, it cannot be rushed if you are to get the best results. Ensure that you get the right fit of boots, breaking in cannot fix a pair that does not fit. With the right fit, everything else should follow through smoothly.

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