For some people, new boots can be exciting, while others dread the idea of breaking in leather work boots. The process doesn’t have to be painful or long. Follow some of our favorite tips and tricks to make your boots flexible and comfortable for those long workdays.


“Hi, This is Brad with Thorogood. Today we’re answering a question from Casey – how do I break in my new boots?

First off, you’re going to want to ensure you have the right size. It’ll go a long way in the comfort of your new boots. Right out of the box, we suggest a thumbs width at the top of your new boot.

Next, you may just want to ease into it. Swap out with an old pair halfway through the day or simply wear them around the house for a week or two with thick socks, or double up on your socks.

Now some bonus tips. If you have a job that requires a lot of kneeling, skip the first set of hooks until broken in, this will reduce those hooks biting into your foot.

Next bonus tip – if you have a spot that needs a little extra encouragement, put a little mink oil or other conditioner to loosen it up. We suggest not oiling the quarter of the boot at first to keep the ankles firm and not stretchy.

And that’s about it. If you have any other questions put them in the comments below. Enjoy your new boots Casey!”

Other Tips for Breaking in Leather Work Boots

Some people use crazy methods to break in their leather boots. We don’t advise soaking your boots and wearing them wet, or any similar methods since this can cause leather to dry out and crack. The best option is to keep the leather soft and supple with regular boot care and conditioner, which will allow it to bend and flex with your natural movement as you wear your boots. Since we work hard to make sure our boots are made with top-quality materials, comfortable footbeds, and well-designed features, you might even find that your boots are comfortable straight out of the box, especially if they’re well-fitted.

Another method you can try is changing the way your boots are laced. Try skipping hooks, not using the top eyelet, or even try bar lacing instead of the traditional crisscross method, which might allow you more range of motion if you’re having to squat or kneel often.

If you’re still finding that your boots don’t feel comfortable after a couple weeks, it might be time to ask yourself if they’re fitting correctly. Does your heel lift as you walk? Are your toes feeling crowded? Poor-fitting boots can cause discomfort, so be sure to try on boots and ask for an expert’s help if you’re in between sizes.

How to Break in Steel Toe Boots

A lot of the same tips apply to breaking in work boots with safety toes. However, there are some tricks to help widen your boots. If you’re looking into ways on how to make steel toe boots wider, we recommend filling a bag with water, putting it inside your boot, and letting it freeze. When water freezes it’ll slightly expand, helping to gentle stretch your boot from the inside out.

Choosing quality products can make a difference in how quickly your boots break in as well. Dry, brittle leather can feel sharper and take longer to form to your foot, while quality leather is typically supple and workable. Learn more about how to identify different types of leather and what to look for when comparing work boots.

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