Whether you’re buying your first pair of steel toe work boots or you’re a work boot veteran on your 10th pair, you don’t have to dread the breaking in process. As long as you buy work boots that fit well and look after them properly, you should be able to shorten how long it takes to break in your boots. Follow some of our favorite tips and tricks to make your boots flexible and comfortable for those long workdays.

Our best tip on how to break in work boots fast is to not rush the process. We like to recommend that you start by wearing your work boots at home to allow your feet to adapt and begin working on stretching the boot leather. One of our favorite methods is using leather conditioner, or mink oil. Once you’ve worn your boots around the house, or for short periods of time, you’ll start seeing natural creases where your boot bends. You’ll also notice if the boot is rubbing or pinching anywhere. Once you identify those areas, start applying mink oil or conditioner to the parts of the boot that need to soften. 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.

If you find that you do need to break in your work boots, use quality products to make 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. 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 that they’re not fitting correctly. Does your heel lift as you walk? Are your toes feeling crowded?Poor-fitting boots can cause discomfort and sore feet, so be sure to try on footwear before purchasing and ask for an expert’s help if you’re in between sizes.

How to Break in Steel Toe Work Boots

A lot of the same tips apply to breaking in work boots with safety toes. Gradually work on breaking in your steel toe work boots over the first week. If the bottoms or arches of your feet get sore, try adding supportive insoles. Insoles should have a good backing that keeps them centered in your work boot so they don’t slide around. Since insoles will be shrinking foot space in your work boot, you may need to size up depending on the thickness of the insoles you get. Don’t forget that steel toe boots have no give in the toe box area, so make sure you’re selecting the right size with consideration for thick winter socks and insoles.

How to Widen Work Boots

There are some tricks to help widen leather 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 gently stretch your boot from the inside out. You won’t be able to change the width of the steel toe box, but you should be able to feel some give in the rest of your boot.

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.

You’ll see different sources online sharing methods on how to break in steel toe work boots that involve freezing water, using heat, or putting objects inside your work boots to expand them. Our best advice – make sure you try on and purchase the correct boot size from the very beginning, that way you’re not looking for methods that can end up damaging your newly purchased work boots.

Keep your Work Boots Clean and Conditioned

Part of making sure your steel toe work boots stay comfortable is making sure that they stay clean. Boots that are left covered in dirt and debris can cause leather to dry out and crack. If leather dries and cracks, it can cause your boot creases to dig into areas of your feet and ankles, causing discomfort. Properly cleaning and conditioning your leather will ensure that your steel toe work boots are able to stay supple. If your boots are soaked and dry in unnatural shapes will cause discomfort next time you put them on your feet. Make sure you properly store your work boots after a long day of wearing them and follow our leather boot care tips to keep your boots lasting longer.

“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!”

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