Breaking in New Boots for Boots

Breaking in new boots (2)
| June 12, 2019
Categories: Learnin'

How to break in boots

Breaking in combat boots for boots, by Magic Mike “BB” Brabant

It is imperative for every warrior to select the best fitting equipment possible. This means the right helmet size, the correct armor, proper fitting trousers, etc., but the humble boot is among the most important and often overlooked piece of equipment. Breaking in new boots is the essential first step to make sure they fit well.

The most important thing about breaking in boots is finding ones that fit properly before you walk a hundred yards in them. They should fit well, with zero pinching or discomfort when laced up tight. If you don’t know your actual boot size, go to the store and get fitted. Do it in a couple of different places. Finding out your true, no-shit boot size goes a long way here, especially when mail-ordering or buying online.

As much as you want to sport your new Cadillacs around the base, in the field, or on the trail the second you tear the box open—do not. First, check the fit. Wear the socks you plan on spending 16 hours or the next three days in. Lace the boots up tight. Walk around the room. Squat like that dead-eyed chick you watched at the donkey show. Do some pushups or mountain climbers. If you feel discomfort or sliding, mail them back immediately or return them. Do this even if it means paying the postage or driving back to the store.

If you just make do with a pair of boots and falsely believe you “just need to stretch them out” or “fully break them to fit you,” you’re wrong. You will surely, sorely, have pus-filled, infected blisters and you can bet doc will be out of moleskin. You will regret it. If they fit well, then good for you! You have the uncommon virtue of common sense, or just some very good luck.

Breaking in new boots - first thing to do is get 'em wet (that's what she said).

How to break in boots: your journey doesn’t begin until your boots are wetter than your sister at a homecoming game.



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Combat Boots…

…(or hiking boots, or tactical boots or whatever) need to fit

All boots need to truly be broken in. Think of all the other things you’ve “broken in” in your life. Good mental picture from memories past? Maybe spring break, post-deployment leave, a weekend at Myrtle or Pacific beach? Wonderful. This is going to be the exact opposite. The only way for the leather to stretch and conform to your foot is by wearing them. When I was a kid, one mean-ole’ steely-eyed bastard used to make me break his boots in for him. Yes, he was my beloved war-vet grandfather.

His technique of breaking in clodhoppers is the one I still use today. Go for a fucking walk.

Not just any little old stroll though. No, this walk is going to be a fairly shitty one that lasts all day. First, lace your boots up tight and go find a body of water. A stream, a creek, a river, the ocean, a pond, the wishing fountain at the mall, any of those will do. Just go find one and stand in it. If you have waterproof Gore-Tex types, make sure the water is deep enough to flood the boots from the top down. Stand there like a moron for twenty minutes, or walk around in the water. Either way, your journey doesn’t begin until your boots are wetter than your sister at a homecoming game.

How to break in new tactical boots (or combat boots, or tactical boots for that matter).

How to break in boots: go for a fucking walk!

Pumped up kicks

Now with that shame still in mind, walk. Walk, damn you! Walk until those five-pound bitches are dry. At the very least, hump a few miles. Walk however far you want, on whatever terrain you choose—but those soaky kicks are staying on. They stay on until they are dryer than Gersh Kuntman’s vagina.

Now, a lot of kinder, gentler civvie types might object to this sort of foot hazing, but I swear by it. It works a new pair in far more efficiently than by just slowly breaking them in over several weeks or months of weekend and off-duty use. Generally, the kinds of people who object to this method are those that don’t wear boots very often. If you only wear your cool-guy cruisers to the range, classes, or Civil Air Patrol meetings, you’re going to get blisters on that epic one-day excursion.

Rest assured, if you fall into this category, your mom will have some hot cocoa waiting for you when your sorry ass slithers back home. For the rest of us who actually carry heavy rucks, walk a beat, or hike more than just from the car to the office, it’s not going to be a big deal. Do it and get it over with. Just make sure you do it on your own time, and not right before or during something important like a raid, patrol, mission, deployment, or war.

Once you’re done, stuff them full of newspapers and they’ll be dry in a day.



The best way to break in new boots.

How to break in boots: once you’re finished with the long trek in wet boots, stuff them with newspaper for a day.

Oh, and if I catch you wearing side zip boots, I’ll choke-slam you.



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  1. Core

    Before I NAVY’d myself.. I was an avid Green Mountain hiker. I used to buy all leather low cut boots (Vasque, Danner) and the first trip up a mountain walk through one of the brooks until my boots were completely soaked. Good advice here. My experience wearing everything from Navy black boots to desert combat boots, and high-speed prototypes, is that the newer generation of boots are a hell of a lot easier to break in. I never did this to the modern types boots due to potential damage to silicone in the leather. I realize regulation combat boots should be okay. I did VBSS for a while and SAT RRT, and I loved my Corcoran Boots: I laced in front zip ups: which were really heavy duty. I would not want zip ups for ground ops: I also participated in invading and propositioning ops: also good advice. Navy regulations were loose compared to my fellow Marines. My favorite boots are Danner low cut all leather stitched vibram soles. Second would go to Selewa, ASOLO, and Vasque. Danners will last many op cycles, but cost $400+ which is not always an option for your average NCO. I retired my 25 year old Danner hunting boots, because they were too ugly to stand anymore: they were still comfortable and holding up well. Purchased them from LLBean “Rangely Boots” for around $120 a long time ago. The Vasque’s only last about 3000 miles max with the dunlop outsole. The Danner Radical’s are great running boots but the dunlop outsole delaminates after about 1.5 years of everyday use. I prefer a stiffer boot with better ankle support. The Marine RAT is nice for patrols, but never ran in them much. Also like the Mountain Boot. But Danner beats the hell out of all of them, and nothing beats a low cut for running.

  2. Mickey the civilian

    What’s wrong with side zips?

  3. Ves1

    These boots are “Whites” packer boots, all leather, ALL leather.

    I fill them with hot water and leave them in the bath tube, while 4 buddies and I go drink a half-gallon of Jim Beam, stagger off to bed and get up at 0-dark-thirty. Then put them on and go work cattle all day and they are dried out by evening for sure.

    Absolutely the ONLY way to break in new boots! They fit like a glove after that. I actually looked forward to getting up in the am just to put my boots on, they felt so comfortable.

  4. EM

    That’s a fucking NO to side zippers….

  5. Victor Harer

    I have done that each time I get new boots. After the fisrt time I learned. Good article.



  1. Hazard 4 Boot Bunker | boot isolation bag | Breach Bang Clear - […] Keep it around for when you have to break in new boots. […]

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