New Boot Break in - How to?

windymtnman

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Sep 17, 2014
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I bought a pair of uninsulated Cabela Meindl goretex boots last Fall. I oiled up the leather portions, and kept them in good shape for the 100 miles my GPS says I put on them in the Rocky Mts. Frankly, these boots are way too wide for my average sized foot. In fact they caused me some sort of subtle injury from so much side hilling in a sloppy fitting boot.
On the Sportsman's Channel, I watched the "tip of the week", where in the boot guru says to soak new boots in water, and wear them until they are dry, and they will fit or conform to your feet. I wondered about that, as I've never done that intentionally. In fact I try to keep my boots from getting saturated with water.
Has anyone tried this with good results? I'd do it if I thought I could shrink them down. I paid big bucks for them, yet an leary of wearing them the way they fit in the width.

Thanks!
 

sneakypete

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I'm not sure about that practice. Have you tried different sock combinations? I wear a silk liner with REI's expedition socks.
 

hank4elk

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That was old school method that could work,but WILL ruin boots.

Boots should not fit loose. But you should be able to wear a liner and heavy socks.

Use boot makers recommended dressing/treatment too.
 

LopeHunter

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I break in a well-fitting pair of boots by wearing a liner sock and a wool sock. I put on the socks one at a time and make sure no wrinkles in the sock fabric. I replace the liner that comes with the boot and use a high-end gel liner.

If is not well-fitting pair of boots then I throw them in the fire.

Okay, now have the socks on. No wrinkles. Slip on boots tighten laces. Go hike on a sidewalk. No backpack. Stop after first mile and tighten the laces.

I usually do no more than 3 miles the first time. A couple of days later I repeat but go a bit further. Assuming no hot spots from these hikes then I wear a backpack on the 3rd hike. Still on sidewalk though. No sidehilling.

If boots both feel good at this point then I start hiking on gravel or dirt trails. If the boots do not, I build a fire. I only buy boots in person. Have had very good results.
 

rmyoung1

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You can also try a custom footbed or custom orthotics. Both will fill up boot volume and help your feet.
 

JLS

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If they're too wide getting them wet and wearing them won't do anything for you, other than leave you with wet feet.

You can try different insoles, but if they're too wide you're basically screwed.

All I do to break in boots is put them on and wear them. Hopefully I get to pack out something dead with them the first day I wear them.:)
 

1_pointer

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I do pretty much what JLS does but I treat them first with whatever treatment the boot company recommends.
 

HighDesertSage

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I wear the Meindl's and I like them alot. That being said, I think they run a little wider than most other boots. Probably why they fit me so well. If you have a narrow foot you may need to look at a different boot.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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That expert was talking out of the wrong end.

That technique was conceived by soldiers to literally break a boot down, and is useful for only for a cheap government issued combat boot that is provided to the soldier with the leather as stiff as hard plastic. I broke in all of my jungle boots the same way. However, any hunting boot you buy is way softer, and will only be damaged by that technique.

To me it sounds like you did all right things, but bought the wrong boot.
 

Gr8bawana

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The soaking boots thing is from the old days of cowboy boots. Soaking make the leather a little bit pliable and as it dries it conforms to the foot.
It's a good way to ruin your modern boots.
 

hank4elk

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I had no choice but to have soaked Jungle boots ......everyday.
I went thru 3 pairs in 18mo's.
All as rotten as my feet were if I did not change socks 2 or 3 times a day.

I do the LH or JLS method.
I have donated a few pairs to GW over the years.Even work boots.
 

Mthuntr

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I wear a good, heavy quality sock, but that's not going to fix a boot fit problem.

It's a bummer that they're too wide. My only suggestion that I can offer is if the boots are still in good shape, clean them up and put them for sale in multiple locations. At least you'll get a few bucks out of them and then search for a narrower boot.

I've never used them but consider using Lathrop & Sons Custom Boot System https://lathropandsons.com/custom-boot-systems.html
They'll try to match a boot with your feet. It won't be cheap at first but they put your investment toward the cost of a pair of boots.
 

wllm1313

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Agreed with everyone above, I would try to sell those and get something different. I would recommend Schnee's as they run narrow and even have a narrow option.
 

Gr8bawana

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How about a custom insole made to take up some space on the sides? I don't know if this is even possible, just an idea.
 

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