How to Break in Work Boots

Work boots are essential footwear created for laborious activities in a professional setting or outdoors. They are constructed from durable materials such as leather, rubber, and steel to ensure maximum protection from harsh elements.

However, breaking into work boots can be challenging but essential for comfort and safety. You can easily break in your work boots with a few easy methods. 

In this article, we will discuss how to break in your work boots to make them softer and more comfortable. 

From using a shoe stretcher to applying leather conditioner, these tips will help you easily break in your work boots.

So grab your work boots, and let’s get started.

Few ways how to break in work boots:

  1. Start with the Right Size
  2. Wear Your Work Boot with Thick Socks
  3. Walk Around the House
  4. Warm Water Treatment
  5. Condition and Moisturize Your Work Boots
  6. Use a Shoe Stretcher
  7. Use Rubbing Alcohol
  8. Try Different Lacing Combos
  9. Stuff a Wet Towel in Your Work Boots

Start With the Right Size

Start with the right size to break in the work boots easily.

Before breaking in your work boots, ensure that the boots fit well. It is important to consider the width of your work boot when selecting it.

However, boots that are too big will always result in discomfort and blisters. Thus, the fit of the boot should be snug and comfortable.

By selecting the correct fit, breaking in will be easier. Hence, your shoes will have an extended lifespan with enhanced performance.

Wear Your Work Boots With Thick Socks

Wear thick socks with the work boots to make them loose.

Wearing thick socks with your work boots can make the break-in process easier and more comfortable. Breaking in leather work boots with thick socks has two major perks.

First, the extra layers will cause the leather to expand outward and mold to the shape of your feet.

Secondly, it will comfort your feet as you endure the breaking-in phase.

Start wearing your work boots with thick socks for a week. The boots will effectively break in easily and comfortably.

Walk Around the House

Walt around the house to break in the work boots gradually

The simplest way to break in your work boot is to wear them around the house. The more you wear it, the more the leather stretches according to the shape of your foot.

However, to break in your work boots, wear them for only 10 minutes initially. You can gradually increase the time you spend wearing them after a few days. 

Keep repeating this for several days until they become comfortable.

Warm Water Treatment

Warm water treatment can help to break in work boots quickly

Warm water treatment is one of the best methods for breaking in work boots fast.

Start by filling a bucket with warm water. It is important to ensure that the water temperature is not too hot. Carefully submerge your work boots into the warm water. Soak them around for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, immediately remove your boots from warm water. Let them air dry, and wear them with thick socks.

This method softens the leather and enables a faster break-in period. As a result, the boots will conform to the shape of your feet more easily.

Do not soak the work boots in warm water for more than 15 minutes. This may cause the leather to distort.

Condition and Moisturize Your Boots

condition and moisturize the work boots to make the leather soft and loose.

This method is most helpful if the leather upper feels too tight.

Applying leather conditioners and moisturizers softens the upper of your boots. This makes it much simpler to stretch out the fibers.

Clean the boots to remove dust. Now, apply a generous amount of leather conditioner or moisturizer and let it sit for about an hour. After conditioning your boots, allow them to air dry.

When leather is conditioned, it becomes softer and bends easily. This will help the boot conform to the shape of your feet quickly and comfortably.

Use a Shoe Stretcher

Use a shoe stretcher to break in the work boots

Shoe stretchers are tools for breaking in shoes and boots and making them more comfortable. They help to stretch the leather of the boot to make it fit better. This allows you to wear your boots without pain or discomfort.

Moreover, a shoe stretcher is an effective way to access those tighter spots in your boots, allowing for a more comfortable fit.

Using a shoe stretcher is easy. Simply place it in the shoes and rotate it to stretch the material. Leave the shoe stretcher in the work boots for a few hours or overnight. Remove it from the boots in the morning.

Use Rubbing Alcohol

Use rubbing alcohol to soften the leather

When breaking in leather work boots, rubbing alcohol is an effective solution.

The rubbing alcohol acts as a solvent and softens the material of your boot. This makes it easier to shape and mold according to your foot.

To use this method, simply dab a cloth with rubbing alcohol and rub it liberally on the boot. Allow the boots to air dry. Wipe away any remaining alcohol using a clean cloth.

You may also apply a thin layer of leather conditioner to your work boots for deep nourishment.

Try A Different Lacing Combo

Try different lacing combo to break in the boots conviniently

Experimenting with different lacing combinations is a good way to break in a new pair of work boots. You can try several different lacing methods to make your shoes more comfortable and fit better.

To create a more comfortable fit for your foot, avoid some eyelets when you lace up your boots. This will allow additional room for your arch and ankles to flex.

This is especially helpful when you own a pair of boots with a gusseted tongue, which can be difficult to break in due to the extra bulk.

Stuff a Wet Towel in Your Boots

Stuffing a wet towel into the work boots to make the leather soft

The wet towel method is ideal for breaking in work boots. The moist towel soaks into the leather fibers of your boots and nourishes them from the inside.

Soak a towel in water, and then insert the towel into your boots. Keep them in for around 30 minutes and remove the towel. 

Lightly pat the inside of the boots with a dry cloth and allow them to air-dry.

As a result, your boots will mold to your feet more easily as the leather fibers will be more flexible.

Do’s and Don’ts to Break in Work Boots

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind when breaking into work boots:


  • Make sure the boots really fit.
  • Start wearing your boots regularly. With each wear, your boots will gradually conform to the shape of your feet for a snug and comfortable fit.
  • When trying on a new pair of boots, pay careful attention to pinches, hot spots, and any other uncomfortable areas that may cause discomfort.


  • Don’t overdo wearing the shoes. Take breaks between break-in periods. 
  • Don’t fill your work boots with water. Instead, place a wet towel on the boots.
  • Avoid using a hair dryer to break in boots.
  • Don’t kick off your boots after getting home. This can cause damage to your boots.


How long does it take to break in a pair of work boots?

The time it takes to break in work boots depends on how and which method you use to break them in.

Moreover, it typically takes 3-5 days to break in a pair of work boots, depending on the type and quality of the boots. Generally, the more robust and stiffer the leather is, the longer it will take.

While if you are not using any methods and are just wearing them around, it can take several weeks or even months to break in.

How tight should work boots be?

When it comes to work boots, fit is of the utmost importance. Work boots should fit snugly but not too tight. As tight boots can lead to pinching, discomfort, and even serious injury over time.

However, work boots should fit enough to support your foot but loosely enough to let your foot move. They should neither be too tight nor too loose.

How can I make my boots more comfortable?

The key to making your boots more comfortable is correctly breaking them in. There are many ways to break in your work boots.

Start by wearing them for a couple of hours, then increase the time gradually. You may also try changing the lacing pattern of your boots.

However, if you use one of the methods from this article, you can make your work boots more comfortable.


Breaking in a new pair of new leather work boots is simple, but it takes time and patience.

Following a few methods outlined in this article, you will find that breaking into your new boots is much easier.

We hope these tips were helpful to break in your work boots.

If you are struggling with big and loose shoes, check out our blog “How to Make Big Shoes Fit.”

Also, check out these 11 practical tips for stretching shoes for wide feet.

If you have any other tips on breaking in work boots. Please, let us know in the comments below!

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