It’s time to put those flip flops, Birkenstocks, and pretty jeweled sandals away for the season and bring out the cute boots/booties that we’ve been dying to put on!
I’m a HUGE fan of leather boots. In fall, I’m usually never without them. I have a bunch of styles (riding boots, over-the-knee boots, booties) in a bunch of colors that I’m constantly wearing. However, I do tend to pick favorites and have a few go-to pairs, making them wear out sooner than I intended.
That means I’m buying leather boots regularly. And with that comes the process of breaking in leather boots.
I have a love/hate relationship with leather boots. It’s mostly love–99% of it is love. They’re very durable, even for someone like me who can be a little careless with their shoes. They mold to your feet, making them extra comfortable. And I find that leather styles are usually cuter than other styles (personal preference)! I love the clean look that real leather has.
The 1% of hate comes from breaking them in. Sure they’re comfortable, but you have to break them in first. There’s nothing worse than wearing a pair of boots for an hour only to find red marks, sores, and blisters all over your feet. It’s painful! I don’t know about you but when I’m in pain, I get cranky.
So what’s the solution here?
Break in your boots before you wear them out. And there are a few ways to do that.
1. Thick Wool Socks – Wear your thickest wool socks and put on your boots. Keep them on for a couple hours while doing chores around the house. They’ll start to mold to your feet without causing any sores or blisters. When they start to feel tight, take them off and repeat the process another time. You may even be starting at something like 10 minutes per wear, but it’s better than leaving the house with them on and being in major pain!
This is the safest method, but it also takes the longest. You’ll want to start doing this much before you actually plan to wear your boots.
2. Thick Wool Socks + Hair Dryer – Wear your thickest wool socks and put on your boots. They will probably feel pretty tight right about now! Set your hair dryer on hot and point your hair dryer to all the tight spots on your shoes and feel them loosen up.
But don’t get too crazy. If you hold the dryer to the boots for too long, you risk drying out the leather and having cracked boots!
3. The Towel/Dishtowel Trick – Stuff your boots/booties with towels and dishtowels until you see them bulge a little. This will stretch out your boots without you having to do anything to them.
It’s great for soft leather, but may not work so well with thicker, tougher leather.
4. The Freezer Method – I’ve personally never tried this, and don’t think I ever will with leather boots (perhaps heels or smaller shoes with leather, but not boots). Grab FOUR Ziploc Freezer bags. Fill two of them halfway with water. Squeeze out all the air and zip them TIGHT! Then use the other two to double-bag the water bags. Put them into your boots and set them in the freezer overnight. The ice will stretch out the leather a little and expand your boots.
I can’t say I recommend this method because there is always a risk of water damage and because they don’t necessarily mold do your feet. Also…you would really have to do this with brand new shoes, or use a freezer that you don’t put your food in. But I’ve listed it here anyway in case you’re still willing to try it!
5. If you “ain’t got time for that”, take them to a professional. Shoe cobblers have tools to safely expand your boots. Of course you’ll have to pay to have this done, but if you don’t trust yourself to break in your leather boots correctly, then this is probably a good option for you.
Time to start breaking in those cute boots and booties! Remember, the break-in process only lasts a short time. Once your boots are broken in, you’re good to go :)