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break in hunting boots
Image courtesy MTNTOUGH

Break In Your Hunting Boots Well Before You Hit The Trail

Hunting boots are not just footwear, they are essential gear that can make or break a hunt. Part of tracking ever-elusive game requires trekking over arduous terrain—terrain that requires footwear that is sturdy, comfortable, and already primed for the trail. The absolute last thing you want ruining your hunt are blisters and the feeling as though you are walking around on stumps. That being said, properly breaking in your hunting boots is crucial for comfort and performance. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you effectively break in your hunting boots.

1. Choose the Right Boots

This one seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Choose a pair of boots that are appropriate for where you’re headed. Consider factors like insulation, waterproofing, and ankle support based on where and when you hunt.

crispi nevada hunting boots

Boots like the Crispi Nevada GTX are an excellent choice as they offer everything a hunter could possibly need in footwear. Sturdy and durable nubuck leather, waterproof Gore-Tex liners, rugged Vibram outsoles, and supportive and breathable Air Mesh footbeds and dual tech linings. These boots truly have it all—and then some.

I hate that I have to write this next bit, but it happens all too often—make sure your boots are the right size. Do not, I repeat, do not eyeball the boots and say, “These will do!” Try them on. Try on several different brands. Walk around in them, lean forward, squat down, and move every which way to get a proper feel for the boots. Hunting boots should fit snugly without being too tight— remember that your feet can swell after hiking several miles in a day. Have the store employee help you if need be.

2. Wear Them Around The House

Start breaking in your new boots indoors. Wear them for short periods around the house to identify any discomfort or pressure points. This allows the boots to begin conforming to your feet while reducing the risk of blisters or sore spots that can develop during more strenuous activities.

3. Wear The Boots Outside For Short Periods Of Time

Begin wearing your boots for short walks or hikes on flat, even terrain. Start with 30 minutes to an hour and gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable. Over time, the materials will loosen up and conform to your foot shape.

4. Don’t Forget Socks!

Wear thick, moisture-wicking socks designed for hiking or hunting. These socks provide cushioning and help fill any extra space in the boots, reducing friction and blisters. Materials like merino wool, polyester, or nylon do an excellent job of keeping feet dry and blister-free.

darn tough socks

We recommend the Darn Tough Men’s Full Cushion Hiking Socks. They were designed using a blend of Merino wool, nylon, and Lycra Spandex which prevent slipping, bunching, and blisters. The socks also offer fast-action wicking properties that pull moisture away from your skin to keep your feet dry. With full high-density cushioning throughout, these socks provide maximum all-day supportive comfort.

5. Change Up The Terrain

Once your boots feel comfortable on flat ground, gradually introduce your boots to more varied terrain such as hills, gravel pathways, and uneven surfaces. This helps the boots adapt to different motions, further enhancing their flexibility and your own personal comfort.

6. Focus on Problem Areas

Pay attention to any specific areas where discomfort persists, such as the heel or toes. Use targeted stretching techniques or wear the boots with extra padding to address these issues. Many boots have removable insoles; consider replacing them with custom orthotics if necessary for better support and fit.

7. Be Patient

Breaking in hunting boots takes time. Rushing the process only increases the risk of discomfort, blisters, or possible foot injuries. Plan ahead and start breaking in your boots well before opening day to ensure they are comfortable and reliable in the field.

8. Get Your Gear On

As your boots become more comfortable, pull them on while wearing your full gear setup (I’m talking about putting all of your gear in your pack, full camo, the works). This step ensures the boots perform as they should under several pounds of extra weight. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for your hunt.

9. Maintain Your Boots

Chances are you probably spent a small fortune on these boots and it’s likely you don’t want to have to cough up a few hundred dollars each year for a new pair. As with any footwear or clothing item, proper care and maintenance prolong the life of your gear. Regularly clean and condition them according to the manufacturer’s instructions to preserve the integrity of the materials. Our friends at MTNTOUGH put together a helpful guide to cleaning your boots, check it out here: mtntough.com.

When in doubt, call the manufacturer’s customer service and they can help you better care for your boots.

By following these steps, you can effectively break in your hunting boots while minimizing discomfort and ensuring optimal performance where it counts the most.

Disclaimer: We may earn a modest commission from the sales generated by our affiliate links. Thanks for supporting us!

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