How to Break in Military Boots? – 2 Simple Methods

Blog Written by JOHN COTTON / Fact-checked by LOGAN MILLER

how to break in military boots

Like most shoes, army boots also need time to adjust to its wearer’s feet to provide peak performance. The dry method and wet method are two of the most common ways to do so.

Indeed, because of its wide usage, many people have shared the concern about how to make combat boots more comfortable.

In the following sections, we’ll be getting into the two methods mentioned above. Here is your easy guide on how to break in military boots.

Ways to Break in Military Boots


Military boots are now widely used, even beyond the field of combat. Chelsea boots and engineer boots are examples of how army boots break into the fields of fashion, construction, and more, with various designs and materials.

Tactical boots are usually made of various leather types, but there are cheaper alternatives made of synthetic materials. Whatever the material is, it is a common experience for boots wearers in general to ask the question, ‘why do military boots hurt my feet?’

The sturdy build of boots may be the cause for concern. However, when you break in combat boots you may give yourself a better wearing experience.

1. The Wet Method

What to prepare:

  • Warm water in sink/bucket
  • Two pairs of thick socks
  • Warning: Make sure you use this method for boots made of synthetic material.

Please know that breaking in boots with water is not for genuine leather boots. This method can ruin the leather material permanently. Also, use a different method for boots with a glossy finish.

  • Step 1: Soak the boots in warm water

Let’s start by running warm water into your sink or bucket large enough to submerge your boots.

Then, put the pair inside for 10 minutes for it to be soaked wet.

  • Step 2: Dry the boots

Wipe your boots dry until it’s no longer dripping with water. Then, put on two pairs of socks.

  • Step 3: Insert the socks

As the boots dry, wear them while you have the two layers of socks on. This will guide the boots’ fabric to stretch while it dries, making enough wiggle room for your feet.

Dry by using a hair dryer in a low heat setting.

  • Step 4: Break the boots in

As you go along, you may dry your feet every once in a while and change up your socks to cut down on the discomfort of this process.

Continue to do this until the boots are 50% dry.

Then, you may take them off, remove the insoles and laces and leave them to finish drying under the sun.

  • Step 5: Walk around

Once completely dry, fit your boots and walk around wearing them to ensure that your feet are snug and comfortable.

2. The Dry Method


What to prepare:

  • Blister bandages or any ordinary band-aids
  • Two pairs of thick socks – They help break in boots
  • Blow dryer
  • Step 1: Protect your feet by sticking some band-aids onto your skin that comes into contact with tight boot spots. Those are the knuckles of your toes and the back of your heels.
  • Step 2: Wear thick socks and walk around. On the first day, limit your wear to about an hour. Slowly increase this as the days go by.

By the end of the first week, your combat boots are surely more soft and comfortable.



How long does it take to break in new military boots?

It takes around 80 hours for the completion of your bates boots break-in process. This is however relative to the boots’ material in the first place as well as how dedicated you are to the break in process.

Practicing the wet method may take longer since the drying process consumes much time especially when one opts for natural sun drying.

Why do military boots hurt?

The sturdy build of military boots may be the cause for discomfort, especially when they are new and worn for the first time. Other boot wearers claim it may be due to the elevated heel, solid toe tips, and tight lacing.

However, once broken in, these military boots can be more comfortable than expected.

What is the fastest way to break in new boots?

The dry method, combined with the double socks and blow dryer hacks presented in the previous section, may be the fastest way to break in new boots.

If you’re more dedicated to breaking your boots in and willing to put in more hours every day, you might speed up the process further.


With the tips, tricks, and hacks we show to you through this ‘how to break in military boots’ guide, we hope you get to wear your new pair with comfort as soon as possible. There’s no need to read through a long Reddit thread now.

Surely, the breaking-in can be a pain, but you are assured of a comfortable pair in approximately a week. Visit this article from time to time for extra updated tips.

Good luck!

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