How to Soften or Break In Men's Boots

Updated November 21, 2016

A new pair of men's boots may look good with a sharp outfit but can cause misery the first few times they are worn. There is no miracle way to break in boots overnight, but by following a few simple methods the process can be much simpler than one might think, without causing damage to the feet. The method of breaking in new boots can be used with almost every boot type: work boots, hiking boots or dress boots.

Before you leave the store, make sure the boot is the proper fit. Some stores have boot stretchers that can be used to stretch the boot before you leave. This will soften the boot material, making the break-in time shorter.

Wear thick socks to protect your heels and wear the boots for a short period of time around the house. Gradually increase the amount of time that you wear the boot over several days. To avoid developing painful blisters on your heels, take the boots off at the first sign of irritation.

Condition the boot using a good oil. Mink oil is good for leather boots. Apply a thin layer of oil onto the surface of the boot and rub firmly until the oil is absorbed. Apply the oil especially to areas of the boot that seem tight. The mink oil will absorb into the boot, softening the leather.

Men's lace-up boots can be softened by lacing the boot tightly. Pressure from the leg against the boot will soften the material. After several days of wearing a tightly laced boot, the boot should be broken in enough that you can lace them loosely.


Never wait until the last minute to buy a boot if possible. The result will be painful blisters and the inability to wear the boot Men's work boots can be gently beaten with a rubber mallet to soften the material. Wear the boots around the house before you take them outside; if the boots don't break in to your liking, return them.


Water is bad for boots. Although some men claim soaking a boot in water is an option to breaking it in, the result is a dried-out leather and poor appearance. Do not try to break boots in overnight; it takes several days to effectively break them in.

Things You'll Need

  • Boots
  • Thick socks
  • Mink oil
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