2 Ways to Break in Your Tactical Boots

No amount of moleskin can prepare you for what will happen if you don’t break in your tactical boots before you ruck or train in them. So, here’s a rundown of two of our favorite ways: the wet and dry methods for breaking in tactical boots.

2 Ways to Break in Your Tactical Boots

The Wet Method: How to Break in Boots Fast

Breaking in tactical boots using the wet method is faster than wearing them to break them in, but it’s not suitable for boots requiring a high-gloss shine. This method works specifically on leather upper boots because leather molds and tightens when wet.

If you’re pressed for time and moisture isn’t an issue, the wet method is highly effective for breaking in leather tactical boots:

  1. Submerge your boots in a bathtub or wash tub filled with water until thoroughly soaked. Ensure all dry spots are adequately soaked.
  2. Remove the water from your boots.
  3. Wear two pairs of socks before putting on the wet boots. This extra layer helps accommodate the shrinking leather as it dries, providing additional comfort for everyday wear.
  4. Wear the boots for a full day to allow them to conform to your feet.
  5. Remove the insoles and allow them to dry separately.
  6. Place your boots outdoors or in front of a fan to dry completely. Summer tactical boots with side vents tend to dry faster than winter ones. In humid climates, drying may take several days.
  7. For optimal fit, you may need to repeat this process a few times, though once or twice is typically sufficient.

Safety Tip: While unlikely to cause trench foot from one day’s wear, it’s advisable to periodically remove wet boots and allow your feet to thoroughly dry. Wear two pairs of dry socks before reinserting your feet into the boots for added foot protection.

The Dry Method of Breaking in Tactical Boots

For boots that can’t be exposed to water, such as dress boots or those with a high-gloss shine, the recommended method is wearing them as frequently as possible. This approach is effective for military, police, and everyday work boots. The goal is to put significant mileage on the boots before they become part of your daily routine.

Here’s the dry method for breaking in tactical boots:

  1. Start gradually. Initially, wear your boots for no more than an hour. Increase the duration each day until they feel comfortable enough for all-day wear.
  2. Wear nylon socks under thicker socks to help prevent blisters.
  3. Apply moleskin to areas prone to rubbing or blistering.
  4. Engage in walking, running, or training activities as much as possible after the initial break-in period to expedite the process.

Breaking in your tactical boots ensures maximum comfort during work, range sessions, or physical training. A well-fitted boot also reduces the likelihood of blisters during demanding activities like a 15-mile ruck march your commander might schedule. Discover top-quality tactical footwear for men and women at 5.11 and begin breaking in yours today.