Each profession will need different types of uniforms. As for protective shoes, aka. Work boots, they are necessary to those who work at the construction industry or mechanic sites since these jobs require you to move in many different positions, in which you might be exposed to numerous dangers to the feet.
Therefore, it’s really important to have suitable protective shoes to make sure your feet are always safe. So, what are work boots and why do we need to use them? Keep reading this article of Work Boots Insider! to know the best way on how to break in work boots faster?
What are work boots?
Work boots are kinds of safety shoes that have a steel toe section protecting the toe tips from falls, crashes, and heavy objects. These shoes are often combined with steel liners to resist piercing sharp objects.
A good pair of protective shoes, aka. work boots should have all the features such as heavy impact resistance, piercing, dirt/slip resistance, etc, to protect workers from the dangers in the job.
However, not just choosing an expensive and high-quality pair of shoes is that you are completely confident because if we do not know how to choose and use them wisely, they can affect our health, specifically, our feet will hurt.
In most cases, the problem we often have is choosing the wrong shoe size. This can be solved by returning and exchanging a larger one, but what if you can’t return it and have to use it right away?
Don’t worry, in the following article, we will provide you the fastest and safest ways on how to break in new work boots so that your feet will feel comfortable inside them. Not only that, but we also point out what you need to avoid while doing so.
Let’s check it out!
How to use and protect your work boots?
For construction work boots, when they are wet, it’s best to wrap up the newspaper, then put it in the shoes. Newspapers are good at hygroscopicity.
Also, in this case, you should not use high heat from the dryer or sunlight to dry because this action can affect the specifications of the shoe.
If you have to use work boots regularly, remember to clean them often with a soft cloth to wipe dirt after work, too. Doing this can prevent your skin from contacting the mild chemical resistance on the boots.
Try to wear full shoe insoles as they protect your feet from hard, sharp objects.
Use extra socks that match your foot size anytime you wear shoes. The recommendable material should be raw, sweat-absorbent. Especially, choose socks that are not too tight or slightly loose if you don’t want them to affect your work.
Always pay attention to trim the toenails neatly. Long toenails cause irritation that makes your legs hurt during the process.
Keep the soles of the feet dry and well ventilated. Many people have to work in a humid environment; when exposed to a lot of water, their feet will be absorbent, which is extremely uncomfortable and unsafe.
To solve this problem, you need to prepare a breathable plastic bag to cover your sock-worn feet before putting your feet in the protective shoes.
Now, you can comfortably wear the shoes without fearing that the soles of your feet will contact the water, causing discomfort or itching.
How to break in work boots
Bear in mind that a quality pair of work boots will take some time to fully break-in. It doesn’t mean you have to avoid using them on the job site but they will be quite stiff, which can make your feet less comfortable while working.
Anyway, we are going to present 7 easy and helpful methods to help you break in work boots fast below.
Method 1. Use water
Water is one of the great solutions to make the tight shoe stretch, becoming more fit for your feet. What we will put a bag of water into your shoes, then transform it into a solid – that means making the water crystals expand larger. From there, your workwear will also be stretched.
Here are the detailed instructions:
- Step 1. Clean the whole surface of your shoes with a soft dry cloth.
- Step 2. Pour water in a small plastic bag, and seal tightly enough for water not to leak out.
- Step 3. Put the water bag in the shoes exactly where you want to widen (the heel, the nose, etc.)
- Step 4. Wrap and compact the newspaper, then insert it in the spaces to fix the shoe form.
- Step 5. Zip the shoes in a clean plastic bag and put it in the freezer within 24 hours.
- Step 6. Take your shoes out of the fridge. Wait about 45 minutes – 1 hour until the ice melts completely, then remove the ice pack.
In case the shoes are still wet, use dry paper or desiccant packs to fry them. When everything is ready, try on the workboots and you will be surprised because they fit much better now!
Method 2: Use the dryer
In this method, we will use a dryer to break in work boots because the heat can loosen the leather.
- Step 1. Wear a pair of thick socks or more on your feet to avoid the heat.
- Step 2. Turn on the dryer at a moderate mode, then dry the shoes evenly around. Remember to keep the dryer 15-20 cm away to avoid scorching leather.
- Step 3. Move your feet and toes to stretch the shoes. When they reach the desired level, turn off the dryer.
- Step 4. Wait for it to cool down and try on the shoes again to see whether they fit your feet. You can repeat the process a few times to get the best result.
Method 3. Use leather conditioner
If your work boots are made of leather, use some good quality leather conditioner to soften them. Doing this at home first will help your boots stretch around and improve the fit better when you wear them to work.
Still, you should not apply too much because it can make your new boots greasy.
The process to follow is:
- Step 1. Apply the leather conditioner generously on the upper of your brand new boots.
- Step 2. Leave it here for some hours.
- Step 3. Check if the fibers are softer. If they are, wear them. This time the boots will take the new size of your feet.
- Step 4. Use a wet cloth to rub off the excess conditioner.
- Step 5. Use a dryer to dry the boots.
Method 4. Use the insole
When the new shoe’s insole is not spongy enough to cushion your feet, think about changing a more appropriate one. If you are in a hurry on how to break in work boots, using new insoles can be the best solution.
Just get a new pair of your preferred thick and comfy insoles and install them over the existing soles. This extra layer will make the boots more flexible while getting fit your feet over time.
Method 5. Use shoe molds
The mold is easy to adjust the shoe’s stretch without affecting the original texture of the protective boots. All you need to do is locate the cramped part, adjust the mold to fit, and put it in the shoe for about a day.
After that, remove it to achieve the desired result. So, if you are a person who regularly buys shoes of the wrong size, do not hesitate to buy yourself a shoe mold.
Method 6. Wear them at home first
Instead of waiting until you head to work to use the work boots, always begin to wear them at home several times, at least one week in advance, so that they can grow onto your feet. If you wear them to work right away, the pain might get unbearable and can even affect your productivity at work negatively.
Method 7. Use boot stretchers
The last yet still effective way to break in work boots is using a boot stretcher. This means we take advantage of a mechanical tool’s force to widen the shoe’s size to the desired level.
All you need to do is place the boot stretcher inside your boots, then pull the stick as much as you can.
Next, remove the stretcher and wear the boots to see if they fit better. If not, repeat the process again and again until you feel comfortable with the boots.
Things you shouldn’t do to break in work boots
Submerge the work boots in warm water
You must have heard of this trick when finding how to break in work boots. Whether immersing shoes fully in warm water or just to the eyelets is not the right solution at all.
This also adversely affects the leather layer of your protective shoes. Especially, it will warp and the original shape will be lost.
Apply heat directly
A lot of people also suggest heating new boots at high temperatures is a fast way to stretch them. However, applying strong heat (fire or a dryer) directly to any leather surface is totally a bad idea.
Why? If you do this, you risk drying the leather out. It’s even possible to crack the leather surface and completely ruin your new pair of boots.
Wear the new work boots at home too often
It’s quite a controversy since we already told you to try on the boots a few times at home before kicking it off to work.
However, if you wear them too often, even after a long workday, you still want to try them on, this will cause damage to your heels.
So, do it with a moderate frequency (2-3 times/week), or you can opt for a work boot with a rear kick-plate to protect your heels.
How to choose the right work boots?
Each kind of work boots will be suitable for different industries. So, you need to know the important features for choosing the most suitable protective shoes.
Here, we will list a few vital factors, including height, weight, material, water resistance, safety toes, insulation, and style. They are arranged in descending order of importance.
- Height: The height of the shoe will determine the level of protection for your feet. Taller boots are harder to put on and quite heavier. Shorter boots are lighter, WLifeil cooler, and better for all-around use.
- Weight: Good quality boots are usually pretty heavy because they are responsible for supporting your feet. However, with modern technology, there are many better materials and a greater understanding of arch support enables lighter weight boots to provide excellent overall support.
- Material: Today, boots are made of leather, nylon, rubber, and much more other materials. It’s really necessary to consider your working condition before buying. For example, buying a pair of rubber work boots will be a great choice for those who work in slippery areas. Meanwhile, if a job requires lightweight shoes, you should go for nylon.
- Water resistance: Some boots have waterproof leathers while some are made with especially breathable materials. Waterproof boots can be great when you stand in water all day, but they do not let moisture out, as well as they will also be harder to dry.
- Safety toes: For work on-site, steel-toed boots are quite popular for their very high toe protection. However, they will add weight and can make your feet cold in winter.
- Insulation: If you work in a high-temperature environment or a hot summer outdoor, insulated boots are a must to equip. They will help your feet feel more comfortable and prevent burning.
- Styles: The last element is the style of work boots, which depends a lot on preferences. Some may go for traditional moc-toe styles, while others like contemporary hiker styles and the iron-worker look.
In a nutshell
We just go through not only tips and tricks on how to break in work boots but also the factors to consider when it comes to buying good quality protective shoes.
There are a few things we want you to keep in mind.
The most important step for breaking in work boots is buying a pair that completely fit your feet well. Therefore, you don’t have to waste time wearing new boots to form your feet.
The internet is full of ideas for you to break into new work boots faster, however, some of them are terrible ideas, so use your common sense to decide.
Pay attention and be patient because stretching quality boots is a process that takes a couple of weeks.
Hopefully, you find this article useful. If you have any interesting methods, feel free to leave a comment down below. Thank you for reading!
I’m Patek Mille, creator of Work Boots Insider. I have compiled information from the most prestigious newspapers and the most skilled craftsmen, help you choose the best poducts suitable your work lives. Follow me below