Breaking in boots

#1
I have read through the various boot related threads but have not found what I was looking for, I am having some trouble breaking in my first pair of boots as they seem to rub/apply pressure to the heel. I have managed to avoid getting blisters yet as I have worn compeed etc when wearing them but the skin has gone pretty weak and 'scar tissue' like. When standing or walking around for short periods the boots are fine and they fit well, but over longer periods/distances they start to rub on the heel a lot.
Someone suggested to me that perhaps I should have got a size bigger, do people usually go up a size to allow more room or get a good/snug fitting pair as they should soften?
I am not sure whether to persevere with them or to start again with a size bigger...
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#2
If you're going to break in anywhere, I wouldn't recommend wearing boots. They are heavy, cumbersome, and won't help if you need to hot-foot it due to the rozzers arriving if you set off the alarms.

Trainers......that's what I'd wear :)
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#3
We used to tell the sprogs that the best way to soften the leather was for the whole class to piss in a bathtub and put everyone's boots in to soak overnight. The Ammonia works wonders.

It didn't actually make any difference at all but it was funny to watch them walking around the next day with gopping piss soaked boots.
 
#4
I have always broken new boots in by blathering them in polish and then standing in a bath of really hot water flexing the feet until they have the "creases" that correspond to your feet.

Once complete, pad boots with newspaper until the boots dry out and start wearing normally.

Start with gentle walks, nothing to serious, a few laps around the block, gradually progressing into 1,2,3 etc miles. Toots do have a tendancy to rub a little no matter how warn in. I always taped my feet with Zinc Oxide tape, not the crappy stuff from Boots, but the really thick stuff that physio's etc use. There are several ebsites out there that sell it in bulk at a really good price.

Hope this helps!
 
#5
If boots fit me on first trying them on then I accept that they will be uncomfortable (and noisy) til broken in just through normal wear and tear.

However, I also accepted that the first tab in the boots would confirm whether they were actually broken in properly or not.

I have some nice pictures of blood-soaked socks showing that they perhaps werent.

But still,no-one ever died from a blister on the foot. Thats still my mind-set.
 
#6
Am not a soldier so bear in mind this may affect the polishing a bit. Used to do a lot of walking and climbing and this worked for me. Get a hammer. Hit the rubbing bit like the heel many times. Coat it with vaseline. Do it again and again each day for a week or so. It makes the leather soft and also gives one a feeling of satisfaction. Have also heard that rubbing Pineapple juice into the heel helps. It also smells a lot better than piss.
 
#7
Place boots on feet, nice run in a river and then empty excess water and replace feet in boots, wear til dry as they will start to mould to feet. Worked for me.
 
#8
Can you confirm whether you are enquiring about breaking in Boots, Officers or Boots, Other ranks, as of course these are two completely different techniques which you don't want to get confused.
 
#9
Am not a soldier so bear in mind this may affect the polishing a bit. Used to do a lot of walking and climbing and this worked for me. Get a hammer. Hit the rubbing bit like the heel many times. Coat it with vaseline. Do it again and again each day for a week or so. It makes the leather soft and also gives one a feeling of satisfaction. Have also heard that rubbing Pineapple juice into the heel helps. It also smells a lot better than piss.
Surely hitting ones heel with a hammer is a lot worse than the occassional blister.
 
#10
Saddle soap both inside and outside of the boot for a few days in a row softens the leather up. we are talking about the issue assault boot here I presume? Have you worn any other type of boot?
 
#11
If the rear seam is rubbing on the back of your ankle or foot then soften the leather by rubbing/flexing etc. I used to put Doc Martens in a vice, put radio on and patiently for half an hour or so bang on the leather with a hammer (not very hard just hard enough) until it became very very supple. Then rub in some polish/dubbin. (They had better leather back then though.)
That worked excently and I went from having half inch gouges of skin off back of ankles to being very comfortable.
I agree. This is the best method I have used. There are some lanolin based leather polishes available that will help soften the leather without effecting the shine like dubbin used to do.
A lot of it is about breaking in your feet too, they need toughening up to some degree
 
#12
This may be dumb so please feel free to correct me, but isnt it good for your boots to roughen your feet up a bit? I bought a pair of boots to begin practising in and they shredded my feet for a week or so no matter what I did to 'soften' them. Then gradually my feet toughened up after a few blisters and now I have no problems. I did not think the aim was to get boots that never gave your blisters, but simply let your feet toughen up so they can go in any new pair of boots with no problems?
 
#13
This may be dumb so please feel free to correct me, but isnt it good for your boots to roughen your feet up a bit? I bought a pair of boots to begin practising in and they shredded my feet for a week or so no matter what I did to 'soften' them. Then gradually my feet toughened up after a few blisters and now I have no problems. I did not think the aim was to get boots that never gave your blisters, but simply let your feet toughen up so they can go in any new pair of boots with no problems?
In that case if we are at RMAS together and just before we set out on Ex Longreach remind me to tell you to swap in your nice, comfy worn in boots for a set of new issued ones!
 
#14
This may be dumb so please feel free to correct me, but isnt it good for your boots to roughen your feet up a bit?
I did that. My feet were as tough as you like until I got immersion foot* on an exercise & developed blisters under the layers of hard skin. Not a lot of fun when that lot detached...

*no, not poor admin, DS had separated us from belt kit & bergens so we just had our weapons & what we were wearing for several days in a swamp in monsoon conditions.
 
#15
Basic training used to be good for breaking in boots. By the end of the 10 weeks, the boots fitted perfectly due to all the beastings you'd had in them.

Those boots which didn't break in were normally binned as SNLR along with the mongs inside them.........
 
#16
In that case if we are at RMAS together and just before we set out on Ex Longreach remind me to tell you to swap in your nice, comfy worn in boots for a set of new issued ones!
But that is precisely my point, when you go to RMAS you get issued brand new boots right off, I would rather go into them with feet that know what a beasting feels like. rather than freshly pedicured dainties. That is all I meant, I did not mean to imply you shouldnt do anything to help break them in at all, just that I would have thought feet more on the battered/toughened side would be better than feet that have been in slippers.
 
#17
I'm in the same situation. I've just done some running, and walking in them. The heels gave me a bit of grief at the start, with bits of skin coming off in socks etc, but now all's well. Whether thats due to heels toughening or boots breaking I'm not sure. Only thing that bothers me is blisters on top of toes, but I've got zinc oxide on my side so all ok.
If your really struggling the DS at PCCBC said you could get a pair of those '1000 mile socks' or something to wear underneath issued pair, even though they're not strictly allowed.
 
#18
Basic training used to be good for breaking in boots. By the end of the 10 weeks, the boots fitted perfectly due to all the beastings you'd had in them.

Those boots which didn't break in were normally binned as SNLR along with the mongs inside them.........
Spot on. Never a truer word said.
 
#19
In my day we used two pairs of socks, one thick and one thin. If things are desperate, wear football socks rolled down inside the boot to make a pad. That seemed to absorb some of the rubbing. I even tried cutting up a leather elbow patch and gluing it inside the heel, to get a smoother surface. It worked a bit. Dubbin makes the leather soft, but you can't polish the leather afterwards, which was perhaps more important back then.
My dear departed mother who had been a military nurse recommended a dab of meths to toughen the skin up. That only works if it doesn't get rubbed off next day.

Hope this helps and good luck to you.
 
#20
So the whole idea of toughening the feet vs softening the boots is a bad one?

On a different but similar note, a serving friend of mine recommended I go running in combats and boots, can anybody comment/confirm?
 

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