Thesoldiersproject is supported by its audience. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Break in Combat Boots: Know The Steps Well (Best Tips)

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

How to break in combat boots

Every soldier in combat needs a pair of boots. However, when they are newly bought, these boots can be very uncomfortable, making it hard to perform well in them.

The solution to uncomfortable combat boots is easier than you may think! You just need to learn how to break in combat boots. Read on to find two foolproof methods and a handful of other helpful tips passed down by seasoned veterans!

How to Break in Combat Boots: The Wet Way


This approach is preferred for its quick delivery of results. You do not need any other material besides your boots and some water. Essentially, you will be soaking boots to break them in.

Step 1: Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water

If you do not have access to a bathtub, you can also prepare water in a bucket.

Step 2: Soak up your boots


Submerge your boots in the water that you have previously prepared. Do not do this step hastily and make sure that there are no remaining dry spots. This will saturate the material of your boots and leave them with a better fitting feel. According to experienced veterans, this process of breaking in boots with water works best on those made of leather.

Step 3: Empty out the water in your boots

After allowing your boots to soak for 4-5 minutes, drain the water out.

Step 4: Put on the boots with two pairs of socks


Wear your boots with two pairs of socks and set out for a walk. It is important that you do not forget and only wear one pair of socks. When your boots dry, they will shrink. So, having layers of socks will leave you with a more comfortable wiggle room.

Try to wear your boots for an entire day. If you expect any short-term prune symptoms, do not hesitate to dry your feet and switch for new socks.

Tip: Increase your strides gradually. Forcing yourself to get accustomed to the boots right away can cause nasty blisters and calluses.

Step 5: Take them off to dry


After your walk, take the boots off and remove the insoles. You should lay them out somewhere indoors to air-dry. Let it dry naturally rather than using a cloth or towel.

Step 6: Final check with a fan

This step is optional. But, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Position your boots and their insoles in front of the fan to guarantee that they are fully dry and ready for use.

You can also consider the conventional cowboy method called “walking’ em dry”. Basically, you will step into a shallow river to soak your boots and walk until they are dry. But we do not recommend this approach because you never know what is in that kind of water. Your boots may become a one-day home for water insects and bugs!

Another option is to wear your boots while taking a shower and keep them on for the rest of the day. This is the method that most soldiers opt for if they want to break in their boots during duty days. The boots will conform to the shape of your feet and gradually become more comfortable.

Breaking in with water is a tried-and-tested method to break in army boots. However, they are not suitable for boots that have a high-gloss shine.

Breaking in Military Boots: The Dry Way


This second approach does not bring speedy results, but is liked by those who do not want to walk in wet boots an entire day. With this dry way of breaking in combat boots, you can walk for many days in DRY boots!

To carry out this approach effectively, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Set a slow pace to start. You should put them on and walk in intervals, from 30 minutes to 1 hour. For the first day, do not wear them for more than an hour. If you force it, you will find yourself with painful aches and even blisters the next day. Increase the time you have them on every day until you are completely comfortable with your boots.
  • Always protect your sensitive skin with thick nylon socks. Invest in a few pairs of high-quality socks so that you can avoid encountering bruises and blisters. Also, be extra mindful of the areas between your toes and near your heels.
  • Do not run in them just yet. You might be tempted to speed up the breaking in process by going on runs with them. However, you will easily get shin-splints. Trust us, these are not nice to have. You will be re-reading this tip on our guide with tears in your eyes.
  • Experiment with your boots’ laces. We have heard that very tight laces can prolong the breaking in process because they apply heavy pressure.

So, now you have two options on breaking in combat boot. You might also be wondering how to tell if your boots have broken in completely.

In the beginning, the most noticeable differences will occur in the top of your foot, heels, and toes. Ultimately, they will be effortless to train in.


That wraps up our guide on how to break in combat boots. Hopefully, you have found this helpful. If you have successfully broken in your boots with the help of our instructions and tips, please let us know in the comments! We always look forward to hearing from you.

5/5 - (3 votes)