Did you buy new safety shoes and then notice that they are too tight? If so, this article is for you. We will show you how to break into work boots.
Table of Contents
- How to Break in Work Boots?
- 6 tips to loosen up a pair of shoes quickly
- Right Standards for Work Boots
- Quick-Release Work Boots
- Final Words
How to Break in Work Boots?
Here are some quick steps for you to break in the work boots:
- Wear your work boots around regularly.
- Wear your new shoes with thicker/large socks
- Use freezer bags.
- Use Shoe Stretchers or Shoe Tree Pair.
- Apply Leather Conditioner then use hair dryer.
- Put the newspaper in.
- Use Bags filled with water.
Necessary Equipment and Tools for Break in Boots
- Large socks
- Freezer bag
Did you buy new safety shoes and then notice that they are too tight? If so, this is for you. Although your new safety shoes will torture you, do not return them to the store. Here are some little tips to make them more flexible.
Break in the boots directly
Just like hiking or sports shoes, you also have to think about breaking in your work boots. If the first time you wear them for 8 hours straight, there are chances that your feet will hurt quickly.
Wear them gradually, starting with 30 minutes or one hour at home, for example. Then for two or three hours, by dint of walking with it, the leather will be less rigid, and the shoe will bend regularly. You can combine breaking your shoes and putting newspaper in them to enhance the effects of the softer.
Wear your new shoes at home
Before you go to work with your extra pair of shoes on, attempt to walk with them inside your apartment. For example, you could put them on when climbing stairs.
Likewise, you can wear them in the kitchen, for a run or to catch the news. It is a simple trick that allows you to loosen up your new safety shoes quickly. It is a method to relax your new shoes.
Wear your new shoes regularly
In the beginning, start by wearing your new shoes for at least ten minutes each day. Repeat this exercise for at least three days. As you go, wear your shoes for ten more minutes. Do this exercise to where you can keep them at your feet for an hour. At this stage, it likely relaxes your shoes.
Wear your new shoes with large socks
Wearing extra thick socks is ideal for loosening up your extra pairs of shoes. You can use a hairdryer to dry the fitted part of your socks. Then fold and unfold your shoes as many times as possible for 20 or even 30 seconds.
Attempt to wear your safety shoes as many times as possible with your socks on. Continue this exercise until the shoes become softer. You must take extra care when heating your shoes. Indeed, the glue used can be quickly weakened because of the heating.
Use freezer bags
Freezer bags can also soften your shoes. If your shoes are available in leather, freeze them with a bag filled with water. All you need to do is fill the bag a third and then close it.
Then place the bag in the shoe, pushing it to the bottom. So, you can put the shoes in the freezer overnight. As the water inside the freezer bag freezes, your shoes will stretch.
In the morning, take your shoes out of the freezer. Let the water melt, then remove the bag from the shoes. If you notice your shoes are not sagging well, repeat the process. If you do not have a freezer, you can use a moistened newspaper.
Finally, crumple the paper to wet it and push the paper into the shoes and let it dry. Once your shoes are dry, remove the paper and put on your shoes. Repeat this exercise until it relaxes them enough.
6 tips to loosen up a pair of shoes quickly
To avoid sore feet and dance the night away in new shoes, here are six tips to soften your work boots.
Use a hairdryer
Thanks to the heat released by the hair dryer blower, the leather of the shoes relaxes. You need to wear them for 30 minutes and walk with them. The material should adapt to the shape of the foot and be more comfortable to wear.
If we ask our grandmother, she will advise us on this technique. She will inflate her shoes by sliding newspaper inside the shoes all night long to extend them up to save them a few millimeters.
Use bags filled with water
If the above methods are not efficient enough, we can also fill resealable plastic bags with a little water. To do this, we will slip into the shoes by making sure there are no holes before putting them in the freezer. The water will become ice and will thus stretch and soften the material of the shoe.
Use a spoon
Take a large spoon, wooden or metal, and use it to lift and loosen any parts of your shoes or boots that feel a little tight. Heels are a common area that can cause chafing at first used, the spoon is the perfect shape to loosen the leather.
Wear them indoors
It is the easiest and most effective advice. Put on your thickest socks and wear them at home for a few hours. It might sound uncomfortable and a little strange but think of this temporary minor discomfort as a long-term benefit for your feet.
Apply Shoe Care
To be softer, leather needs to be moisturized with a lubricant such as castor oil, saddlery soap, or with a simple special leather product, sold in shoe stores. You can soften the leather so that the shoe fits the foot without tightening it or irritating the skin.
And if you have opted for one of the two techniques mentioned above, consider applying one of these treatments to protect and shine your pair of shoes!
Use The Shoe Stretcher
The shoe stretcher is a tool for stretching shoes or work boots. You can find it through amazon or any shoe repair store.
Right Standards for Work Boots
You are aware of the risks you run while working, and you want to buy shoes to protect yourself. But are you still hesitating between work boots and safety shoes? Here is a guide to choosing the right safety shoes.
Because there are different shoes and even more standards, it quickly becomes challenging to navigate. Should I take an S1 or an S3? WRU or HRO? SRC or not? To help you, we have put together this simple guide.
In a few steps, you can see what type of shoe is suitable for your needs. By answering these few questions, have a simple idea of the standards needed for any case. Essentially, for work in the building / public works industry, artisans, DIY, forestry work, or even handling. Depending on your activity, several types of footwear and several additional standards correspond to your needs. Sometimes, it is more about comfort and taste than actual risk.
Where is the Line Between Risk and Comfort?
In construction activities, logistics, and for your private use, there is not one but many suitable shoes. Take an example that you are a plumber and heating engineer. Here, we should choose a safety shoe with a reinforced toe cap.
For the debris, metal parts can litter the ground that gets stuck in your shoe. Then, we need the anti-perforation sole (P). So, we can choose between an S1P, an S3, or an S5. S5 is the big rubber boots that are super comfortable but not suitable. You may get wet feet when walking outside or intervening in a water leak.
The S3 might be the better option. But even with a leak, you might rarely have water reaching up to your ankles. Wetting the sole will not destroy your shoes either. Then, we offer a nice pair of S1P that you might like. With slippery tiles or products on the floor, a pair of SRC might be better than an SRA. But overall, both should be fine. Maybe you want to protect your ankle more, then a high pair would be better. Even protect the malleolus well with the standard (AN).
We can see that after two essential criteria (S) and (P), the rest is more debatable. We could orient ourselves without being mistaken towards low S1P, S1P SRCs, S3 SRCs, or rising S3 SRC ANs. Then, there are specific standards for shoes for specific activities. The working conditions that pose a little outside the norm, such as exposure to highly hazardous chemicals, led the authorities to adopt them as specific standards.
We no longer simply ask ourselves whether the environment is humid. People start by checking what specific risk the person runs, what standard meets it, and then what shoes correspond to it.
Specific Standards for Safety Shoes
For many jobs where people are exposed to significant and specific risks, the reasoning when looking for safety shoes does not follow the same pattern as in the previous point. We will start by looking for shoes that meet the most demanding protection concerning the essential risk.
If you operate in an environment where chemical risks are major, it will be the primary criterion to consider. Indeed, resistance to dangerous chemicals meets the EN 13832 standard. It is specific and excluded from the lists of standards often associated with safety shoes.
We are looking primarily for this protection. And we no longer need a shoe that meets the EN ISO 20345 standard. Then, we look at the other risks such as crushing, perforation, and heat. Thus, if for a simple S1P one can be found on many large e-commerce sites or in DIY stores, for certain trades, it is necessary to contact specialized dealers or manufacturers.
So, if you are looking for a safety shoe with reinforced protection against chemicals, heat resistance, and non-slip, a pair of S5 HRO SRC that meets the EN 13832-3 JPQ standard is suitable for resistance to N -Heptane, Hydrogen peroxide, and Isopropanol. It does not run in the streets and will be the same for electrician’s safety shoes. They can withstand the risk of electrocution. Knowing that it is another special case, consider the other PPE.
Know the Work Environment
In short, you have now understood that the first and essential thing is to know your work environment well. It is more important than just talking about a job or activity.
Someone who performs handling tasks in a protected environment only will not have the same needs as a handler alternating inside and outside.
Define the Risks
Once the work environment is identified, it is advisable to list and quantify the risks. Can heavy objects fall on your feet? Could a machine or a cart run over your toes?
If so, opt for a shoe with a protective toe cap to protect you from the risk of crushing protective shoes or safety shoes. Another example is that could you walk on puncturing objects, such as metal residue, nails, or screws fallen on the ground? If so, we must fit the shoes with an anti-perforation sole.
The Role of the Employer
Legislation cannot define a global rule for all activities, companies, and communities. It is impossible because each case is different. Also, this responsibility lies with the employer.
The establishment or company analyzes the work environment and the risks. Then, it integrates them into its Single Safety Document (SID) that is mandatory. Based on the elements of this Single Document, the employer can define which risks preventing and guide the choice of purchasing shoes. So, the standards correspond.
For Personal Use
If you buy your shoes for yourself, as a self-employed person in a self-employed business or craftworker, or for your private gardening and DIY work or work in a house, it is more difficult. No head of the establishment will help you know what to buy.
It is up to you to list the potential risks you run, then choose the shoes with the right standards.
Quick-Release Work Boots
Some types of jobs require quick-release work boots for the most dangerous situations. The quick-release is used to put on and take off the shoe more easily and to have greater safety in case of accidents or immediate danger in the workplace.
This quick release system was available to tackle these dangerous situations. So, it is best to choose the right type of shoe. Many types of quick release have an innovative design that allows the release of the shoe with one hand.
Lock Laces were born in 1997, when track and field professional Eric Jackson, frustrated with shoes coming loose in the middle of competitions, found a solution to his problem. Eric took two bungee cords and two lace locks and began experimenting.
Then, he had invented a new type of closure. When his friends started asking him for a pair for them too, Eric sensed the potential for sales. The following year he patented his invention, opened a shop, and started selling his creation.
Lock Laces are a popular system that is also used in children’s shoes. It is an easy and intuitive system and is quick. It is suitable for those who:
- Have weight problems
- Have back pain or back problems
- Have trouble bending over or tying your shoes
Velcro was available in 1948 by electrical engineer George de Mestral, who spread it all over the world. Today, there are infinite versions of Velcro products that the term has become part of common use and shows any closure even if not produced by the parent company.
The Velcro strap is the most popular alternative to laces and zippers. There are thousands of companies that make it, but Velcro is still the number one manufacturer.
The family includes the Hook 88/Loop 1000 version, the most popular and used in the world. It is a comfortable and simple choice for safety shoes. The choice will fall on this type of shoe:
- Shoes must be adjusted to the millimeter on the shape of the foot
- The shoe needs to open quickly
- For those with diabetes problems
It is an innovative closure system designed for sports shoes and recently introduced for safety shoes. The system allows those who use them to adapt the shoe to their foot quickly. The BOA remains the best system because of its reliability.
The BOA system allows quick removal in an emergency. Besides, unlike traditional laces, you can release the foot, tighten, and loosen the shoe with a simple click, by turning a knob. Thanks to stainless steel strings, the system is resistant and allows millimeter precision. Besides comfort, this entails greater safety, because the shoe adheres better to the foot.
How do you break into work boots fast?
It is easy to break into work boots fast. You can follow the following ways:
- Buy the right shoe size. If they are too large or too small, they will still hurt the feet even though you try hard to break in.
- If your work boots feel narrow, consider to use moleskin or an onion pad on these spots in order to protect the feet. It is not glamorous, but the feet may thank you for it!
- The salesclerk informed me about some styles being cut more tightly than others. Such as, they cut 1460 much narrower than the 1461 and some newer styles.
- You can wear them several times per day and it will only harden your feet while not softening your boots.
- Wear them outside as soon as possible.
How long do work boots take to break in?
Even with the most comfortable shoes you own, it took about a month to break them. The first month is hell, but their hard-earned comforts will last a lifetime.
Of course, it depends on the shoe and your feet. Some styles and materials take longer to get in than others. But if you have thin skin, it will take longer. To be on the safe side, it allows about a month for the break-in process.
How do I stop my work boots from hurting?
At first, several problems can occur after carrying your work boots all day:
- Your socks may leave serious imprints and patterns on tops of the feet if it ribs the socks. Your feet may feel indeed itchy in these places. But be careful! If you scratch, do it gently. Vigorously scratching the irritated skin may cause bleeding and scratch.
- Try soaking the feet in the bowl or foot bath filled with soap of Johnson’s or/and Epsom salts. Pat them dry with a towel as well as massage gently in the case that they still feel pinched.
- If you intend to develop blisters, please give your feet enough time in order to recover well before re-putting on your boots. You can use moleskin or an onion pad on these spots.
- By the time of having tied laces properly or a plump calf, your boots themselves can have left indentations on calves as well. These impressions can disappear over several hours. So, seeing a print on a calf is indeed painful! Do not try to over-tighten your boots next time.
How do you soften boots quickly?
We have found that alternating your days wearing your new boots with other shoes would help keep your feet happy and give them time to renew themselves. Because after you properly break these boots, you will have them forever and you can carry them.
Sometimes, with a better understanding of the different safety standards that best suit your work environment, the choice of another shoe model or material might have been appropriate. An anti-perforation sole will inevitably make the shoe heavier and more rigid.
If you will not be at risk of perforation in your job, S1 or S2 shoes may be suitable. If conversely, this risk is significant or not negligible, the choice of the sole will then be important. Thus, a metal sole will be rigid while a textile sole is made of Kevlar or another type. It will be much softer and more comfortable.
Likewise, work boots with a large leather upper and a rigid upper designed to protect you from cuts will be firmer than a low shoe of the basketball type. While you might hear some nasty rumors, we are not suggesting dipping your boots in water, lighting them, burning them, or smearing them with olive oil or petroleum jelly. These techniques can make your boots more flexible, but only because you will have ruined their structural integrity:
- Too much water will cause the seam to disappear
- Too much fire will turn them into charcoal
- Olive oil or petroleum jelly will only make them oily