HUNTING / BIG GAME
HOW DO I BREAK IN NEW HUNTING BOOTS?
If you have a big game hunt coming up, chances are you might need a new pair of hunting boots. You might find yourself asking, "How do I break in new hunting boots?" If you are new to hunting, breaking in new hunting boots has probably not even crossed your mind. If you have been wearing your old hunting boots for a few seasons, you probably forgot all about the process of breaking in your new boots.
Keeping your feet comfortable is a key component to being successful on any big game hunt. Properly breaking in your boots, a few months in advance of the upcoming hunt, can make a world of difference when your boots finally hit the ground. Here are a few pointers to help you get your new hunting feeling comfortable in advance of your next hunt.
MAKE SURE YOUR NEW BOOTS FIT PROPERLY
If you are buying boots online, it's important to buy from a vendor that offers free returns in the event the hunting boots don't fit the way you expected. Most online retailers don't offer returns after the boots have been worn outside, so make sure you are comfortable with they way the fit before taking them outside. If you are buying shoes in a brick and mortar store, make sure to ask them to measure your feet before you try anything on to save time, and ensure a proper fitting boot.
When trying on your new pair of hunting boots, consider these things:
- Overall length of boot. How does the boot from toe and heel?
- Width and arch support of the inside of the boot.
- Make sure the instep fits comfortably.
- Ankle support.
- Stiffness of boot sole / boot shank.
GET A QUALITY PAIR OF WOOL HIKING SOCKS
Wool is the most popular hiking sock material and the one that most footwear specialist recommend over all others. The average person takes 2,000 steps to hike one mile. A good quality wool sock plays a vital role in keeping your feet comfortable and healthy. Wool socks are critical to keeping your feet comfortable and blister-free.
When choosing the best hiking socks for your next big game hunt, you should consider these things:
- Does the sock feel comfortable? Do you feel the adequate amount of cushion without it taking up too much space in your boot?
- Does the sock fit properly? Make sure the sock is not too tight, or too loose.
- Is the sock the right height for your hunting boot?
- Is the sock made of wool, or some other blend of polyester or nylon? We prefer an all wool hiking sock such as the one listed below.
TOUGHEN UP YOUR FEET
Even with the most comfortable pair of hunting boots and wool socks, your feet can still get tired or blistered if you are not used to wearing boots. If you don't have your new pair of hunting boots yet, you can still toughen up your feet by spending time wearing any pair of boots and wool hiking socks. If your feet are not ready for your new boots, here are a few tips to help you get them in shape.
- Start wearing boots and wool hiking socks.
- Take long walks in your boots.
- Wear your boots for every day activities.
BREAKING IN YOUR NEW HUNTING BOOTS
Once you have your new boots picked out and your wool hiking socks in hand, it's time to start slowly and methodically breaking them in for use on your next big game hunt . Here are a few "pro-tips" to follow that will ensure your feet and your new hunting boots are properly broken in and ready to go.
- Start wearing your boots every day.
- Walk through every puddle or small creek you can find, being careful not to exceed the depth limitation of your boot.
- Waterproof or wax your boots to soften the leather.
- Wear the same socks you plan on using for hunting season. Your boots and socks are part of a system. Don't disrupt the system by wearing a different sock for break in, and another for the actual hunt.
- Take long hikes in your boots to toughen up and callous your skin.
- Buy your boots well in advance of your next hunt.
- Aim to put at least 60-100 miles of hiking or walking on your boots before the next hunt.
Hunting boots and socks I have personally used for the past two seasons and highly recommend for quality, durability, and comfort and value.
My boots are still in almost new condition despite the hundreds of miles I have put on them. Socks are recommended to be replaced after they show signs of use. It's best to have at least two pairs of socks to rotate use each day of your hunt.
Lowa Men's Renegade
GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Smartwool Men Classic Hike
Light Cushion Crew Sock
ADDITIONAL HUNTING BOOT STYLES TO CONSIDER
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