Tips on How to Soften Work Boots

It’s common knowledge that when you buy a pair of boots, they’re usually pretty stiff and uncomfortable. This is because they need to be broken in so that your feet aren’t hurting all day. However, there are ways to make the process less painful by softening work boots with natural ingredients like baking soda or conditioner.

If you work in a job that requires boots, it’s important to keep those boots as comfortable as possible. No one wants to be stuck wearing stiff and uncomfortable footwear for eight or more hours a day. Luckily, there are some simple ways to soften your work boots so they’re much easier on your feet.

Tips on How to Soften Work Boots:

  1. Take a bath towel and fold it in half
  2. Put the boots on top of the towel
  3. Run them under some hot water for about 5 minutes
  4. Let them air dry overnight – don’t put them away wet!
  5. Repeat this process until they are soft enough to wear all day long
  6. If you have leather work boots, use saddle soap to soften them up instead of water

Use a stiff brush to remove any dirt from the shoe

If you’re the type of person who likes to wear more rugged, 10 mile hiking boots to work, you might want to consider using a stiff brush with bristles on each end that is designed for tough materials like rubber or leather.

Tips on how to soften your work boots: Purchase a pair of neoprene shoe inserts and insert them inside your tall work boots. Slip a package freezer pack into one side and leave it in for an hour or so, then swap the freezer packs out and leave them in overnight for much softer feet in the morning. These can be set up as needed throughout the day as desired.

The first thing you can do is to scrub the soles of your work boots with an abrasive, like baking soda. Afterwards, wash shoes using a gentle soap and wipe dry. Next, pour water into the boot and let it absorb below the leather before emptying out.

You should repeat this process three or four times before taking them outside for good measure–it could take one or two days to see results because chemicals need time to break down. Lastly, use petroleum jelly on the heel of your cowboy boots–not only will this soften their effect on your feet but also keep them looking fresh!

Place your boots in a large pot of boiling water for about five minutes

If you have a pair of work boots that are stiff, take them out of the box and place them in a large pot of boiling water for about five minutes. Remove the boot from the pot with tongs, dry off excess water with paper towels, insert foot into each boot and wear it around the house for awhile. Leave to dry overnight or use hair dryer on cool setting if needed.

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It’s a tricky question because it depends on a few factors. If the boots are new, they’ll require five minutes of boiling to soften them. If your boots have been water proofed with rubber coating, then they’ll only need two minutes in the pot of boiling water.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you allow your boots time to cool off before wearing them or walking long distances as hot rubber can cause burns.
Build up is one of the most common shoe problems and we all know how ugly and smelly they can be! Thankfully there is an easy fix for this icky problem: baking soda!

Add a half-cup of baking soda and mix it with the hot water

Make your own DIY shoepolish with this list of ingredients. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and not only does it get them shiny, but the polish water really extends the life of my boots.
I mix these 3 ingredients together in a bowl:
1-3oz dish soap + 1/4 cup baking soda+ hot water until there’s enough to fill an old coffee mug. THEN, slowly add more hot water while stirring until you have a nice lathering sudsy mixture that can be applied with a cloth or brush from the inside & outside of the shoe. Apply generously and scrub away.

This will help remove excess moisture from your footwear, which is what creates that dreaded uncomfortable feeling. It also helps prevent the boots from deteriorating prematurely by making it too wet inside. If you are in a hurry, after squeezing out as much water out of them as possible,, place them upside down for three hours.

The salty water won’t leave any stains or residue on upholstery or fabric due to sodium bicarbonate molecular properties and its softening effects on leather. Don’t forget they usually come with little round sponges so you’ll be set but it still can take some time before they are completely dry so be patient!

Remove your work boots from the pot, dunk them into cold water, then dry them off completely before wearing again

Dip the bottom of the work boots – or just below, so it’s barely submerged in an inch or two of water. Cover with a lid and let soak for up to twelve hours depending on how stiff they are. Pour more warm water if you see any air pockets that are not opening.

After the wetting process, put them into dish soap mixed with hot water (with about one tablespoon soap per quart of water) and submerge for ten minutes before scrubbing off any dirt. Rinse thoroughly by hand-blotting dry using a towel soaked in cold water to avoid re-softening wool fibers before drying completely away from direct sunlight.

Dunking boots in cold water soaks up some of the light material oils from them and loosens up any thickened dirt. Dunking them in a diluted mix of baking soda and vinegar will soften leather boot toe-caps for more comfortable wear.

If the feet hurt, rubbing some petroleum jelly on sore spots is a good temporary fix. Fortunately, if you’re careful with your technique while wearing work boots everyday, they shouldn’t get too stiff unless it snows a lot or they’ve been attacked by Super Glue!


Softening up your work boots is not only necessary to make them more comfortable, but also for keeping your feet and body healthy. To soften your leather or rubber-soled shoes, we recommend using a solution of water and white vinegar in equal parts.

You can soak the shoe overnight in this solution or use it as a spot treatment by applying the mixture with an old toothbrush over areas where you feel discomfort (especially on top of toes).

If you want to add some extra conditioning to the process, rub coconut oil into the surface before putting them back in their airtight container when they’ve finished soaking.

This will help keep moisture from escaping through drying out and cracking while providing protection against harsh weather conditions like UV rays.


How do you break in a pair of work boots?

Tip One: Wear the boots in the house or in your car with them on for 20-30 minutes each day. The removal of that static electricity will often soften up a really stiff boot.
Tip Two: Slip some paper into the shoe to soften it up overnight. Tip three, heat things up with a hair dryer on low heat for about 10-20 seconds.

Bentonite clay mixed with water is also an effective way to break in shoes, but I wouldn’t recommend this if you have any allergies or sensitivities to metal particles/chemicals because of the fact that sometimes these substances are found in clays.

Soak them in warm water mixed with some dish soap, remove them from this bath after about 30 minutes, work the new boots on while they are still wet for 10 – 15 minutes, dry out of direct heat or suns rays to avoid any shrinking or changes in coloration due to heat exposure.

And try these tips if you have a different kind of boot leather you want to soften up too!
Mix melted wax and some glycerin with an equal amount of water and pour into a Tupperware container that has some holes poked into it at the top edges near the lid.

How do you make boots not hurt your feet?

  1. Wear socks with your boots
  2. Put on a pair of shoe inserts before you put on your boots
  3. Use foot cream or moisturizer to soften the skin around your feet (and between toes)
  4. Tighten up the laces of your boot for better support and less slippage
  5. Make sure that the heel is not too high so it doesn’t push against the back of your ankle or cause pain in other areas of your foot
  6. Get rid of any extra weight – if you’re carrying anything, put it down! This will take some pressure off from what’s already being distributed by walking, which can also help prevent soreness and blisters.

Why do new work boots hurt?

Work boots typically don’t “break-in” like more traditional footwear. There are a few tricks you can try such as:

  1. Break them in with socks or some other form of foot covering first to reduce the possibility of blisters and any cracking that sometimes happens when they are not broken in correctly.
  2. Use an alternate break-in method, such as spraying them with cooking spray to soften the leather before wearing or rubbing your shoeshine cloth on them.
  3. Make sure the boot is not too large, tight, or wide for your foot size so that it doesn’t put pressure on specific points of your feet while you’re walking around during the day at work over time causing soreness to develop

How long do work boots take to break in?

Work boots are designed with strong materials that also make them sturdy enough for long-term wear, but many of us need more than that. To soften work boots, the following method can be used:

1.Make sure it is dry outside before beginning this process because you’ll need something to place your feet in when they’re wet with water which makes this next step much easier.

2. Fill a pot with warm water and add some salt so it’s not quite as hot as an average bath water temperature or lukewarm (~120 degrees F).

3. Roll up your pants at the knee so they don’t get wet.

How do you break in boots overnight?

You coat your boots with vegetable oil, lay them upside down so the meat side is touching the bottom of your boot, and twist as you pull back up – which will supposedly give you a lot more grip for those ‘death trap’ steps.
Additional Information: Wash your new work shoes in hot water with woolite or enzymatic shampoo three or four times to remove any materials that may cause blisters and toughen leathers. Use a good quality leather protector before wearing them out to make them last longer.

  1. Stretch them out as much as possible by putting your boots on over the course of the day, only taking them off to shower or sleep. Stretching will help break in new boots because the general principle behind boot/shoe construction is that they are leather riding tight against leather, with a layer of cork or rubber between them. The more stretched out the uppers are at first, the less likely it is for there to be any painful parts later on when you’re trying to wear your boots all day at work.
  2. Put something forceful against your toes until it’s time for bed so that your feet have an opportunity to relax overnight and not be cramped up in socks or shoes while wearing plastic bags.

Why do my new boots hurt my feet?

The fact that they hurt your feet could be worrisome. Within the hours after you buy a pair of new boots, the leather stiffens and conforms to fit your foot and we walk around in them, causing damage to your toes. But don’t worry! There are many ways to soften up those hard work boots so they don’t hurt.

  • Stuff tissue paper between the boot and the top part of your sock for an hour or so
  • Sprinkle liberal amounts underfoot with baby powder or baking soda
  • Moisten a rag and place it inside, then place hot water (pour water over boot)
  • Soak boots in warm water overnight (pinch or wrap one end closed if

How can I make my boots more comfortable?

  1. Wear wool socks inside of your boots to create a buffer between the boot and your foot
  2. Use an insole with arch support if you have flat feet
  3. Put some shoe inserts on top of your toes, then put on the next layer of socks
  4. If you’re wearing heels, loosen up the laces so that there is more room for your toes to move around
  5. Get rid of any excess material at the toe area – this will help avoid rubbing against skin or causing blisters
  6. Add gel insoles or pads to make them more comfortable

Are Boots bad for your feet?

If your work boots are too new, they can be too hard and uncomfortable. To try and soften them, place them on a floor with newspapers or some other tough material underneath it to spare the toes from getting punctured.

Fill the area below the boots with water as high as you can reach without standing in it (if possible). Then cover those new boots for about an hour very lightly with a pillowcase so they don’t dry out.

Leave them overnight if possible. When you wake up in the morning, your work boot should feel softer- go ahead and put them on! These two tricks will also help keep stinky feet at bay by preventing sweat from creating bacteria that lead to bad odor.

Boots are better than some other work boots because the steel toe caps off-set some of the weight.
For softening up your feet, you can put an old tennis sock inside your boots to make them feel more comfortable all day long, every day; it gives good cushioning and will help prevent or repair rub spots.

You can also soak them in warm water with Epsom salts (about a quarter cup) for about fifteen minutes before wearing them on your feet for this first time.

Try one foot at a time to minimize slipping risk; this is what my grandma once suggested after she came back from her doctor’s visit that was saying that her bunions were making it too hard for her to go shopping.

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