It seems that when the Army orders their standard combat boots, they do not really consider the comfort of the soldier. Fortunately, you can do several things to improve the overall comfort of your boots. Here are five different tips and tricks to make your feet happy.
1 – Invest In (or Borrow) a Boot Stretcher
You can find a boot stretcher in just about any store that sells leather shoes and supplies, and if you are in the military, you can probably find some on your base. Just place them inside of your boot and make adjustments so that you put tension on the leather. Essentially, while they will not exactly stretch the leather, they will help prevent shrinkage that occurs when you are not wearing them.
2 – Use Insoles or Inserts
Although some boots come with cushioned insoles , these rarely conform to your feet, and even if they do, they will lose their cushioning properties over time. Gel is often best since it helps relieve the pressure your feet experience. What’s more, if your boots are a bit too big for your foot, these insoles may take up some of the extra space and provide a closer fit.
3 – Break Them in an Hour at a Time
Rather than putting your brand new boots on your feet and wearing them out into the woods or on a patrol, wear them for about an hour a day for a week or two at first. This way, they adapt to the size and shape of your feet and even the way you walk gradually. This reduces the amount of pain and discomfort you might experience, and it prevents blisters – especially in work boots worn for up to 12 to 14 hours per day.
4 – Wear Cushioned Socks
Plenty of manufacturers make cushioned socks these days, but rather than purchasing a cheap package from your local department store, consider some of the costlier socks. Not only do they do a better job of providing comfort and wicking away moisture, but they will last longer, too, making up for the added expense. You can choose from several outstanding brands, so be sure to ask your coworkers and friends which socks they prefer with their boots.
5 – Condition the Leather
Finally, invest in some good waterproofing cream or lotion to help condition your boots. These prevent the leather from becoming stiff over time, thereby influencing the fit and feel. Stiff boots often “pinch” the toes or ankles, causing blisters. On the other hand, soft, supple leather cradles your foot and provides plenty of give whether you are walking, running, or hiking.
No two feet are the same, so when you purchase military boots, you can expect that it will take some time for them to conform to your feet. Break them in gently, be sure to condition them, and use a boot stretcher if they feel a bit too tight on your feet.