I started breaking in a new pair of boots today. My current pair of Asolo TPS 520’s (left) is in need of resoling and some repair work by a qualified cobbler. I’ve hiked at least 1000 miles in them over the past 2 years and they’ve served me well. That’s why my new pair is the same Asolo model (right) with green Superfeet insoles.
It only took me about 50 miles of hiking to break in my last pair of Asolos. I remember that time very clearly: my old Vasque Sundowners were shot and giving me plantar fasciitis and I had about 2 weeks to break in a new pair of boots before a 10 day hiking trip to the Shetland Islands north of Scotland. To get ready, I hiked 2 hours every morning before work and the boots were nice and soft by the time my trip rolled around.
When you break in a pair of boots, your focus has to be on acclimating your feet to the boot as much as on the boot itself. For example, on my 6 mile hike today, I really paid attention to the sensations in my feet as I hiked.
- How much were my feet sweating?
- Were there any hot spots where my boot was rubbing against my foot?
- Was my heel properly locked into the heel box of the boot?
- How did the tongue feel?
- Was my foot pronating more or less than normal?
- How hard were the Superfeet inserts?
- Could I feel my arch on the insert?
- Was the traction better with a less worn sole?
When we hike, we block out a lot of these sensations because they’ve faded into the background, so it was refreshing to be forced to attend to them again.
It was warm out today and my feet were sweating. I stopped a few times and took my boots off to inspect my feet and let my socks dry out a bit. That’s a good thing in new boot because the leather and the insole will mold around your foot faster when they are warmer. The boots felt stiff but not uncomfortable. I also pronated a lot less than in my current boots due to the new insoles and stiff heel box.
Now it’s just a matter of time, miles and letting the breaking in process occur naturally. I can live with that.
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