How To Break In Steel Toe Boots Fast [11 Ways that work!]

Shoes are our all-time companions and provide safety, warmth, and comfort. We cannot live a single day without shoes. We have many types of shoes in the market designated for specific purposes. People related to a particular profession require specialized shoes – that fit their jobs better than other types. Steel toe boots are a fine example, but you should also know how to break in steel toe boots fast as new boots sometimes give hard time wearing them.

Large industries and factories, such as metal works, chemical plants, cranes, and heavy loads, along with professions like firefighting, and lumberjacking are some professions. Except for these, any other job that has risks and can be dangerous requires steel toe boots. Such warehouse shoes and roofing shoes are mostly built with safety toe features.

Many industrial facilities have standardized the use of steel toe boots for safety reasons. These boots are very durable, though they are not popular for providing great comfort. Moreover, new boots can be hard to wear at the moment you buy them. For that, you need to make them wearable by breaking them in. Reading this article you will know how to break into workboots fast.

Steel toe boots come with a toe cap made of steel; so, it becomes already hard to fit them properly. What is more, a rigid boot has stiff materials, which can be agonizing to wear every day. Why do your steel toe boots hurt and how do you fix it? In this article, you’ll learn about them.

Stretching steel toe boots is a good idea to make them wearable and comfortable. For that, a boot stretcher or a shoe stretcher can prove to be very effective. But, before doing that, you need to spray your steel toe boots with a boot stretching spray to make it effective.

Why is it important to break your boots in?

After buying your first pair of steel-toe boots, you must wear them inside before going outside wearing them. If not, you will end up in a world of pain. Maybe you have a higher pain threshold, but breaking your shoes in will serve you better. A tight boot will cause blisters and calluses. Ignoring them may attract infections and lead to further complications. Moreover, a stiff boot may increase stress on your feet, joints, and back. Bad posture will definitely cause problems in the long run.

This is why you need to know how to break in steel toe boots fast.

1.      Shoes in the right size

A comfortable shoe-wearing experience starts at finding the right size and shape. Everyone has a unique feet shape, while many share the same size. Combine the right size with the shape, and try wearing. You may also try different shapes and sizes if you don’t have a prior idea about the shoes that fit best. Some pairs, despite having the same size and shape, might feel different. Check the width and if your feet sweat a lot, opt for a wider shoe. Arch support is also necessary if you have a flatter foot. It is vital to choose wisely if you want to wear them for many years; you don’t want to work in pain for all those years.

How To Break In Steel Toe Boots Fast

2.      Wearing in the house

After buying the boots, wear them to your home and see if you can walk around comfortably. Steel toe boots are made with more rigid leather, and the steel cap at the top makes them challenging to break faster. The harder the leather, the more time it will take to crack. So, to speed that up, you can start by wearing them around your house for a few hours. You need to wear it properly to get the right feel of it. Around three to four hours a day will lead to significant results in a few days.

To check the boots properly, walk around different areas of your house. See if you feel an imbalance or improper support. You also need to go up and downstairs to see if they’re hanging on your feet but don’t feel too tight. Place the mid-soul of your boots on the edge of the stairs and rock your feet forwards and backward.

This method works efficiently, and you’ll be able to go out in a week. The more you do these indoors, the more confident you’ll be outdoors.

3.      Using oil to widen the boot

While you are wearing the steel toe boots inside of your house, you may consider applying oil to them. It is a common technique show makers use to widen the boots. They apply generous amounts of leather conditioner or mink oil to the outer surface of the boots.

Oiling the boot’s surface will tenderize the leather eventually, and you’ll be able to stretch them more over time. That is an excellent process to break your shoes in.

You may consider applying the mink oil at night, so the oil will stay overnight and work on the leather. In the morning, take a piece of cloth and wipe the excess oil away and let the boots dry. After the boots are dry, wear them and continue your breaking process.

4.      Freezing

There is another method that you can use to break your steel-toe boots. For that, you need two zip-lock bags. To start, fill the zip-lock bags with water. Be careful to watch that the bags shall not contain a single air bubble. After sealing the bags, put them in your shoes and stuff them in the front section, near the toe area. Then, put the shoes in a freezer overnight. The boots will break from the laws of physics, as the water will turn into ice and expand. The expansion is about 11%, and the constant pressure from the ice will crack the boots.

One thing you have to remember is that when it’s time to take them out, do not remove the ice bags instantly from the shoes. The sudden temperature change may damage the leather. Let them turn into the water first, and then safely take them out.

5.      Using a blow-dryer

We have talked earlier about applying mink oil to soften the leather of your steel toe boots. After the process, some excess oil remains on the leather. Using a hairdryer instead of cloth can speed up the breaking process. Moreover, this process is more effective and time-saving than applying oil and some other techniques, but you’ll have to take extreme caution.

First, you have to ensure the safety of your feet. For that, wear thick socks. You can also apply several layers of mediums to wrap your feet thoroughly. The hairdryer will generate heat; apply it to the outside of your shoes. It won’t harm your feet as they’ll be wrapped with a thick layer of socks. The heat will make the leather stretch and widen the boots.

You’ll have to keep wearing the boots until they cool down completely. After that, you shall apply plenty of leather conditioners to smoothen the leather, so they don’t look frayed. You can also try this process with warm water, but the results may take a bit more time than using a dryer.

stretching shoes using blow dryer

6.      Putting stuff inside the shoe

Sometimes, plain things can work more efficiently than going through lengthy processes, such as stuffing household items, like a broomstick or a mop. Take the stick and insert it into the tougher parts of your steel toe boots and leave them for a couple of hours. The pressure from the item will help release the tension of the leather. Don’t leave the thing inside the shoe overnight; it may stretch the boot further and make it lose. Instead, keep it inside and take it out to let the leather relax and return to its original position.

7.      Using a stretching spray

There are a few effective methods to break your steel toe boots—most professionals working with leather using these techniques. Why do your steel toe boots hurt and how do you fix them? You might want to consider their knowledge to know about it.

Using a shoe stretching spray is fast and effective. Spraying the liquid will loosen up the leather fiber, hence, widening the space in your steel toe boots. Apply a couple of coats on the boots and let them dry. Then, wear the boots and stretch them by walking. Focus on the points where the boots feel tight and apply some more spray on those areas.

The shoe stretching spray is available in local shops, but this method is a bit more expensive than others.

shoe stretching spray

8.      Use a shoe stretching kit

This method is also quite expensive than using other common methods, but it can perform the task most effectively. A shoe stretcher is a great product if you want to invest in something for your steel toe boots. The results are significant and very fast; you’ll be able to wear your boots outside in a few days.

Using a shoe stretcher spray will escalate the process. Before using the shoe stretcher, spray the liquid on your boots. You will need to spray the stretching liquid also on the inside, especially the insoles. After that, put the shoe stretcher kit inside the boot and stretch it to its highest limit. Leave it for a few hours. After that, let the leather relax and try wearing the boots.

If you feel some parts need further stretching, perform the process again, focusing on the target areas. Repeat the process until you get the desired shape and fit.

shoe stretching kit for work boots
Buy on Amazon clicking the image.

9.       Wear thick socks

To stretch your steel toe boots, you need to apply constant pressure on the leather to let it loosen up and widen. The loosening process keeps on even after you’ve started wearing them outside after the initial breaking of the boots.

Wearing thick socks can help to continue the process. Thick socks don’t just provide you protection from scratches and blisters from new leather; they also put tension to the insides of the boots. Due to the constant pressure, the leather widens more over time and gives you a more comfortable experience.

Even during the breaking process in your home, you can wear thick socks to ensure a better fit and loosening of the material. However, the process is slow, so it may take you a week if you solely rely on socks to break your boots. Wearing multiple layers of regular socks can also do the job nicely.

Boots socks for stretching

10.  Using alcohol to stretch the boots

Alcohol is a time-tested substance that can be great to tenderize the leather of your steel toe boots and make them more comfortable. Many people opt for this treatment instead of a shoe stretcher for its easy availability. To do that perfectly

  1. Get some rubbing alcohol and pour it into a sprayer bottle.
  2. Now, spray the alcohol on the surface of the boots until it soaks completely.
  3. After that, put them on and let them dry while you’re wearing them.
  4. You can rest them under a drying fan to dry them quickly.
  5. While the alcohol dries off the steel toe boots, they stretch the fibers of the leather and hence, make them fit to wear outside.
  6. You may continue this process until you have reached the ideal fit.

11.  Conditioning the boots

Conditioning your steel toe boots is a long-term process, and you need to be patient to let the process work nicely. After finishing, it can give you the best feel and fit of the boots, making them fit like you’ve been wearing them for years. Conditioning the boots will soften the leather fibers over time, and they will match the shape of your feet. Conditioned boots are always more comfortable to wear. You should consider them for conditioning if you are looking for ways how to break in steel toe boots fast.


Breaking steel toe boots in is an essential step to make them useful for everyday work. It can provide valuable support when you’re working on potentially risky situations. Apart from minor blisters and calluses, breaking your boots can help prevent problems like hammertoe, crossover toes, bunions, and corns. If you need information on how to break in steel toe boots fast, the above points definitely take care of that.

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