Breaking in leather boots

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Abuelo
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Breaking in leather boots

Post by Abuelo » Feb 19 2010 5:29 pm

Have a new pair of Vasque all leather boots. Wondering if anyone has any suggestions for shortening the break in period? Possibly a leather conditioning oil of some type? Other suggestions?

HELP!!!!!!!

Thanks.

Abuelo
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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Breaking in leather boots

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Feb 19 2010 5:58 pm

Wear them around the house a little. How comfortable are they? Most modern boots don't require too much breaking in. If they are brutally uncomfortable - take them back and have someone else at the store check the fit.

The idea is to get the leather a little warm and get it to conform to your feet.
You have some options
1) Wear a liner and a thick sock and take some short hikes.
2) Apply saddle soap, preheat your oven to 200° and put the boots in the oven for 10 minutes. Wear thick socks, put the boots on and walk for 30 minutes. Repeat.
3) Put on thick socks and your boots. Fill your bathtub with 6 inches of hot water. Stand in the tub for maybe 10-15 minutes. Step out. Wipe off your boots and walk around in the wet boots and socks until they dry.

We used to use Neetsfoot oil, but that can be harsh on the leather. A shoe repair store might have some leather balm that might work better than saddle soap, but saddle soap should work ok. Maybe get some Obenauf's Leather Protectant & Oil.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Breaking in leather boots

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 19 2010 6:47 pm

I sure used to love those Vasque Sundowner boots, but they no longer make them in my size, (narrow) and they are now made in China instead of Italy. Even back in the day they took forever to break in. Lasted forever, too. I have a pair of Vasque Wasatches right now, but they are awfully big and heavy. I hardly ever wear them. The ankles never seem to break in right. On the other hand, they are great for a workout, like wearing weights on your feet!
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Re: Breaking in leather boots

Post by JimmyLyding » Feb 19 2010 7:22 pm

I went through a pair of Vasque Switchbacks (all-leather version of the popular Breeze series). Possibly the best boot I've ever owned. I have about 50 miles on my new Asolo TPS 520 GV, and they're taking a while to break in.
Like Al I would recommend wearing them around, but as much as possible. I've always had good luck wearing new boots around the house/office/wherever for a few weeks then using a cleaner to get rid of the initial coating of dirt and the cheap factory-applied sealant, then apply at least 2 doses of leather conditioner. I've always used Nikwax products.
All-leather boots may cost a lot and take a long time to break-in, but they are the gift that keeps on giving.

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Abuelo
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Re: Breaking in leather boots

Post by Abuelo » Feb 21 2010 10:41 am

Thanks for the comments. I, like Al, had a very old but great pair of original Vasque Sundowners (burgandy with light tan tounge) but after my broken ankle healed last year found I could no longer wear them (too tight). Went with the new Sundowner because of experience with the old ones and a preference for leather boots. May have been a mistake. Soooooo ... will see how it goes.

AZBackPacker: Was in your area couple of weeks a go (Greer) to do some snowshoeing. Great area. But there was almost too much snow to get around. Happen to have any suggestions for good areas? Going back up later this week for a couple of days.

Also ..... do you happen to know if #191 is open to Hannagan's from Alpine?

Thanks again for everyone's comments.

Abuelo
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azbackpackr
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Re: Breaking in leather boots

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 21 2010 1:56 pm

191 to Hannagan is probably open right now. We have this new storm coming in, so conditions should improve for snowshoeing. Right now it is very icy. You can call Alpine RD or Hannagan Meadow Lodge to find out the latest, also. I would think going over near Green's Peak would be fun for you. Park at the 260 sledding hill parking lot just west of the reservation boundary, (several miles west of the Sunrise turnoff) walk across the highway and head NW toward the gap between the two small hills. Use Green's Peak topo. If it is extremely windy, going to Pole Knoll is always a good bet as you can stay in the trees, and the parking is easy.

The Green's Peak area has these big open meadows with views, interspersed with forested knolls and copses. There are snowmobiles in that area sometimes, though, but usually only on weekends. I like skiing in their tracks.

I will be going cross country skiing up that way or at Pole knoll next Sat and Sun if I think I am ahead on my homework, but right now I can't think about anything much except the 3 papers I have to turn in this week.
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Re: Breaking in leather boots

Post by snakemarks » Feb 24 2010 8:30 am

It might sound radical, but Al's #3 is an excellent suggestion. I've used this method and it works pretty well on real leather. No effect on synthetics or rubber caps, though, so boots with a lot of that going on are doomed if they don't fit well right out of the gate. Should work great on yours.
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BobP
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Re: Breaking in leather boots

Post by BobP » Feb 24 2010 8:42 am

Number 3....thats what we did in military college...except the bathtub was a river and the walking around part was a run to the top of the mountain. Those leather jump boots felt like a glove(for the next 4 years). I regret burning them in the senior bonfire but it was tradition. :)
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