View Full Version : Hiking Shoes Break-In Period?

01-11-2007, 17:55
I recently purchased a pair of Merrell Chameleon II Wrap Goretex shoes. They fit me well in the store, and I walked around with them for a bit at my house and they were fine, so I decided to take them outside. I took a short 1 hour walk in the woods near my house, and noticed a few problem areas with the shoes. For one, the bottom of my right ankle keeps hitting the top of the shoe which gets quite painful after a while. This wasn't initially happening. Also, I've noticed the left shoe seems to bend a bit more than my right shoe above the toe area, and the material above my toes is sort of caving in and rubbing against my toes causing mild pain and probably eventually a blister. I have never owned a pair of real hiking shoes like this before, so I'm unfamiliar if these are problems that will go away as the shoe breaks in, or if I need to find another solution. So far I have logged only about 3 miles in these shoes. If these problems will go away on their own as they break in, how long should it take?

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

01-11-2007, 18:01
Generally speaking, it isn't boots that need breaking in. Rather, it's that your feet need to get conditioned. That being said, after reading your post, I suggest that you try another pair of boots.

01-11-2007, 18:19
Since I've worn the shoes around in the woods, I can't return them to exchange them for another pair. That means I can either try to work out the problems with these, or buy another new pair and eat a $120 loss. Ideally before I scrap these entirely I'd like to try to either break them in or come up with another solution.

Mother's Finest
01-11-2007, 18:24
sounds like you are dealing with two different issues. The rubbing around your ankle lets leave for a minute.

As to the issue of bending and caving in of the shoe, sounds like you may have some rotation or movement inside the shoe. Try a set of over-the-counter insoles, like Superfeet.

This may also raise your heel to combat the rubbing issue. If it does not, ask a local shoe store for a couple of heel pads, something thin you can add to raise your heel.

if these do not work, scrap the shoe gear and move on. for real fitting help, find a pedorthist in your area. www.cpeds.org (http://www.cpeds.org) for a listing.


01-11-2007, 20:03
I have the same shoes and took off on a 5 day hike out of the box with no problems. One thing I did before the hike was to replace the inserts with Superfeet(green) and that resolved the ankle bite.
I just finished hiking in the Rockies with the same shoes but with the Spenco Backerpacker (heavy duty) inserts instead of the Superfeet and the shoes performed extremely well. I have had Vasque Sundowners and Montrails but will stick with the Chameleons.

Good luck.

01-11-2007, 20:46
Speaking for myself... it's always a crap shoot. I just never really know for sure if a boot is going to "work out" on the trail -- until I put a pack on and try it, on a real trail. Usually I have a good hunch from the initial fit and walks around the neighborhood. But on a couple of occasions I've been spectacularly wrong. The price or the brand of the shoe/boot doesn't seem to matter much.

PS, if you bought the boots from REI or EMS, you can still exchange them. Some worry about the "ethics" of doing this. I say... it depends ;).

01-11-2007, 22:45
Sometimes if you are unsure you can try out the shoes at a store and then try to get the same kind online with more of a liberal return policy (there are even some shoe websites with free shipping and return shipping). Or in my case, when the Salamon trail runners didn't work out (and that was disappointing), I found another hiker willing to buy them off of me. Or you can sell them on E Bay (people sometimes are willing to pay a lot of money over there for stuff)

Sure hope it works out for you though. I mean, my boots make my little toes hurt and the nail has fallen off on one of them consistently, but I still love them. They don't hurt my arches, are lightweight with ankle support I need, and I like the Goretex lining. So I can deal with the little toe thing.

01-11-2007, 22:56
Here's my 2 cents - Wear your expensive Merrill's for everyday casual use and look cool like the greek kids in college. Go out and buy some trail runners (preferrable on sale) and give your feet a break.

2 more cents - it might take 50 miles to break in the hiking shoes, much less than that for the trail runners.

and 2 more - Did you wear hiking socks with the new shoes when you went for the hike? They make a BIG difference, compared to white athletic socks when worn with hiking boots.

Try the trail runners, you'll feel like your wearing slippers after wearing boots.

01-12-2007, 18:54
Im sure that returning the shoes after wearing them wont violate any ethical issues.. after-all, this is a consumer driven economy right?? feel free to prioritize your concerns over the billionaires.. if you can look at yourself in the mirror

01-12-2007, 19:08
All footwear requires a break-in period-even sandals. I suppose it is not so important if you just walk short distances on new footwear but if the miles or speed builds up upon them, the 'un-broke-in' footwear can produce friction and blisters upon the contours of your feet.

01-13-2007, 16:21
Well I went ahead and returned the shoes and picked up a new pair. I stuck with Merrells, and went with the Chameleon II Stretch. The different between the goretex wrap version and the stretch version of the Chameleon shoes is night and day for me. The stretch version is incredibly comfortable and after just taking them out for a dayhike, my feet felt great the entire time and there were no problems at all. They really do feel like I'm wearing a comfortable pair of slippers, but the bottoms are rigid enough to make walking on rough terrain comfortable. These are without a doubt the most comfortable things I have ever worn on my feet.