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  1. #1

    Default Break in on leather boots

    How much attention should be spent on how well foot wear fits, I remember my Limmers took a little while, with soarness and then fit great. I picked up a couple pair of 48 cm. Asolo boots, had both of them stretched out a little with a cobbler's shoe stretcher, and one set with some rubbing alcohol which supposedly helps stretch. I figured Merino socks would help, and they do on tight fits. Any techniques hikers are trying? I think Asolo 48 equates to 13 1/2, which is close to my feet, though I have been wearing 14 Limmers.


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    If you have a need to have your boots "stretched out a little" you've purchased boots that are too small. Not good. Not good at all! Go to a shoe store that has older shoe sales persons competent in measurering/sizing your feet (DO NOT go to the clueless millennials at the Nike store for this), find out your true size, and go from there. I have found out over the years that men, in general, have no frikkin clue as to their shoe size. Funny thing is, they will argue the hell about how good the fit on their shoes are when, in fact, it is obvious their feet are bursting out the side of the shoe. Some things are just beyond reason.

    OkeefenokeeJoe

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    The problem with European-USA shoe size conversion: There are a zillion charts online. I just looked at 2 charts. A 48 European was 14 on one and 15 on the other.
    Boot break in from the Dark Ages:
    Fill boot with water.
    Empty boot.
    Put boots on and walk dry.
    Merino wool socks come in a variety of thicknesses. My own collection varies from paper thin to sweater thick. Experiment.
    Good luck.
    Wayne


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    The hassle is leather tanning has changed radically over the years and I expect the old methods of breaking in leather may not apply to modern leather. IMHO you need to get the width right to begin with don't try to make them wider.

    FYI, I bought set of stock Limmer midweights once. The staff measured my feet and declared that they would work great once they were broken in (for width). I fought with the boots for about two months and really impacted a hiking season. I brought them back a few times to be adjusted and they would assure me that they would be fine once I got them back, they finally used some sort of device that frees up space for bunnions which makes a very distinct raised patch of leather. After that didn't work I gave up. Subsequently I talked to someone who claimed to have worked for them at one point and his opinion was rarely do boots wear in if they are too narrow, the owner usually puts up with it and on occasion has foot problems related narrow boots. Prior to that I had custom Limmers which did take awhile to break in and were great for 3 years until I had them resoled and then they were too narrow. When I complained they informed me that "of course boots get narrower when they are resoled". After that they were okay for dayhikes but a trip killer for extended backpacks. I finally switched to New Balance trail runners in 4E and a few years later found out about Montrail Heat moldable inserts and haven't looked back. By the way I live in the whites and most of my hiking is on or around the nasty rocks that everyone complains about and I do fine. They do wear out far quicker than leather boots but I just look for sales and keep a pair in reserve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmtnboy View Post
    How much attention should be spent on how well foot wear fits, I remember my Limmers took a little while, with soarness and then fit great.
    Those indeed are the "I remember when" days. In those old days, I would soak new leather boots in water, then wear them to get them to conform to my feet. Those days of boot manufacturing for the average backpacker are past. Today, boots are mostly fabric even if they say "leather."

    Generally speaking, they should fit your feet in the store as well as tennis shoes would, with no "breaking in" at all.

    At least, that has become my experience.
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

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    I have a few pair of all leather boots that I did it the old fashion/Dark Ages way. Gettem wet and walkem dry. I never bought all leather boots that were "waterproof" to begin with, as this interfered with my style of breaking them in. Once you get the fit, slather them up with your favorite brand of waterproofing. I now hike in Merrill Moab Hiking Shoes in the spring and summer and fall. When I get out in the winter, I pull out the leather boots for obvious reasons.
    Blackheart

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    After decades of using sports shoes and trailrunners for hiking, I'm back to leather boots now. Main resaon being, that I'm fed up with the usually short life of trail runners.

    When getting a new pair of boots, I wear them on very short local walks first, and usually any hot spot will show soon. I put them back to the factory (which luckily is just a few km apart) and they put the boot in a stretching machine to give a tiny bit of extra room on the exat spot the problem sits at. So far, after this process the boots fit perfectly.
    If all fails, I'd pour a good amount of denaturated alcohol in the boots and walk them dry (have done this in the past a few times with slick climbing shoes).

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Leo L. ,
    What brand of boot is this and are they exported to the USA? Which model do you like?
    Thanks!
    Wayne


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    This is a small and very traditional local company, that used to produce the Austrian military boots, as well as a wide range of really sturdy mountaineering boots, especially for hunters and other people roaming the Alps by business.
    Nowadays they try to open up a little to public use, but still stick to the very traditional style.
    Not many people apprecciate this style.
    For me, style is the last I'd look at, so I'm happy with some of their products.

    Had my military boots from the service in '76 for at least 20 years in private use, until I gave them to a friend who still could not wear them out completely for another decade.
    Had a pair of low-cut shoes that served me for 35 years.
    Now I'm using desert boots designed for the Austrian UN personnel, with best success.
    Have to admit though, that the (Sinai mountain) desert is extremely hard on the shoes and so I had to re-sole them and do other small repairs after 1.5yrs of use.

    Link to their catalogue:
    http://www.steinkogler-bergschuh.at/...og_09_2014.pdf
    But honestly, they are pretty poor in advertisments, and I'm not aware of any salespoint abroad.

    Here is a collection of what I'm using at the moment:
    Steinkogler_boots-shoes.jpg

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Leo,
    Thank you so much!
    Wayne


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