A Step-by-Step Guide to Breaking in Your Tactical Boots


One apt descriptor for tactical boots is “tough.” Their construction makes them ideal for extreme outdoor conditions. You can be sure of high levels of protection and performance in the most challenging environments. 

Taking their design inspiration from combat or police boots, tactical boots are durable. They are ideal for active duty due to their ability to withstand wear and tear. Tactical footwear is popular among military personnel, law enforcement officers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Extreme sports enthusiasts, mountaineers, hunters, and rocky terrain seekers fall into the latter category. 

A look at the market share shows that, as of 2019, tactical footwear generated $1.59 billion. The projections up to 2027 show a CAGR of 5.1%, signaling growth in the sector. 

In the initial phases, these boots may not be the most comfortable. The solution is to break them first. But wait—there is a process you must go through for the best results. We will show you the step-by-step guide to breaking into your tactical boots. 

Notable Features of Men’s Tactical Boots

As we have stated, tactical boots for men are durable and high-performing. Noteworthy features of tactical boots include:-

  • High-top design that gives support to the legs and protects the ankles
  • Sturdy, slip-resistant sole for optimal traction, no matter the terrain
  • Tough, durable, waterproof material often breathable for purposes of ventilation
  • Leather or synthetic upper part with a rubber or other flexible material sole
  • Padded collar and cushioned insole for maximum comfort no matter how long you wear the tactical boots. 


It is always a good idea to try on tactical boots before you buy them. You can get a pretty good idea of how they will feel when you wear them. If it is not possible, like in the case of online shopping, make sure you get the size right when ordering. 

The Wet Method Of Breaking In Tactical Boots

The wet method of breaking in men’s tactical boots only works for those with leather uppers. The idea is to get the leather to shrink as the boots dry. There is not much you will need in terms of tools or equipment. Indeed, all you should have are the following:-

  • Your tactical boots
  • A bathtub or basin/bucket that is deep enough to submerge the boots
  • Water source
  • Two pairs of thick socks


  1. Fill the bucket or bathtub with water
  2. Completely submerge the tactical boots, ensuring there are no dry spots. 
  3. Remove the boots and drain them. A quick alternative is to fill the boots with water, let them sit for a few minutes then drain them. 
  4. Wear two pairs of socks. You need two pairs to protect your feet from blistering. The other reason is to capture and keep as much moisture as possible. A third reason is to give you wiggle room once the leather dries. 
  5. Wear the wet boots and go about your daily business. Wear the wet tactical boots for the entire day. Don’t worry about the discomfort of wearing wet shoes. You will be surprised at how quickly your feet adjust. 

You will quickly forget about the wetness. If you’re worried about getting trench foot, take off your boots and let your feet dry before re-putting on your socks and shoes. 

  1. You will need to keep adjusting the lacing as the leather loosens. Make sure they remain tight to help with the break-in. 
  2. At the end of the day, remove the men’s tactical boots and the insoles. Now allow everything to dry out completely. A fan will come in handy at such a time. 

The drying time for the tactical boots depends on the design. Those with side vents will dry much faster. The weather conditions also matter. As you can imagine, it may take a little longer in humid environments. 

Once the boots are dry, use leather conditioner if you wish. They should be available at your local or sporting goods store. Some conditioners come in spray format, which makes them easy to apply. The trick is to ensure you get the conditioner on the leather surface. 

Please note that you may not achieve optimal comfort after one treatment. Feel free to repeat the process a couple more times until you get the result you want. 

The Dry Method of Tactical Boots Breaking

The dry method is slower than the wet one. But you avoid the hassle of walking around in wet boots. It is also an excellent option if the tactical boots have a high gloss shine, like police boots

Be patient, because it will take some time. The trick is to slowly increase the time you wear the shoes. So:-

  • Day 1: Wear the boots with thick socks for 30 minutes to an hour. The thick socks will help avoid blistering. You can use band-aids or blister bandages for areas that will come in contact with the boots. These include the back of the heels or knuckles. Try to get in some movement with interval walking. 
  • Day 2: Increase the time to maybe one hour and thirty minutes
  • Day 3: 2 hours, etc. 

Over time, you will notice your comfort levels increasing. That is because the tactical boots will start to take the shape of your feet. 

Pay attention to the lacing. Do not make them too tight. You should also not experience any discomfort when you flex the foot. 

Once you finish the initial break-in, increase the range of movement to, say, running or fast walking.  

 It is quite clear that the dry method is quite slow. So, if you wish to use it, give yourself plenty of time. Let’s say you will use tactical boots on a mountain hike. Please don’t wait until two days before the event to break them in. We can promise you plenty of blisters and maximum discomfort because you will not have given the boots sufficient time to break them in. 

Final Thoughts

Women’s and men’s tactical boots are durable and high-performing. You need to invest in a good pair if you are in the military, law enforcement, or an outdoor enthusiast. But before you enjoy the tactical boots, you will need to break them in. 

We have shared two practical and effective methods above. Decide what works well for you, and enjoy the comfort and functionality of your tactical boots.

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