In short: Wear your new L.L. Bean boots with thick socks at home for short periods of time. This will give your feet time to adjust to how everything fits. You can also use boot stretchers.
I’m going to help you break in your new L.L. Bean boots. Doing so will help you deal with any potential issues that you might have when you’re ready for the trail.
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Do L.L. Bean boots break in?
It takes roughly 80 to 100 hours of wear to break in L.L. Bean boots.
However, it depends on the boot. A more sturdy leather boot, like the Cresta Hikers, may take about four weeks for your feet and your boot to get to know each other. A more lightweight boot may be ready to hit the trails as soon as you take it out of the box.
How to stretch and break in L.L. Bean boots
In this guide, I’m going to focus on the boots that need just a little bit more love. Here are the simple things you can do to stretch and break in your new L.L. Bean boots in no time:
1. Wear your boots at home
Start by wearing your new L.L. Bean boots at home. Make sure you’re wearing the socks you plan to wear with your boots. This will give your feet time to adjust to how everything fits.
Wearing the right socks is just as important as wearing the right boots. Try to avoid cotton. Cotton socks tend to soak up sweat and water, as well as become abrasive when wet.
If you’ve had blister problems in the past, your socks could be the culprit. Now back to your boots. Wear your boots around the house for a couple of days, even up to a week.
Try to really focus on the fit. Sometimes the shape of the boot and the shape of your foot aren’t quite right for each other, or the size is a little off. No amount of breaking in can fix a bad fit.
Leather does adapt a bit, though. So give it at least a week if you’re unsure. If you are not feeling comfortable after a couple of days around the house, you should exchange your boots.
2. Wear your boots outside, but close to home
It’s time to take your L.L. Bean boots for a walk outside. Pick a spot that’s close to home, whether that’s around the block or a local park. Give yourself a week of walking close to home.
Wearing your boots inside the house, the goal is to let the leather mold to the shape of your foot. Now, the aim is to allow the boots to adjust to your feet in motion.
To speed up the process, you can wear thick socks to stretch the material slightly. Walk outside for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. If your feet start to hurt, take your boots off and rest inside.
You can gradually build up the length of your walk here, even throwing in some easy hills for good measure. After about a week, your L.L. Bean boots should soften and feel much better.
3. Insert a pair of boot stretchers
Have you ever heard of boot stretchers? They literally do what their name suggests. These contraptions will stretch your boot two ways — length and widthwise.
There are usually 2 forms of stretchers, plastic, and wood. Unlike wooden shoe stretchers, plastic shoe expanders are lighter and cheaper. They are also more durable.
The longer you place the boot stretchers inside your L.L. Bean boots, the better the result. It is a good idea to insert the boot stretchers and leave them for at least 24 hours.
4. Blast the hair dryer inside the boots
Many people have used this method and found great success. To break in your L.L. Bean boots quickly, blast the inside of the boots with hot air, then pop them on over a pair of thick socks.
Walk around in them until they cool — they’ll mold to your feet. Just be careful not to keep the dryer on them for long enough to damage the leather. A few seconds on each foot is plenty.
The heat from the hairdryer allows the leather to expand. As it cools down, the material will shrink. Since you are wearing the boots, they will mold into the shape of your foot.
And there you have it, how to break in L.L. Bean duck boots. Wear them for short periods of time at home, then take them outside. You can also use boot stretchers or the hair dryer method.