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How to break in new football boots (step-by-step guide)

Pulling on a pair of brand-new boots is a feeling like no other, that’s until the blisters arrive. Avoid any issues with these simple tips.

How to break in new football boots a step-by-step guide

Breaking in your boots is an overlooked part of the game, but it’s one which is vital when you’ve (finally) treated yourself to the latest football boots.

Moulding, shaping and softening football boots to hug your feet, can really make the difference when it comes to performing out on the pitch.

There are a fair few things to consider, so we’re here to discuss every single step in the process with you, no waffle.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re a synthetic or leather type of player, as most modern designs will now stretch to suit the wearer.

Follow our simple tips and you’ll break in your boots quickly and perfectly, all ready to go for game time.

Step 1: Get your sizing correct

football boot being laced up on feet
Image from adidas.

OK, so you may have already bought a pair of new boots, and that’s why you’re here.

If you’re having issues, it could well be worth considering that it’s to do with incorrect sizing.

Sometimes manufacturer and model sizes can vary. Never mind the difference in fit from laceless to laced, sock collar to low etc, etc.

You have to consider not only length, but shape and width for the foot too, to ensure a perfect fit.

We’ve put together a short guide on how to get the right size boots for you, which will show you how to exactly measure your feet at home.

Read our boot size guide >

Step 2: Tackle contact point friction

lionel messi on pitch in gold adidas x speedportal showing contact point friction
Image from adidas.

Contact points are the parts of the feet which will interact with the boot most during play.

We’re talking toes, balls of the feet, heels and possibly even ankle bones in taller boot models.

Only you’ll know which are your key contact points (they differ from player to player), so it’s up to you to figure it out.

When you’re feeling the pinch, before playing, take a tub of Vaseline and apply it on your socks at the key contact points.

This’ll relieve the friction in those areas and allow the inner boot material to slide across the sock, avoiding the dreaded blisters.

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Step 3. Introduce them slowly

player holding puma ultra football boots on training ground
Image from Puma.

Yes, that means you should wear new boots with pride as you tread the carpets on home soil. Unless you get told off, that is.

If the carpets are off limits, give them a little roam around the garden once in a while. It’ll help your boots get used to the shape of your feet.

We also recommend that you wear them for a couple of training sessions too, prior to their glorious competitive debut.

If you’re feeling the pain early, don’t play through it. Take them off, get home and move on to step 4…

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Step 4: Loosen with warm water

nike football boots in water being loosened
Image from Pro:Direct Sport.

If wearing the new boots dry isn’t doing the job, the oldest trick in the book really does work. Yes, standing in warm water.

Get yourself a washing up bowl, and fill it with enough warm water to cover the boots. Note: do NOT use hot water, it’ll potentially melt the boot’s adhesives.

Dip your feet in (wearing the boots on them, obvs) for 15-20 minutes. This should help stretch out any remaining stiffness.

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Step 5: Keep them clean

adidas copa football boots in white clean on a kitchen table
Image from adidas.

If looking after your boots before play is important, then it’s certainly important afterwards too.

Cleaning off every bit of debris and ensuring they’re dried correctly are both key to improving durability and performance in future.

To give you the correct way to do this, we’ve pulled together a detailed guide on how to clean football boots.

Read our how to clean boots guide >

Step 6: Pad them out

black nike boots being stretch by shoe trees
Image from Amazon.

The final step to glory. When you’ve cleaned them correctly, make sure you pack the boots out with shoe trees. Old newspapers work fine as well, to be honest.

This’ll help the boots keep their shape as they dry naturally, and it means you won’t be forced to ram your feet in before the next game.

Shop shoe trees at Amazon >

Breaking in new boots: FAQs

How tight should football boots be?

It’s your choice, really. If you want your boots to hug a little closer, that’s fine. If you like a looser feel, that’s also fine.

If you prefer an extra pair of socks, go up a size +0.5. But you’ll only know what feels right by trying out different sizes.

Rule of thumb is that looser is better. Football boots that are too tight can cause long-term issues with growth / development in children and also injury issues in adults.

How do you stretch laceless football boots?

The good news is that laceless models of football boots will stretch in the same way as laced ones!

Follow the simple steps we’ve mentioned above and you’ll be pulling on laceless models as easily as any other.

Can you stretch synthetic football boots?

Yes, but not quite as much as leather football boots. But, some cheaper synthetic material models will stretch further.

Synthetic materials were invented to stretch a little out of the box, so they’re already set up to mould to the player’s feet. It’s worth trying to wear them normally at first.

Sometimes, using a hair dryer on a low heat (NOT high) can help to loosen synthetic materials.

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That’s it for our simple guide and we hope it prepares you to stroll out on the pitch in confidence and comfort.

If you’re looking for a new pair of football boots to break in this season, we compare prices from leading retailers like Nike, adidas, Puma, Pro:Direct, Sports Direct, Lovell and more to save you cash.

Kevan Thorpe

Quintessential grassroots journeyman. I've had more "you look like Gareth Barry" comments than I have career goals.