Is breaking in bad?

You will hear and see many, many reports of how comfortable our boots are, from practically day one - but how true is this and does this refer to all models or just certain ones? Trying to establish just how long a pair of boots will take to break in is almost impossible but we can say, with very good authority, that most clients will say that within a ride or two they feel totally comfortable. However, the model that you choose and the leather you select will have a big impact on this and some models and colours will take much longer to break than others. Read on to see if our guide will help you decide what’s right for you.

We use the highest-grade natural leather available (untreated with chemicals), coupled with our boots being totally lined in calfskin too (no bonding here) that are beautifully structured through design and exemplary stitch work and with these measures come boots that will last many years. Ultimately, this will be dependent on how often you wear them, how you look after them and whether you are an amateur rider, semi-professional or professional riders and the true demands of how hard you expect your boots to work. Due to the leather we use and how they are made means our boots will most definitely need wearing in – to some degree or another. It would be wrong and impossible to say that they won’t – every boot is different, and every rider is different. 

Dressage boots with reinforced panels will be a hard nut to crack (literally) and what we do say to clients is that if you are already used to a hard dressage boot then ours should be relatively easy to break in as this is the constant feedback that we receive with many saying they were comfortable from day one and even a few riding in a competition within days (!) – rhino skin (Anna Ross) possibly, but true nonetheless.

Those who have never ridden in a hard boot or custom-fitted boot will struggle (almost definitely with a hard model) and we will actually do all we can to steer clients into a structured model (Bia or Passage Day) which will be much softer, with Passage Day being the softest but still structured and firm depending on the leather chosen. That said, add a polished leather to these models and again they will require a slightly extended breaking in period. See our blog ‘Reinforced or not reinforced’ to read a little more on this subject and whether a reinforced model is right for you.

Here’s our very rough guide to the breaking in period…

If comfort is more important than the model or colour you want, please let us know during the ordering process. 

Practically soft from day one, I can’t cope with breaking in at all!

Choose a rear-zip model or the Passage Day in a matte or suede leather. Absolutely no polished, gloss or chestnut brown leather! These will feel comfortable from the minute you step into them and within a day or two should feel wonderful. However, if you are super sensitive then we might need to make your boots a little bigger so they do not feel quite so restricted from the very start. 

Softest option:Suede leather on these models are super, super soft from the second you step into them.

I expect to have to break them in but want them to be comfortable within a week or two.

As above but add to this the Bia and Polo but if you added a polished, gloss or chestnut leather they may take up to a month to really feel great. We always say wear a blister plasters, thinner breeches (or adjust the lacing on Bia models) and add a heel raiser if required. Prepare for a little period of harder going but ultimately it still won’t take too long.

Softest option:matte leather but all will feel firm and all will require breaking in. 

I want a hard boot and I know they will be a tough nut to crack - bring it on!

As we already said, if you haven’t had a hard dressage boot this could be tough depending on how happy you are to take the time to break them in. Clients who have had custom boots will find breaking in the easiest whilst newbies might find it the hardest. 

Softest option:there is no softest option, these are hard cored dressage boots. Prepare to work hard!

One final thing ….

If you know you have sensitive feet or your heel particularly suffers in new shoes/boots, add a sheepskin foot to your boot! With 100% sheepskin you can be assured of warm cosy feet in the winter and cool feet in the summer and better still an easier time breaking in any boot model. Most clients choosing sheepskin say they will never go back! Additional cost will apply so do ask when you order.

Add heel risers:

this will take a 1cm off the back edge seam of your boots and does an amazing job of keeping the leather off the back of your knee whilst you break your boots in. You can buy ours here. 

All this said …

Nothing but riding will break in your boots and this is not a science, so our advice is only a guide based on many years of experience and a huge amount of feedback from our clients. Generally, there are no major issues and within no time those beautiful boots will feel as beautiful as they look. That said no two skins are the same and no two boots will be identical to break in. Riding in the boots really is the only way to break them in as walking about in them really doesn’t mimic the riding position required to literally ‘break’ them and allow them to soften. 

In the absolute worst-case scenario, we can send them to be pre-stretched for you but we really don’t like to do this (and rarely do) as ultimately allowing them to stretch and break naturally will maintain their original shape much better for many years to come - so grab the blister plasters, the heel raisers, the thickest short ankle socks and the thinnest breeches and get riding.

Team Celeris