Danner boots are built to last, but the same leather that keeps them tough can also chafe your feet and cause painful blisters. Condition the leather and wear the boots often to slowly break them in without damaging the material. Properly breaking in Danner boots will ensure that they remain both comfortable and durable, even after much use.
Buy a leather conditioner. Danner provides its own; otherwise, look for a conditioner with animal-based oils that will lock in natural lubricating fats in the leather.
Clean and dry the boots. Pour the leather conditioner onto a rag or soft cloth. Gently dab the conditioner onto a small part of the boot tongue or a less visible area of the boot because conditioners may darken the boot color.
If you're satisfied with the look, coat the entire surface of the boots with leather conditioner. Knead the dressing firmly into the boots. Work the conditioner into the grain of the leather to deeply penetrate the fibers. Wipe away any excess conditioner. Let the boots air dry.
Repeat the conditioning if you see cracks in your boots, or if the color fades. Regular conditioning will soften the leather and speed up the break-in process, so the boots can mold more quickly to your feet.
Wear the Boots
Put on a pair of socks slightly thicker than you would normally wear. Slip your feet into the boots.
Wear the boots around the home for several days to slowly stretch the leather. Note the areas of your foot that painfully rub up against the boot.
Continue wearing your boots with thick socks to loosen the leather until the boots aren't as tight of a fit. Once the boots have expanded to a snug but comfortable shape around your feet, wear them without the thick socks.
Things You'll Need
Danner leather conditioner
Rag or soft cloth
Pair of thick socks
Be patient; stiffer leather may take longer to loosen up. If conditioning and regular wear don't soften the boots, use a boot stretcher to widen tight areas. Boot stretchers, or shoe-shaped pieces of wood, can help break in the boots without making your feet sore. You can also use small blocks of wood or stones as a substitute. Place these items in areas of the boot that need to be stretched more.
Avoid greasy leather conditioners or blends with petroleum, which don't penetrate as deep and can cause the leather to stretch away from the fit of the boot. Although it is sometimes suggested as a softening technique, avoid filling boots with water as a way of expanding the leather. Once water seeps into the seams, the moisture can slacken the shape of the boot and cause rotting.