A nice pair of hiking boots can last you almost forever, but you need to break them in before you head out on any major excursions. You can ease into the breaking-in process by wearing them while you run quick errands or work around your home. Photo by Andrew Bowden.
If you don't break in your boots before heading out a lengthy hike, your feet are going to hate you. That's why Jeremy Anderberg at The Art of Manliness suggests you wear your boots a little bit every day to break them in before you head out:
You don't want your first venture with them to be on your 16km hike. Start by wearing them while doing chores around the house, running errands, taking walks in the neighbourhood, etc. When your feet hurt in those first few days, take them off, let your feet rest, and put them on again the next day until they hurt again. With a little bit of time, you'll be able to wear them all day without any pain and you'll be ready to take them out on your next adventure.
Even after breaking them in, Anderberg explains there still might be trouble spots, especially on a really long trip. If that's the case, note where those spots are during your walks and add cushioning, lace your boots differently, cut your toenails properly or wear bandages in preparation. You can find more great hiking tips at the link below.
How to Take Care of Your Feet on a Hike or Ruck [The Art of Manliness]