Boot Conditioning and Preparation plays a major role in ensuring your feet are ready for any mission, ruck march, or even a long walk. Feet under the stress of a combat load will become wider, longer and swell approximately 1 – 2 % during forced marches. The best-case scenario to determine if boots actually fit is to go out and run two or three miles with the insoles and socks you will use and wear. Insoles provide relief to the shock generated by heavy loads and should be worn during the early stages of a road march. If desired, the insoles can be removed or replaced with thinner insoles to allow for more comfort when feet swell. Normally, soldiers sign for their boots from a central issue facility or their unit supply and never fit their boots until it is time to wear them, which can result in damaging their feet. Our best advice is to conduct the above mentioned test after you receive the boots and if they DO NOT fit, return them for another pair. Whatever you do, don’t keep the boots if they do not fit.
Leadership Insight: Generally, if you have a good boot fit, you should have a slight amount of room in the front of the boots to wiggle your toes. Width-wise, your boots should feel a little snug (but not tight) and your heel should stay in place while walking and not slide back and forth (which causes blisters). To improve the fit of the boot, try loosening or tightening the laces at different parts of the boot until you get the perfect fit.