Nicks Builder Pro Boots Break-in Log

Discussion in 'The Haberdashery' started by OldSaw, May 25, 2019.

    I started sharing about my new arrival of a pair of Nicks Builder Pro boots in a thread by @eelhc and decided I should start a new thread to document the lengthy breaking in process.

    Here’s a few pics:

  1. Following.
  2. Since my self appointed work uniform is a pair of Duluth Trading Company Firehose pants, I decided to get the walnut brown to go with that look. Also got the Honey Vibram sole and composite toe.

    I am a self employed flatbed truck driver and need good work boots with safety toes. I frequently load in rough, dirty, muddy environments. I have been lusting after a pair of Nicks for years. The straw that broke the camel’s back was my most recent purchase of Danner boots that are incredibly and horrifically stinky as well as not even lasting six months before the sole cracked.

    The whole fit process was an obstacle that also held me back. Finally I had my wife help me do all the measurements and sent it in. They sent me a try on pair. Then I submitted the fit feedback form. After that a representative called me to confirm the fit results. Finally, the boots arrived this week. All in all, it was almost a two month process from start to finish.

    I have never had a pair of stock boots fit me properly, including a couple pairs of Foot-So-Port boots that I had about thirty years ago (they were great fitting in the foot but the uppers didn’t fit my skinny shins very well). So Nicks made me a pair with custom uppers that don’t overlap when I lace them up. That was a $75 option that I am very thankful for.

    I prefer the look of smooth leather, but opted for the rough out style after noticing that my work gloves with rough out finish were outlasting my smooth gloves by at least 4:1. I go through a lot of gloves winding up four inch nylon straps.

    I’ll close this post here and subsequent posts will be about the break-in period.

    Thanks for reading.

    Edit: Added extra information in first paragraph.
  3. I need to say this before I forget. Opening the box and getting a good whiff of new leather brought back memories of my uncle’s shoe store from my childhood. I absolutely love the smell!

    The break-in schedule recommends to only walk in them for twenty minutes the first day. GOOD SUGGESTION!

    Just getting them laced up was a bit of a task with the seven foot long leather laces. As you can see in the pictures in the OP, it looks like I installed the false tongues incorrectly. I figured it out the next day and they nest in there better now.

    Once I got them laced, I donned some clean socks and tried them on. The fit was perfect, albeit stiff, and there is a nice gap in the uppers that won’t overlap as they stretch and wear in. I am so happy about this, as anyone who has struggled to get a good fit can attest.

    Now the walk. I must say it was pretty clumsy at first, due to the stiffness, not the fit. I looked like a drunken Boris Karloff walking up and down the block at half past midnight (because that was the first time I had available). They were very stiff and a little painful. I probably had the uppers laced a little too tightly.

    The clumsiness was not due to poor fit or design like other boots that I have tried. Thinking I could find a shortcut, I have tried on many stock logger style boots over the years and several were simply hazardous to be in, as the heel placement wasn’t quite right and they caused me to stumble.

    Aside from the stiffness, the first walk was pretty uneventful and even a little anticlimactic. At the end of the walk I took them off and went to bed. The next day I did the second walk, which I will cover in another post.
  4. The second wearing was yesterday and it went more smoothly than the first. I drove my wife to an event and then I went shopping, not something I normally do, but I thought it would be easier to keep my mind off the boots with all the distractions. I went to a Shopko store to see if there were any good “going out of business” deals, there weren’t.

    While pushing a shopping cart, I realized that the cart handle was awkwardly out of reach, and not just because the heel was higher than my old boots, but because I was walking more erect with better posture. It wasn’t because I was trying to either. I just noticed that I was naturally carrying myself better. Once I was aware of this I was amazed at how much better I felt, especially since I’ve struggled with my posture since childhood.

    The stiffness was still present, but I no longer walked like a monster in ski boots. Driving was a little awkward because the stiffness desensitized my touch on the throttle. Braking was not an issue because lifting my foot and pushing on the pedal did not require delicacy and the brake pedal gave stronger feedback.

    When I got home, I reluctantly took them off. Even though my feet longed to be free I enjoyed having such well crafted boots surrounding them.

    I think I’ll post a few pics of my last boots in my next post before I share my third wearing, besides, I’m still wearing the Nicks.
  5. My most recent boots before the Nicks are a pair of Danner Dry waterproof boots. They’re not so waterproof now that the soles have cracked after just a few months. At approximately $150 I expected them to last at least a year like the Timberland Pros before that.

    I bought the Danners because they came in a narrow size and were a good fit. The Timberlands held up much better, but they they were a sloppier fit. I think the left one cracked first and more severely due to operating the clutch in my Kenworth.

    Due the the heavy use of synthetic materials and a removable insole in the Danner Boots they trapped a lot of moisture and created the nastiest odor of any foot wear that I have ever owned. The best thing about the Danners is that they were the catalyst that finally pushed me over the edge to buy the Nicks.

  6. Dennis... Curious to know if you felt the weight distribution almost immediately.

    My Nicks are my first high heel boot. While they were painfully snug when new, the one thing I noticed immediately is how evenly my weight was distributed through my foot and how there was less pressure/stress on my lower back.
  7. I’m not sure how to describe it. The motion of my feet while walking feels very stable. Other logger heel boots that I’ve tried in shoe stores felt unstable, like I was on stilts. I’m not sure what the difference is. Perhaps a better fit, better build, better heel placement, better design, etc.

    So if that’s what you mean, then yes.

    The high arch is still taking a little getting used to. Especially on the outside of my foot. We talked about this during my fit interview, so I’m trusting that it will wear in just fine.

    The lower back thing that you mentioned is probably the same thing that I experienced with my improved posture while standing and walking. I’m just not slouching like I used to, at least enough that I’ve taken notice.
  8. I'm so glad I'm following this!
  9. Today is day three. I wore them for a few hours around the house, mostly binge watching a program with my wife. Then we went to my stepdaughter’s and did some dog walking for just a little over twenty minutes. Going up and down stairs is getting a little easier. They’re still stiff and a little painful on the top of my feet, outside of arch, and shins.

    The above mentioned “hotspots,” as they are referred to, began as nearly unbearable during the first twenty minute walk. They have lessened to nearly tolerable on this third day. They suggest spraying the hotspots with a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water if needed. I might give this a try.

    Here’s some pics from today.
    The false tongues are looking better and the uppers are fairly even all the way up.
    Pants were rolled up just for the picture, as I prefer to have the cuff rest on my shoes/boots.
  10. Great thread!! Thanks! :a14::a14:
  11. Thanks, I’m glad someone is enjoying it.
  12. Gonna try 2-1-3 lacing today.
  13. I'm sorry that you have to suffer to break in your new boots. Sounds like quite an ordeal.
  14. Not much walking, but have had them on my feet all day. Drove two hours to my parents’ and spent the day hanging out with family. Two hours in the car back home and then went to my semi truck to move things from my old truck to my new truck.

    I wanted to get a good long walk in, but spent most of the day standing around and sitting on lawn chairs. Got a good bit of sunburn on my face. Didn’t make it to the store for a spray bottle either.

    Tomorrow I’ll be heading out back on the road and putting them to work. I tossed my Georgia Boot Wellington’s into the truck as backup, the Danners don’t even deserve to play second fiddle. I hope I don’t need them since wellies really aren’t the right boots for climbing on logs, lumber, and rough terrain.
  15. Awesome thread. Loving the color combo and honey soles. Any pair of boots worth wearing is gonna have a break in!

    Sorry to hear about Danner. Was interested in those, as well, until folks started saying they started to see a big decline in quality.
  16. cleanshaved

    cleanshaved Moderator

    They look like a great pair of boots. A good heavy grade leather boot is going to take a bit of breaking in but will fit like a glove when done.
  17. Got a spray bottle and some 50/50 rubbing alcohol. Wow, what a difference. Almost feels like cheating. They still have a way to go, but spraying the hot spots really helped.

    There wasn’t really much walking activity today, mostly driving. I got to the truck, crawled underneath and did a little greasing, finished my pretrip inspection, and drove. After a couple of hours I stopped and topped up the tanks with 195 gallons of fuel. Got some dinner at Wendy’s and drove some more. When I got to my customer I unstrapped the load and now I’m in the bunk for the night.

    I tromped around in a little mud while unstrapping. Then I jumped up on the logs for a quick pic. After that I blew most of the dirt and mud off with an air nozzle. I know they’re going to get banged up, but I’m trying to make them last as long as possible. I think I need to get a soft scrub brush to gently clean them when the mud is really bad.

    Edit: I have abandoned the 2-1-3 lacing, as I didn’t notice a difference. So back to regular quick lacing.
  18. I fell asleep before I could log in yesterday. The boots were on my feet from 6ish in the morning until 9 at night with the usual hotspots making themselves known. I thought they felt a little loose toward the end of the day, so I tightened the laces and the last two hours were fairly uncomfortable.

    Here’s something that I really like. A pull loop that actually works. I’ve never understood why a boot manufacturer would trouble themselves to install a loop if it was so tiny that even a small child couldn’t get a finger through it. If you’re going to cut corners on the material so much that it renders it useless, then why even bother at all?!
  19. Got pics from phone to iPad last night and then fell asleep. It was a busy day.

    Also a muddy day. Picked up a load of logs in a muddy log yard. Then delivered them to another muddy log yard. With my old “waterproof” boots, my feet would have been completely wet due to the cracked soles.

    I had the Nicks on my feet from 5 AM until nearly 11:30 PM when I finished eating dinner at the Petro truck stop in Portage, Wisconsin. The progress seems minuscule from day to day, but to go 18 hours on day one would have been torture. I’m glad I decided to jot these notes down.

    I could feel the left boot getting a little sloppy toward the end of the day, so I re-cinched the laces and it felt good again. I think this may have more to do with the laces stretching than the boots. I guess the leather laces need breaking in too.


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