My tongue is riding over to one side!

10:23 p.m. on March 16, 2009 (EDT)
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No not the tongue in my mouth, well occasionally on steep climbs late in the day.

I mean the tongue in my boots of course.

The tongues in all my boots drift towards the outside of the boot as I break them in. They seem to naturally fill in the area of my boot that has the most space, I have in the past worried about this because people told me I should. But I swear, I get a much better fit just letting the tongue go where it wants to, within reason. I plan on sticking with what works for me, but would like opinions.

One of my hiking buddies obsesses about the position of my boot tongue on my backpacking boots, telling me I should avoid this, keep the tongue straight while breaking in boots, and on and on.

He recently gave me an article he printed & two large buttons, he suggested I sew them to the outside top center of my boot tongue and tie my laces on the button to hold the tongue straight up, he lifts up his pants and low and behold, two large buttons!

I just want to know, if you strike a fellow hiker in the woods does it make a sound? (just joking of course)

Anyhow, thoughts?

Also, does anyone else use an alcohol water mixture (50/50) for breaking in boots?

12:22 a.m. on March 17, 2009 (EDT)
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Most good boots these days are already waterproofed as well as the leather being soft and supple. So the idea of a alcohol & water mix will just deteriorate to waterproofing and actually make the leather hard & stiff when it drys. Think about it wash your hands with alcohol for a day or two and look at you skin on your hands your boots will be the same way. Boots are much more flexible1 than they were in years past so not as much brake-in period wont take as long. I would recommend what ever the manufacture recommends to re-waterproof there product. Most of the time it will be a silicone based liquid or spray and yes I know most of the have alcohol in the too but they also has other ingredient's as well so it will not have the same effect.

12:25 a.m. on March 17, 2009 (EDT)
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O yea I never had herd of the button trick before but it does sound like a neat idea a bit obsessive but never the less a neat idea ill have to remember that because I have had boots that the tongue would shift like that too.

6:49 a.m. on March 17, 2009 (EDT)
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Is it a boot thing, or a foot thing? I've had boots that did this, and I've had boots that didn't. One pair did it on the right foot and the left stayed perfectly centered. Of the ones that did ride over, I never seemed to have a problem with my feet while wearing them and, incidentally, wore the boots until the soles were smooth. It didn't seem to contribute to premature wear either.

5:25 p.m. on March 17, 2009 (EDT)
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Yeah, I was wondering if all your hiking footwear did this, regardless of brand and model, or just certain types or models.

I personally wouldn't add anything -- even water -- to speed up break-in time (I know someone will now say how they stand in water with their boots and let them dry for a speedy break-in.) I believe it's not a good idea to degrade the boot and hasten its lifespan.

If it was my boot's tongue doing this, I'd try to keep the tongue reasonably straight, but if everything fit and didn't cause problems, I probably wouldn't sweat it. If you do use the buttons, let us know how it works out though!

7:09 p.m. on March 17, 2009 (EDT)
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What ever happened to lace loops sewn on the tongues of boots? Running shoes still have them, and some trail shoes, but you very rarely see them on "Boots" any more.

10:45 p.m. on March 17, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks guys,

All my boots tend to do this. When standing straight up, feet parallel, proper posture etc. there seems to be space between my legs / ankles towards the outside front of the boots, I think the tongue naturally drifts there since there is more room and/or something about my stride causes this.

Anyhow, I have no fit problems due to this, I actually think I have a better fit by letting the tongue fill this space between my leg and the boot side.

My backpacking boots are FGL with welted soles (Alicosport from Italy)

I would put them on the same level as the best Scarpas or Asolo FGL backpacking boots.

I really like them a lot, quite stiff but great rocker & great heel lock, ample toe box and so forth. Good workmanship for the money. They did not come waterproofed & do not have goretex. A good fit for me since I have hobbit like feet, but not as thick.

I was just wondering if there was something to this that I was overlooking, and why some people seem to feel as if you are breaking in the boots wrong if you let the tongue drift. Maybe many people get a bad fit if they DO let the tongue drift over to one side? Or is this somehow bad for the boot in a way I'm not aware of?

I do not intend to try the buttons, maybe the most I would do is stitch on a lace loop as f_klock mentioned.

As far as the alcohol / water mixture,this was something mentioned in the article given to me along with the button idea. You are supposedly to spray the mixture on ( before any waterproofing is applied) during break in, and then rub or stretch the leather in tight spots while hiking with the boots laced real tight. Doesn't sound like fun to me, but then I'm not a boot fitter either. During break in they recommend just keeping the boots clean with saddle soap and then waterproof with Obenauf's when broken in. The info came from a boot site on the internet.

3:59 a.m. on March 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I was thinking (I know I know bad idea) When I was in the military I had 2 pair of cheap azz issued speed-lacers that 1 pair was fine and the other pair the right boot tongue kept falling off to the side no matter how meany times I put it straight up.

6:37 p.m. on March 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Their your boots on your feet, wear them whatever way is the most comfortable for you! I can see why some people may think it's not a good idea to allow it to shift, the tongue was probably sewn to the boot in the straight up position so they may feel thats the way it should be. I was also thinking about it a bit and was wondering if your foot remains dry? I only ask because sometimes the tongue gusset is not as well waterproofed as as the exterior of the boot. And with that tongue shifted does water tend to get it? I've got to imagine the tongue shifts because your foot doesn't match the "last" that was used to form the shape of your boot. As a result the top of your foot pushes on the tongue and that pressures it move to an area with less pressure, the side of you foot. If you care,which I doubt you do, I wear Scarpa SL M3 everytime I go into the woods, I love them. If your comfortable and happy I'd say thats all that matters

8:38 p.m. on March 19, 2009 (EDT)
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The alcohol and water was to be applied internally as you break-in a pair of ill-fitting boots. As your boots fit properly, you don't require this treatment.

9:20 p.m. on March 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Which branch were you in?



thanks for your reply, I have so far stayed dry. The Alico's have a good gusset although it is sewn in and will have to be stitch sealed, the rest of the boot is stitch free except for the heel seam and welting. I prefer welted soles, I seem to be rough on glued on soles.

I do have a pair of Scarpas, and do like them, but they have many miles and have seen better days, same with my Vasque Sundowners I used for hiking. I seem to get a good fit with the Alico's, heel lock is good, toe box is ample, and no hot spots after some adjustments internally. This is a really stiff solid boot with a good rocker, which I like.


Thanks for the info on the alcohol / water mixture. The article did not say ( I'm pretty sure ) it was to be applied to the inside, or maybe I did not get the full article. It was printed by a friend and given to me.

June 19, 2018
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