1. Wear your new boots around the house. It’s important for them to grow attached to you.
2. Bring the boots with you on errands around the neighborhood. Be sure to embarrass the boots by bragging about how comfortable they are to your friends, bank teller and grocery store bag boy.
3. Tuck the boots in at night as snugly as they fit your feet and read them their favorite bedtime story, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.
4. Uh oh! Your hiking boots drew a naughty picture involving a donkey, a loaf of bread and your husband on the wall! It’s important to teach them discipline so tell them to “take a hike” to their room!
5. Send your hiking boots to 12 years of schooling, so that they can learn more about the world and grow into their bootiness.
6. When your boots come home from school crying because they were being bullied, acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that all the other boots are just jealous of their arch and heel support.
7. When your hiking boots won’t talk to you, sit in their room listening to Elliott Smith all day and start giving you blisters, foster trust by snooping through their things to find out what’s really going on.
8. If your hiking boots found you going through their journal and reading about all the drama with their best friend/boyfriend, Kyle, and now they’re not talking to you, it’s probably time to take them to a fit specialist at your local sporting shop.
9. Take your hiking boots to Frank Franken, footwear therapist, where you can have a monthslong dialogue about reducing friction, establishing proper lacing boundaries, and accepting your hiking boots’ confusion around their sexual orientation.
10. After 12 long years the day has finally arrived: Graduation Day! Celebrate your hiking boots’ entering boothood with friends and family and clean any stray dust or dirt with a solution of dish soap and warm water to make sure they look their best!
11. Explain to your hiking boots that “Interpretive Trail Hiking” won’t have a steady paycheck and encourage them to instead major in “Pre-Backpacking” at Bootiversity.
12. Strongly suggest that your hiking boots take a 9-to-5 job at their friends’ dad’s leather company on Wall Street after leaving Bootiversity so that they can at least have a job with benefits.
13. Help your hiking boots move back home after the day-in, day-out monotony of an office job has broken their spirit so thoroughly that they believe the only way they could ever be happy again is if they completely leave the life and community they’ve built behind to return to a simpler way of life away from the city because the last time they truly felt happiness was when they were young and felt like their dreams were limitless and anything was possible, before they learned what student debt was, or what it was like to live with roommates, or what it meant to live on the opposite end of the country from their family, or what it truly feels like to give up on something they’ve wanted their entire life in exchange for stability; back to a time when they took for granted the ability to walk outside and see grass and trees and not smell trash all the time and not feel like the steel and concrete walls of the city were closing in on them with every step they took, telling them to “be someone, do something” of consequence or to just vanish back into the woods already.
14. Time to hit the trail! The best way to break in new hiking boots is taking them out into the wilderness!