I currently work in the RAF and I found it took quite a while to 'soften them up' around about a month but other than they should be fine. I found that wearing them nearly always (unless you can't) helps soften them.
Hope this helps?
My mum used to put rubbing alcohol on leather shoes to allow them to stretch a bit. No idea how effective it is, or if it ruins the leather or whatever. Can you not just wear hiking socks (the anti-blister ones) until the boots have softened through use?
Don't worry Gents, You will not be doing any prolonged running immediately in your boots at Halton. Plus you'll be wearing them and polishing them every day so will have ample time to adapt to your feet.
If you keep getting blisters maybe they are the wrong size. Even if you try new boots on they are so stiff it is tricky to tell if you have exactly the right size until you have worn them a few times. I just got a new pair of boots from stores - exactly the same size as my old ones which fitted perfectly but they aren't fitting too well even after a few wears.
Yeah, I suggest a thin but tight pair of socks, with a thick pair of socks over the outside. The thick socks give you that extra padding over uneven terrain and to stop your feet rubbing inside, whilst the thin socks keep your feet dry and provide a nice slippy layer to stop the socks rubbing on them in turn.
And just walk. Everywhere
You'll be getting blisters partly because your feet are jolting and rubbing inside your boots when you run, so taking it slower or wearing bulky socks to tighten everything up will help.
I've been through Halton fairly recently (in the last couple of years) and take advice from Nancy Sinatra. Those boots are made for walking. Through Halton you will do some boot walks, but you will not be running for any real length of time in them.
I wouldn't wear two pairs of socks with boots. They don't stop blisters, they are just something else to rub and blister your feet. A good solution is Zinc Oxide tape over the area that gets blistered. NOT, for the love of god, on any pre formed blisters. This provides a surface for the boot to rub against without actually rubbing the skin of your foot.
I've never heard of footwear 'pinching your heel' - surely they would pinch your toes as the heel just pushes against your heel bone? As for getting blisters - blisters are only caused through movement, so they were moving against your foot.
Sorbothane insoles are very good and quite high volume. They might be worth investigating.