Whether cowboy boots are a fashion symbol to you or they remind you of the Wild West, the iconic nature of these boots can’t be overstated. Come fall, they are generally the footwear of choice for a lot of people, and it’s easy to see why. From that glorious tapping sound to the fact that wearing ’em leather boots helps people channel their inner cowboy or cowgirl, what’s not to like? But despite the obvious awesomeness of these boots, not to mention their very practical use, their fitting can be a source of headaches for the owners. The toe area might be too small, or they might be too tight for your calves, or any other part of your leg for that matter. So what do you do, especially when you want to get it done yourself and not have to visit a professional cobbler?
Read on to find out how to stretch cowboy boots at home. It’s easy, actually.
How to Stretch Leather Cowboy Boots at Home
All the methods we will be showing you on how to stretch leather cowboy boots at home are divided into two classifications as listed below;
1) Using Do It Yourself methods to stretch cowboy boots
2) Using tools to stretch your leather cowboy boots at home
These methods will ensure that wearing your boots are easier and more comfortable, and will also make your legs healthier in the long term. This is because the methods prescribed here are geared towards creating more room in your leather cowboy boots for your legs, with a particular focus on your toes and calves. It has been scientifically proven that ill-fitting shoes are more likely to cause cramps in the toe or muscle strains, alongside being a plainly uncomfortable painful wear for you.
Using Do It Yourself Methods to Stretch Cowboy Boots
These methods are quite effective, though they can take a bit of time before they show results. But we think, and know you agree with us that a bit of time is a little price to pay for having your leather cowboy boots fit you like a glove. And besides, these boot stretching are not just to create some free space in your boots, (though that is certainly a benefit) they also help you boot’s lifespan, and help you derive more enjoyment from wearing your fitted boots. So, let’s dive right in.
Method One: Cook Your Boots
Okay, we do not mean to literarily cook your boots. All we want you to do is to use some steam from either a kettle or a pot to soften the leather material of your boot. This method won’t cost you a penny, and also won’t create a mess for you.
To use this method, direct the steam from a pot of water or a kettle into the inside of your boots and towards the area that needs stretching. Do this for about 15-20 seconds at intervals, and make sure you don’t use the steam on the outside of your boots, as it can damage the material. Also make sure the inside of your leather boot is not saturated, as that could weaken the material and make your boots become even more uncomfortable.
When your boots are sufficiently ‘steamed’, put them on (we recommend a pair of thick socks here) and walk around in them. Your legs will serve as a mold for the warm leather until it conforms to every feature of your feet. If that can’t be done because it’s not convenient, then you can remove them and let them get dried. Just remember not to speed up the drying process so your leather cowboy boots don’t start having cracks on them and get damaged.
Whilst this method may provide you with the sort of fitting that seems made for you, it might also compromise the quality of your boot’s leather, depending on how saturated the boots get. So it is of paramount importance that your boots don’t get saturated.
Method Two: Put on two pairs of thick socks
Another method you can use to stretch your leather cowboy boots is to wear two pairs of socks before you put your boots on. How this works is simple; the increased size of your leg makes the leather material of your boots expand, creating more space for your feet inside it.
This method is best if all you need is a slight increase in the width of your leather boots or the toe boxes. It is also advised that you only wear two, not three pairs of thick socks before putting on your boots, as wearing more than two pairs can lead to cramped toes and nasty blisters. So, make sure you keep the socks count to two, and ensure you use this method when the day is warmer, as the heat will mean that the leather material of your cowboy boot is a lot easier to stretch.
Method Three: Use Ice to Stretch Your Leather Cowboy Boots at Home
Ice? Yes. Water expands when its molecules are frozen, and you can use this little fact to your boot-stretching advantage. There are two ways to do this; either you fill up your boots with a sealed water bag and place them in the freezer or you fill up your boots with a lot of frozen water bags and leave them in a cool place.
If you pick the option of filling your boots with sealed water bags and placing them in the freezer, then that’s great. The only thing with this method is that your boots may not fit into the freezer, so that may make it a bit hard to work. Not to also mention that your boots would be frozen too, and may need a while to warm up when you take them out of the freezer. But a way to combat this is by making sure your cowboy leather boots are taken out of the freezer during the warm time of the day and allowed to warm up naturally. Taking it out during such a period would allow it warm up faster without compromising the quality of your leather.
If you pick the option of filling your boots with frozen bags of water and leaving them in a cool place, also great. The only thing is that when the water defrosts, the inside of your boots might become saturated and that would spell doom for your leather, depending on the quality.
What you can do to combat this is to insert insoles into your boots so water won’t get to the soles of your boots. Overall, this is probably not a better option than the first one, but who knows, it might work for you.
Method Four: Use a Lot of Sock Balls to Stretch Your Boots
This is a better alternative to using frozen ice packs, but only if you have a lot of socks. What you do is to roll up your thick socks into balls and stuff as many as you have into your leather cowboy boots. You then leave them in for upwards of 7 hours and allow them to help you stretch your leather cowboy boots.
Method Five: Use Hot Air
It is a known fact that heat expands things, and this fact can also be used to stretch your leather cowboy boots, just like using the expansion of water when frozen to stretch your boots.
What you need to do here is that you wear a pair or two of thick socks and then put your boots on. Get a dryer and blast your boots with hot air for the next 3-5 minutes, moving it about to reach all the areas you want to stretch. As the hot air blows, (keep the dial on medium) the leather material of your boots will be more loosened and make stretching your leather cowboy boots a lot easier.
Using Tools to Stretch Your Leather Cowboy Boots at Home
These methods are best when you don’t want to go through the hassles of using the various DIY methods we’ve explained above. Also, these methods help you stretch your boots a lot more accurately and in leaser time, though you do have to invest in the upfront cost of the tools we’ll be mentioning.
Method One: Use stretchers
Stretchers are tools used to make stretching your boots a lot easier. For your leather cowboy boots, you’ll need a boot stretcher and also a calf stretcher. Using these two tools will ensure as close to a uniform stretch of your leather cowboy boots as possible.
If you have problems with zipping up your ankle-length boots past your calves, then this is for you. The same goes if it’s the width of your soles that need stretching, or your toe boxes. Get a boot stretcher to stretch your leather boots. What you do is to insert the stretcher into the boots and leave them there for about 4-5 hours. Check to see if the desired level of stretch is reached.
Method Two: Make use of Stretching Liquid or Spray
You can use these to soften the leather material of your cowboy boots, allowing you to wear them easily and stretch them.
Will these Methods Really Help to Stretch My Leather Cowboy Boots?
You bet. All you have to do is pick the desired method and apply it, and you’ll be getting stretched and ultimately more comfortable boots in no time.