How to Stretch Leather Boots?

In ancient times, leather boots were a representation of ruling power where emperors wore them to allow a significant distinction of their royalty from the majority of the population who went barefoot.

However, with time things changed, and boots are now a unique symbol of fashion. No matter the design, boots always look classic. A study even shows that 76% of women admit to finding a man who wears casual boots on the first date more attractive.

You, therefore, realize the power of owning a pair of leather boots. Nothing says fall like a pair of leather boots that complement every outfit you own.

New leather boots not only look gorgeous from a distance but also are a perfect representation of one’s personality, style, and purpose. However, you can imagine the shock horror you get when you wear new boots and feel a little pinch, especially if they’re the correct size. 

It, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the boot’s a throw as there are several actions you can take to stretch the boot to fit you perfectly. For the perfect fit, especially for individuals with wide feet, your toes should have no trouble when fitting in, with the length and width of the feet being no exception.

The best way to stretch a boot, therefore, depends on the troubled area and the method you choose to use.

Here are several ways to enlighten you on how to stretch your new boots for that perfect fit.

1. Use Boot and Calf Stretcher

Calf Stretcher

Similar to a shoe stretcher, a boot stretcher has a more extended handle to help you reach the full length of the sole of your boot. There are various types of stretchers, depending on the extent the shoes need stretching.

If the boots are too narrow, then use a 1-way stretcher as it makes the soles wider. To lengthen and widen your boots, use a FootFitter Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher; this is the best option if your toes or heels are consistently getting pinched or blistered by the boots.

Either way, you can get a boot-calf stretcher to widen the calves of the leather boots. A boot-calf stretcher is a combination of a 1- or -2-way stretcher and is the perfect tool to adjust the fit of the entire leather boot at once.

All these tools work great for both hiking boots, slip-on, or zip-up boots. If the instep of your boot is too tight, you can buy a stretcher that specifically targets that area.

To get the stretcher into the boot correctly, you’ll need to insert it while it’s still unexpanded. Then slide it into the boot so that the tips of the toes fit snuggly into the end of your boot. You can then leave the boot stretcher in place overnight for more than 6 hours. If left for a shorter time, there won’t be much of an effect.

2. Wear Thick Socks

Wear Thick Socks

If your new boots are a bit tight or happen to pinch your toes, you can wear thick socks to break into them and stretch the leather. Wear one or two pairs of thick socks or even more and then put on your boots and walk around with them for half an hour at a time.

You can repeat the method for four to five days to effectively break in and stretch the boots. After that period, they should be able to break in and fit perfectly. However, for sweaty feet, avoid wearing socks that are too thick.

It’s recommendable to carry out this process while at home to be able to take off the boots after half an hour or so. It’s a way of ensuring that the extra socks don’t have to exert pressure on your feet throughout the day, thus reducing breathability and making you uncomfortable.

3. Use a Leather-stretching Spray

Use a Leather-stretching Spray

Another method you can use to stretch your leather boot is by using a leather stretching spray while wearing them for a custom fit.

Spray the inside of the boot instead of the outside to prevent them from discoloring. Spraying the inside maintains and keeps your leather boot in good condition. While the boots are still wet from the spray, put them on to stretch them to fit your foot.

4. Spray a Mixture of Alcohol and Water

Spray a Mixture of Alcohol and Water

One of the most convenient methods is to spray the boot with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. You can use this method to stretch the entire boot; however, it works best for tight calves. Mix each liquid in a 1:1 ratio in a clean spray bottle. Then spray the inside of the boot and put them on until they’re completely dry.

To effectively stretch the boots, you can repeat this method as often as you need. If you do not want to wear the boots when they’re still wet, use a calf stretcher together with the spray to achieve the desired results.

5. Fill Them With Materials

Fill Them With Materials

Another method recommendable for stretching leather boots is through filling the cavity of the shoes with materials such as rolled-up towels, newspapers, or any other materials that cause the leather to expand.

Fill the boot from the toes to the top, then leave them overnight or until when you want to wear them. This method works perfectly for people with wide or flat feet that need extra space in the toe area.

If your feet are wide and you are looking for suitable shoes, Nike Men's Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer is a great pick. It offers enough toe space and is lightweight so that you can move around comfortably.

Despite the method being a slow one when compared to other methods such as using heat or alcohol, it gently stretches the boot over time.

6. Add Some Heat

This method involves wearing the boots and reshaping the leather with a hairdryer. It's advisable to use the method only when your boots are of genuine leather. Avoid using it if your boots are plastic as the chances of it melting are very high.

To stretch your boot, cover your feet with a thick pair of socks and then put on the boot. Then blow hot air into the boot using a hairdryer for three to five minutes. Do not heat the boot for a longer time than that or use excess heat to avoid damaging the leather.

When you heat the shoe, it relaxes the leather hence reshaping it to fit the extra bulk provided by the thick pair socks you put on. Repeat the process daily to stretch the boot correctly. The heat can dry out your leather boot. That's why it's advisable to apply a leather conditioner afterward.

With the above steps, you can make your leather boots comfortable for long-distance walks. Also, stretching will make your boots suitable for hiking and other vigorous activities.

If you are looking for the best hiking shoes, you can never go wrong with KEEN Men's Targhee II Hiking Shoe. I have used it for one year, and I love how comfortable, durable, lightweight, and awesome it looks. I would recommend it anyway.

7. Have Them Professionally Stretched

Have Them Professionally Stretched

Many high-end shoe stores provide services like stretching pinching leather boots. After buying your new pair, you can opt to take it to the cobblers as they are highly knowledgeable on stretching boots without negatively affecting the durability of the leather.

Many cobblers offer such services for free if you happen to purchase your boots from their stores. In case you want to buy leather stretchers, these professionals aid you in selecting the best ones that hold the shape of your leather boots and shoes you can wear every day. Skechers Men's Equalizer Persistent Slip-On Sneaker is an example of an everyday shoe that you can wear with any outfit.

8. Use the Freezer Method

Use the Freezer Method

To stretch the boot using this method, take a gallon-sized food plastic bag and fill it about halfway full of water. Make sure you squeeze out any excess air from the bag before sealing it shut to avoid spilling water inside the boot, which could otherwise destroy the insole.

Then insert the bag into the boots in the areas that need stretching. Then place the boots in the freezer and let them sit for at least eight hours.

As the bag freezes, it expands, therefore, stretching the boots. Then make sure to thaw the ice bag before removing it. If you attempt to pull out the frozen bag, it may end up damaging your boots. That’s why it’s advisable to thaw the ice bag for approximately twenty minutes before removing it gently.

Key Considerations When Buying Leather Boots

Before buying any leather boots, there are certain factors that you need to consider;

  • Make sure you get a pair of boots that conform to the shape of your feet. A good pair is one that fits perfectly in terms of width and length. The toes need sufficient space to allow them to move up to 0.5cm due to the roll-through movement when you walk. On the other hand, ensure the heels are firmly supported.
  • Before settling for a particular boot, ensure you take your time without rushing. Make sure you check the inside of the boots to detect any seams that may be uncomfortable or any hardened areas which might restrict the level of comfort when worn.
  • After you find the correct size and width, turn your attention to the softness of the leather and flexibility of the sole. It’s advisable to conduct a “bending” test to test the boot’s flexibility. If you bend the heel and the toe area towards each other and the sole takes a V form, it means that the boot has outstanding versatility.
  • Ensure you try on both boots as the feet are rarely the same. It’s also necessary to consider the time of the day you buy the shoes. It’s recommendable to buy shoes in the evening as your feet will be slightly larger.

Now that you know everything about getting new leather boots and how you can stretch them for the perfect fit, you can confidently buy a new pair of leather boots and rock them!

Robert Hallman

Robert is a sports enthusiast, writer, blogger & chief editor at Sportsly.NET. He hailed from Big Lake, Texas. He also loves to play all types of exotic games, test different kinds of sports gear.

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