We are very frequently asked “How do I stretch out leather cowboy boots?” It seems one of the toughest cowboy boot fit issues pertains to boots that are too tight. Unfortunately, this probably means you’ve ordered the wrong size of cowboy boots. We’ll get into detail on that in a moment, but first, let’s try to help you stretch your cowboy boots!
The easiest way to stretch cowboy boots is to bring them to our store location or to a professional boot cobbler. There is less risk in damaging your leather boots by taking them to a professional. With greater experience, fancier tools, and the ability to target exactly where your boots are too tight, our experienced store employees and boot cobblers can give you great relief in your too-tight cowboy boots. Stretching specific areas of the boots offers a better boot fit without over stretching the leather boots or stretching an area that does not need it. Our store location provides this service free of charge, but you will likely pay a fee at a boot cobbler.
Boot stretch spray is designed to spray inside of your cowboy boots to quickly offer more room and a better boot fit. It is a fairly inexpensive product that is also easy to use. Be sure to read the label carefully, as not all products are intended for all types of leather! You will see some stretch in the leather of your cowboy boots right away, but you will likely not go up a size in your boots. Boot stretch spray is intended to stretch leather across the top and sides of the foot and also in the shaft of the boot.
Boot stretchers are shoe forms that fit into cowboy boots and can be adjusted to stretch the leather of boots and shoes from heel to toe. Most boot stretchers are intended to only stretch from front to back of the boot, so if you need a little more room across the foot of your boot, you might not receive a proper leather stretch from this method. For best results with a boot stretcher, use this method along with a boot stretch spray that is appropriate for the material of your cowboy boots. Unfortunately, using a boot stretcher will affect how the leather conforms to your natural foot, so you won’t get a perfect fit from this method. Once it’s stretched out, there is no undoing it, so start small.
If you are searching for methods to stretch cowboy boots, you are undoubtedly going to run across information that tells you to saturate your cowboy boots with rubbing alcohol or spray your boots with rubbing alcohol. While some sources will swear by this method, it is risky to use rubbing alcohol on your leather cowboy boots. The alcohol could permanently damage the leather of your boots. Every leather type will react differently to alcohol, and unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is by trying it, and you could end up ruining an expensive pair of boots in the process. We do NOT recommend this method!
Have you heard this method yet? We have, and we even know people who have done this successfully. BUT… just like we mentioned with the rubbing alcohol boot stretch method, this is risky business in stretching leather cowboy boots. The method involves wearing your cowboy boots and soaking them in hot water, usually in the bathtub. You are then supposed to take them off and let them dry away from heat. The problem here is how the leather will react to water. We have seen some badly stained leather boots cross the threshold of our store. Leather boots can get water stains from walking in the rain, trudging through snow, and certainly from being soaked in a hot bath. We do NOT recommend this method for stretching your boots. This is the absolute WORST method! It will either damage the leather, shrink the boots, or make the boots lose their form.
Similar to the method of soaking boots in water, this boot stretch method involves heating your boots, and then walking in them until they are no longer hot. There’s not a lot of risk to the leather with this method of stretching cowboy boots unless you accidentally get the heat source too close to the leather. The absolute best method of heating your boots to stretch the leather is stopping by our store and having an employee provide this service for free! We take great care in properly stretching the leather to conform to your foot. The moist heat of a steamer will make the leather pliable without damaging the leather. If you want to steam your boots at home, you can hold them over a pot of boiling water. Be careful not to get the boots wet or it will damage the leather. Hold them at a distance that is not too hot on your hand.
Some people recommend using a hairdryer to heat the boots. Think of holding a hot hairdryer near your face – the heat makes your skin feel really dry and tight. That’s exactly what it will do to the leather of your boots. Instead, opt for steam that makes the leather soft and flexible. After steaming your boots, put them on and walk around until they have cooled. Place them in a spot away from sun and heat to completely cool. You should notice an immediate improvement in the fit of your cowboy boots.
The very best way to stretch cowboy boots is to break them in! OK, it’s not an immediate fix, but you will notice leather boots will stretch after you’ve worn them more and more. Leather will get “worn in” and conform to the shape of your foot as you break in your cowboy boots. With repeated wearing, your cowboy boots will stretch to fit your foot. You can help speed up the process of breaking in your cowboy boots by wearing thick socks with your boots to put a little more pressure against the leather. Wearing two pairs of boot socks when you first get your boots will apply a gentle pressure to help with the leather stretching process.
Take some steps! Breaking in your boots by walking in them is free, easy, and you can start right now. Walk around in your new cowboy boots and let them stretch out naturally as they get more worn in. The next best method is having your boots steamed by a professional. Our store offers this service for free!
If you are experiencing discomfort even after stretching the boots, you should check to make sure you are wearing the right size cowboy boots. See our boot size tips HERE.
If you are near our store location, we’d love to help you in person. Stop by, and we’ll look at how your boots fit, and our expert team will give you personal advice on the best method for breaking in your specific boots in the exact way that would give you the perfect boot fit.
If you are not near our store, we recommend finding a local boot cobbler to professionally stretch your boots. Ask your friends for references, check the phone book, and ask for a consultation before handing over your prized cowboy boots.
We remind you again to read all labels to make sure the product you use is appropriate for the leather of your cowboy boots.