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How To Stretch Cowboy Boots

How To Stretch Cowboy Boots

Who does not like good quality products, leather cowboy boots in their closets? If you have cowboy boots, then you are aware that they can never be of the correct size. They always seem to have shrunk on their own. If this is your problem too then, you are at the right place.

Don’t worry, here we have compiled for you the best ways to stretch your cowboy boots. You can either spray steam on them or stuff them with ice at home or use a stretcher and boot trees bought from the store. Weigh all the options given below in detail and choose the best one for your boots. 

Why Do Cowboy Boots Need Stretching?

Cowboy boots provide comfort and protection from all kinds of weather and dirt to your feet. The product requires a proper and heavy building of the boots. This heavy building of the leather makes the boots a little stiff to use when brand new and need custom adjustment.


Otherwise, also, there can be some more reasons why your boots require stretching.

Brand Difference

There are various cowboy boots manufacturers around the world. Many premium manufacturers protect their trade secrets as a part of their legacy. This kind of protectionism within the industry causes differences in sizes among the brands. So, trying the same show size of every brand might not be the trick for buying cowboy boots.

Online Shopping

Although online shopping is very convenient, it has some substantial drawbacks. There is a high possibility of buying the wrong fit. It is not possible to generalize a size for everyone due to variations in the shapes and formation of even similar feet. Cowboy boots require a perfect fit which, similarly, cannot be generalized.

Shrinking Leather

Sometimes, leathers tend to shrink when exposed to heat. Leather might also shrink when boots are not used for a long time and are left unattended. In such cases, even used boots might need stretching over time.

Ways To Stretch Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are fabricated of cowhide leather. Some luxury boots use alligator or snake leather too. Knowing the type of leather used in your boot is necessary to understand the problem and find a solution. Leather is an organic material, so, if done perfectly, good quality leathers are not very difficult to stretch.


DIY Solutions

These are some solutions you can try at home with minimal cost and no specially bought equipment.


  • Steam the instep of the Boots

The first easy solution is to spray the instep of the boots with steam. You can use a steamer or a kettle to direct spray steam inside the boot. Steaming for 20 seconds should be enough to soften the leather.

After checking that the leather relatively softer, put on your boots, you can either use plastic or a pair of socks to avoid the feeling of wetness. Keep wearing them till they feel dry, as this will help the boots take shape in your feet better.

You might need to repeat the trick multiple times to fit boots perfectly, but it is an easy trick. However, you need to make sure that moisture does not harm the leather of the boots as it might reduce the life and shine of the leather.


  • Double layers of Socks

Another effective but relatively slow method is the double socks method. You can wear two pairs of socks and then wear your boots to put pressure on the boundaries. The extra layer of socks will try to make space inside the boot.

This trick is very slow and might need multiple applications. This might also make using the boots even more difficult for some time but is pretty effective when coupled with patience. It causes the least harm to the boots during the process.

It is better to try this out when the weather is a little warm, and the leather stretches more.


  • Submerging Boots in Water

This method involves submerging the boots in a tub or bucket full of lukewarm water. Hold the boot in a manner to not let any water get inside the boot. When the instep feels a little wet-down remove the boot from water.

Wear the wet boot with socks or plastic on for some time till they dry up a little. Then remove them and let them dry completely on their own. Remember not to dry them using heat as the boot might shrink again; let them dry naturally. 

This trick, although, time-test can prove to be a very dangerous trick for the boot. Soaking the cowboy boot in water for so long might harm the leather when it dries up. 


  1. Store-Bought Solutions

Many accessories also help stretch your boots and are easily available at your nearest boot stores.


  • Boot Stretching Kit

A Boot stretching kit includes a spray and a stretcher. You need to spray inside of the boot well before stretching. Then insert the stretcher and turn the knob in one direction according to the required stretching.

Eight hours after the stretching, turn the knob back and remove the stretcher. If the boots are not properly stretched, repeat the process. 

These stretchers are generally expensive but are an investment for cowboy boot lovers. Stretchers can also serve the purpose of stretching the calves if required.


  • Boot Trees

Boot trees are foot-shaped, wooden soles. When the cowboy boots are left unused for long periods, they might lose their shape. Boot trees help maintain their shape in such situations.

Simply insert boot trees in each of your boots before you lock them in your closet. They absorb the moisture, if any, and protect your boots. 


  • Rubbing Alcohol

It is a very unconventional method but works for some people. Instead of soaking in water, some people prefer rubbing alcohol inside the boots to stretch them. Similar to the submerging process, wear the boot for some hours after rubbing alcohol, and they will adjust to your feet.

This may not be a very safe method as alcohol might cause irreversible damage to the leather in the boots. Wearing alcohol-rubbed boots may also irritate the feet.

Final Words

Not just when new, your cowboy boots might need stretching even after some time of use. They might shrink, lose shape, or your feet might outgrow them. These techniques are some of the most used techniques; you Cowboys and Cowgirls need to keep them in mind.