How to Stretch Cowboy Boots Around the Calf

three pairs of cowboy boots

Leather shoes may need you to break them in. It means to stretch the boots to soften up leather fibers. First fitting in may seem a bit uncomfortable. But that doesn’t really mean you got a new pair of the wrong size. Check this article that reveals several methods of stretching cowboy boots. This will help you to wear your fave footwear for long.

boot calf stretching machine

1. Boot Shaft Stretcher

Using boot stretchers is an easy method to adjust the cowboy boot calves. It requires little skills to accomplish that. This tool is perfect if you need to stretch multiple pairs of boots. Most of the models can stretch the instep as well.

A boot stretcher can give you half-inch of the extra room in your leather boots. It helps to get rid of painful pressure points. You can stretch the width or length of the boot and widen the boots around the calf. This tool is great for stretching genuine leather cowboy boots.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a boot stretcher:

  1. Check if the shaft plates are closed. If not, turn the handle till it’s done.
  2. A boot stretcher usually comes with a leather stretching spray bottle. Apply it to your new boots.
  3. Put the shaft stretcher into your boot.
  4. Start turning the widening handle. The shaft plates start opening.
  5. Keep the tool inside the boot for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  6. Close the shaft plates with the handle.
  7. Pull the stretcher out of the boot.
  8. Repeat these steps with another boot.

Best Cowboy Boot Shaft Stretcher - FootFitter Shoe Stretcher

The FootFitter Shoe Stretcher is ideal for stretching the cowboy boot shaft and instep. The tool is made of aluminum to last for long. The FootFitter cowboy boot shaft stretcher works well for English, Wester work and riding boots.

leather boot stretching spray

2. Leather Stretching Spray

As mentioned before, there are stretching sprays that help to widen the calves. It’s a budget-friendly solution that is easy to do. This method works well with genuine leather cowboy boots. The spray provides stretching leather boots by softening the fabric. It doesn’t damage the boot calf area and keeps its natural color. The boot dries quickly which is a big plus.

Here’s how to apply a leather stretching spray:

  1. Shake the spray bottle.
  2. Apply to your high boots.
  3. Put your cowboy boots on.
  4. The stretching time takes from a few minutes to a few hours. Read the product’s description before use.
  5. Wear boots to check if your calves and feet feel comfy.

If you wear suede boots, make sure you avoid suede when applying the stretching spray.

Best Shoe Stretch Spray - Bickmore Leather Stretcher Spray

The Bickmore Leather Stretcher Spray is made to stretch your cowboy boots fast. The formula is designed to soften the leather to make your boots more comfortable. Just spray the inside of the area you want to stretch and walk in your boots to stretch the calf.

leather conditioner near boots

3. Leather Conditioner and Water

This method is one of the cheapest ways to stretch leather boots. You just have to buy a leather conditioner for cowboy boots. However, you’ll need to get used to wearing wet boots. This method is not good for synthetic leather cowboy boots.

Follow the following steps to start stretching boots:

  1. Grab a bucket and fill it with water.
  2. Immerse the entire boot in the bucket of water.
  3. Leave the boots there for 10 minutes.
  4. Take the cowboy boots out of the bucket and shake them well. Remove the excess water.
  5. Put them on to set the boots around the calves for a snug fit.
  6. Keep wearing the footwear until the water starts evaporating.
  7. Apply a good leather conditioner.

If you manage to keep the wet boots for long enough, you’ll get a result similar to other methods.

Best Leather Shoe Conditioner - Bickmore Leather Conditioner

The Bickmore Bick 4 Leather Conditioner cleans and polishes your cowboy boots. It’s friendly to other pieces of leather horse tack. The product can be used not only to protect your boots but also to stretch the calves.

4. Contact a Cobbler

A cobbler is a professional who mends shoes. They have special stretching machines to adjust your boots. In this case, you need no effort to stretch your cowboy boots. All you need is to pay for the service. The price ranges from $15 to $100. If you’re looking for a cheap solution, you should consider DIY methods then.

man holding garment steamer

5. Garment Steamer

Steam can handle stretching cowboy boots flawlessly. A garment steamer is a good fit for this method. If there’s no steamer, just use hot water steam. Be careful with this method, as prolonged wetting of the boots makes the leather fade away.

Here’s how to stretch cowboy boots around the calf with steam:

  1. Grab a hot water kettle or a garment steamer.
  2. Apply steam to the cowboy boots around the calves.
  3. Hold it for 20 seconds.
  4. Check the leather. If it’s still not soft enough, hold the steam for another 10-15 seconds.
  5. When the boots are soft enough, put them on.
  6. Keep wearing until the liquid dries out completely.
  7. Take your boots off and apply a leather conditioner to them.

Best Portable Clothes Steamer - Conair Turbo Steamer

The Conair Turbo Extreme Steamer is a portable handheld  clothes steamer. It makes the gear perfect to deal with cowboy boots at any place. The heat-up takes up to 40 seconds, which is a great perk. Two heating settings allow you to set the desired power. 

6. Blow Dryer

That’s another quick remedy that works similar to the steamer.

  1. Turn on the blow dryer.
  2. Direct it to the boot calf area.
  3. Blow for 20 seconds.
  4. Check if the leather starts softening. Blow for another 15 seconds if needed.
  5. Put your cowboy boots on with thick socks and wear them for a few hours.

7. Moisturizing Lotion

This method is good to slip your foot inside the boot. Take your moisturizing lotion and go around the area you want to stretch. Rub the lotion gently till it’s absorbed. Slip your foot in and wear the boots for three hours.

ice bags packed

8. Ice Therapy

Cold is another DIY method to stretch leather boots. Here are the instructions:

  1. Put a shopping bag in a boot and fill it up with water.
  2. Put the cowboy boots with bags in the freezer until the water freezes out. The frozen water bag will stretch cowboy boots around big calves.
  3. Take the boots out of the freezer.
  4. Remove the frozen bags.
  5. Leave the boots for a while until you can put them on.
  6. Wear the boots for a few hours.

9. Plain Water

Use lukewarm water that is neither hot nor cold. Spray the water around the calves to soften leather boots. Don’t overdo it with water. It shouldn’t drip off. Once you feel the material is soft enough, slip your feet in the boots. Wear the cowboy boots for a few hours.

10. Alcohol and Vaseline

  1. Get a cotton pad and apply alcohol to it.
  2. Put some vaseline on it.
  3. Go around the claves with the alcohol-vaseline pad.
  4. Put the cowboy boots on and wear them until they fit snugly.
girl in socks wearing cowboy boots

11. Socks

Soak your socks in warm water and put them on. Start placing your foot inside the cowboy boot. Make it gently and slowly until you’re done. It’s not a pleasant method but it works really well!

Another way to stretch your cowboy boots is to put on a pair or two of thick socks. It will help to stretch the leather out. Wear the boots for a day and you’ll see a result over time.

Best Horse Socks - Imagery Socks

The Imagery Socks offer stunning socks with horse printing. They are made of cotton (65%) and a span material (35%). This makes them stretchy and breathable. There’s a wide range of color options to please your eye.

Stretch Leather Boots Like a Pro

There are multiple ways of stretching riding boots. Some of them require little to no equipment. There’s a boot stretcher specially designed to provide more room in a boot. On the other hand, you can try DIY methods to use improvised means. Anyway, the above methods are great to stretch leather cowboy boots. Find your best solution to provide comfy wear.

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David Garcia

David Garcia

David Garcia is a vivid writer and a big fan of equestrian sports. He founded Horsezz – the blog where David shares his knowledge and experience about horses, tack, equestrian riding equipment, taking care of horses, and other useful guidelines.