Boots are a shoewear staple, for men and women as well as children. But boots also have an incredible history.
The leather boot was first seen in the 11th century.
Cowboy boots are another fashion staple and also have a robust history — starting in 1866, the cowboy boot prevented slipping while riding horses and also protects the feet from water and mud.
Unfortunately, boots also come with an issue even our ancestors weren’t able to fix — breaking in your boots.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid the pain and blisters that come with a fresh pair of boots. Here’s how to break in boots.
Steam the Inside of Your Boots
This method sounds a little odd. However, it’s the most inexpensive way to make any boot a custom-fit boot. The goal is to make any tight areas on the boot softer and more flexible.
But you also don’t want to moisten the boots and ruin the leather.
First, identify the area of the boot that’s the tightest. Using either a garment steamer or a kettle of boiling water, direct the steam to the tight area. Let the steam hit that area for 20 seconds.
Remove the steam and feel the area. If it’s still firm, keep the steam on that area for another 15 seconds.
When the tight area feels softer, slip in your foot. Keep your foot in the shoe until the shoe dries. This helps the boot conform to your foot and ankle. If the boot is too hot, let the boot cool off before inserting your foot.
It’s also recommended you condition the leather after you break it in. Be sure to only use a leather-approved conditioner.
The only thing to keep in mind is ruining the leather. The steam can damage the leather, fading and drying out the boot.
Wear Your Boots With Two Pairs of Sock
This is the timeless method that helps break in your boots at virtually no cost.
The method is easy — put on two pairs of socks and wear your boots. The extra socks apply pressure so the leather stretches out.
There’s one main issue with this method — it can be extremely painful.
If your socks are too thick, you can even get blisters on your feet. This is why it’s best to only use this method if you’re only stretching out your boots a little bit or just want a little bit of wiggle room for your feet.
Freeze a Bag of Water in the Boots
While heat is mainly used to stretch leather, you can get the same results when using ice-cold water.
Water expands when it freezes into ice. This method is effective when you have to expand the toe area. Ice-cold water doesn’t damage the boots.
Keep in mind, this method is time-consuming and may take multiple sessions to achieve a good stretch.
Take a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag and fill it ¾ full of water. You can also opt for half full.
Seal the bag shut and insert it into the boot, pushing the bag down as close to the toe as possible. Leave the boot in the freezer for at least eight hours.
Let the boot thaw before removing the bag and trying the boot on.
Submerge the Boots in Water
If you want to try the previous method but with quicker results, water helps loosen leather fibers. It’s effective but it’s also drastic. Submerging leather can result in fading and drying out.
Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water. Lukewarm water is warm enough to loosen the fibers without damaging them. Submerge your boot foot-part down, preventing significant water from entering the inside.
Place your hand into the insoles to prevent the boot from floating. When the insoles get wet, pull the boot out of the water.
Slip-on a pair of socks and put on the boots. If the wet boot is too uncomfortable and awkward, try placing a plastic bag over your feet. Wear the boots until they’re dry. Make sure you condition the leather once they’re dry.
This method is similar to the submersion method, except you use less water. This not only prevents shoe damage but you’re not walking around in soaking wet boots for hours.
Fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water. Spray water on the inside and outside of the boot, or anywhere that feels too tight. Slip your foot in and wear the boot for a few hours. After the boot is stretched out, apply a leather conditioner.
Use a Boot Stretcher
If none of these methods work, there are plenty of boot stretchers on the market. You place the stretcher in, let them sit for a few hours, depending on the amount of stretching you need.
Stretchers are the best when you need the toe box widened; if it’s too flat, you’ll need to find a specialty stretcher.
To use the stretcher, apply shoe stretch spray on the inside of the boot to soften the leather. Insert the toe block into the boot, making sure to get the toe block in as far as you can.
Activate the widening or heightening handle.
Make sure you turn the handle a few times for a good stretch. Set the desired settings and let the stretcher sit inside your boot. Keep the stretcher in for six hours if you want a half-inch stretch.
When removing the stretcher, make sure you deactivate the handle so the stretcher is at normal width or height. Remove the stretcher slowly.
How to Break in Boots: Focus on Buying Quality Boots
Boots are a timeless shoewear staple. But breaking in a new pair of boots can be difficult. Now that you know how to break in boots, you can focus on buying the highest quality boots.
Are you looking for western wear? We sell western clothing for men, women, children, and even matching clothes for the whole family. Shop at our store.