From The Guest Room is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Cowboy Boots Tight Instep – 11 Ways To Fix It

There are many issues surrounding cowboy boots, in which the fit of cowboy boots is always the matter. That’s understandable since cowboy boots don’t have laces.

As for the fit of cowboy boots, the position which affects most is the instep. A lot of people can’t wear cowboy boots due to the instep of the boots not fitting well.

For the perfect cowboy boot experience, the instep needs to fit snugly.

For instance, if the instep is too wide, it can cause heel slippage and affect your gait. But if it is too tight, it will make you uncomfortable and make it hard for you to put on/take off the boots.

Today, we’ll show you how to fix cowboy boots with the instep that is too tight.

Don’t worry, it’s not difficult to stretch the instep of cowboy boots!

We will tell you now!

Cowboy Boots 1

Cowboy Boots Tight Instep – How To Fix It?

When choosing cowboy boots, let’s notice the instep of cowboy boots because it is an important part.

The principle when choosing cowboy boots is that the instep of cowboy boots must not be loose, not tight, but must fit the instep of your foot.

Unlike other shoes or boots, most cowboy boots don’t have shoelaces. So if the instep of the cowboy boot is too tight or too loose, you won’t have your shoelaces to deal with it.

If you choose cowboy boots too tight on the instep, your feet will feel very uncomfortable and painful when wearing boots for a long time.

This can lose the flexibility of the foot or can lead to swelling and soreness in the instep when you take off the cowboy boots.

The most common methods for fixing cowboy boots with tight instep are to stretch them.

There are many different methods to stretch cowboy boots at the instep that we will show you shortly!

Read more: How to Stretch Cowboy Boots at Home?

How do you stretch the instep of a cowboy boot? – 11 ways

There are many different methods to make the instep of cowboy boots stretch, we also include the cobbers’ methods.

They are using the boot stretcher, the boot stretch spray or steam inside cowboy boots.

Or you can also use some other methods such as using boot trees, wearing cowboy boots more often.

We’ll show you these methods right now!

1. Use Boot Instep Stretcher

LUCKFY Shoe Stretcher for Boots Adjustable Shoe Trees Stretching Hiking Working Boots Professional Shoe Stretcher for Women and Men,Largesize
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Vamp Raiser, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, & Riding Boots
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Shaft Stretcher, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, Riding Boots
LUCKFY Shoe Stretcher for Boots Adjustable Shoe Trees Stretching Hiking Working Boots Professional Shoe Stretcher for Women and Men,Largesize
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Vamp Raiser, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, & Riding Boots
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Shaft Stretcher, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, Riding Boots
LUCKFY Shoe Stretcher for Boots Adjustable Shoe Trees Stretching Hiking Working Boots Professional Shoe Stretcher for Women and Men,Largesize
LUCKFY Shoe Stretcher for Boots Adjustable Shoe Trees Stretching Hiking Working Boots Professional Shoe Stretcher for Women and Men,Largesize
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Vamp Raiser, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, & Riding Boots
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Vamp Raiser, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, & Riding Boots
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Shaft Stretcher, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, Riding Boots
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Combination Boot Instep & Shaft Stretcher, Stretches Western/Cowboy, Hiking, Work, Riding Boots

Last update on 2022-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is a very effective way to stretch the cowboy’s instep.

This is also the way that many cobblers use to fix tight boots. (Usually, they will steam inside cowboy boots before placing boot instep stretcher in the boot)

All you need to do is put the Boot Instep Stretcher inside the cowboy boots before bed and adjust the level expansion you want on the instep.

Then the next morning you will see the results.

Normally, Boot Instep Stretcher of cobblers is quite expensive. If you only use it for your small family, you should use Boot Instep Stretcher from wood or plastic.

How To Use a Boot Stretcher

2. Use Boot Stretch Spray

FootMatters Professional Boot & Shoe Stretch Spray – Softener & Stretcher for Leather, Suede, Nubuck, Canvas – 4 oz
  • PREMIUM SHOE STRETCHER: FootMatters Professional Shoe Stretch is a leather conditioner that is...
  • TRUSTED BRAND: We make the best products on the market to make sure your Shoes, Boots, Slippers and...
  • WONT STAIN OR FADE: Safe and effective. The spray will go on clear and will never cause...

Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another effective method is to use Boot Stretch Spray to fix the tight instep of cowboy boots.

How to use it? Very simple. Just spray on the instep of the cowboy boot (spray inside), then use your hand to relax the leather of the instep. Some time later the instep of cowboy boots will stretch.

Or, you can use boot stretch spray before going out with your cowboy boots.

However, you should put on socks, do not get your feet wet with these fluids when wearing cowboy boots for long. That can have a bad effect on your feet.

Besides, a pair of thick socks  also help you not to hurt your feet while waiting for stretching the instep of the boots.

3. Spray water & Steam inside the boots

  • Spray the water inside the instep of cowboy boots to moisten it
Sale
Spray Bottles - Set of 3 Small Empty Plastic Spray Bottles For Hair, Plants, Cats. 12 Oz Vibrant Color Water Squirt Bottles
  • FINE MIST TO PRECISE STREAM: And everything in between! Our pro-quality water spray bottle set...
  • CONSISTENT, HASSLE-FREE USE: Our prize-winning empty spray bottles are perfectly shaped to fit in...
  • TOP QUALITY & DURABILITY: Our misting spray bottles are made of the strongest materials and...

Last update on 2022-09-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You should spray a little water into the inside of the cowboy boots, then use your hand to stretch the instep of the cowboy boots.

  • Steam inside cowboy boots
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Portable Fast, Electric Hot Water Kettle for Tea and Coffee, 1 Liter, Gray & Black
  • Electric water kettle with 1.0-liter capacity and 1500 watts of power for fast results (120V-60Hz)
  • Cordless design allows for easy filling and serving; Power base with 30-inch power cord for flexible...
  • Concealed heating element; BPA-free food-contact materials; Removable filter for easy cleaning

Last update on 2021-11-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is also the way that cobblers use for stretching cowboy boots.

You can take advantage of the steam from your kettle to warm and moist inside the cowboy boots. Then use your hands to stretch the instep of the boots.

However, you should notice when using these 2 ways:

First: You need to dry other wet areas, otherwise the cowboy boots will stretch out in the wrong place.

Second: You need to dry the cowboy boots with natural wind after the process is finished.

Don’t let cowboy boots get wet for too long, the humidity will shorten their life.

Cowboy boots tight instep

4. Put a warm towel and make it fully tuck inside cowboy boots

Put a warm towel and make it fully tuck inside cowboy boots

This is a method that I just discovered, it really works! All you have to do is to roll up a towel (you can use old towels). Then moisten it with warm water.

Finally, put it at the instep inside the cowboy boot, and make sure it fits tightly.

The moisture and warmth of the towel can stretch the leather around the instep, and loosen this position.

You can repeat that process 2 to 3 times until the instep of the cowboy boot has completely fit your foot.

However, once the process is complete, use boot trees to make your cowboy boots dry from the inside.

When you stretch cowboy boots with water, understanding how to dry cowboy boots is essential.

5. Use Leather Conditioner, Lotion

Sale
Leather Honey Leather Conditioner, Best Leather Conditioner Since 1968. for use on Leather Apparel, Furniture, Auto Interiors, Shoes, Bags and Accessories. Non-Toxic and Made in The USA!
  • POWERFUL LEATHER CONDITIONER: Leather Honey penetrates deep to protect new leather and rejuvenate...
  • RESTORE ALL TYPES/COLORS OF LEATHER: Soften leather furniture, moisturize leather car interiors &...
  • FAMILY-OWNED, AMERICAN-MADE, SPECIALLY FORMULATED: For over 50 years, we have been making the best...

Last update on 2022-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The essence of what we’re doing is trying to make the leather on the instep soft and smooth. So you can use Leather Conditioner, Lotion for softening the skin of boots.

Besides, Leather Conditioner also makes cowboy boots leather shinier. Also, your boots get a longer lifespan.

Similar to the second method, just apply them to the instep (inside) and wait for the results.

6. Use a hairdryer

Sale
Remington D3190 Damage Protection Hair Dryer with Ceramic + Ionic + Tourmaline Technology, Black, 3 Piece Set
  • Damage protection hair dryer for shiny, healthy hair
  • 3X more protection with advanced coating technology
  • Healthier Hair with Proprietary Micro Conditioner Technology

Last update on 2022-08-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Similar to the steam method, you can use a hairdryer and your hands to stretch the instep of cowboy boots.

The heat of a hairdryer can cause the cowboy boots to loosen up. But keeping the temperature at a moderate level, overheating will affect the leather of your cowboy boots.

This is a pretty classic way…

Note: You should give your boots a break after applying these ways. If you are not patient, your boots might get wider than you want.

These breaks are necessary for your cowboy boots to adjust themselves and fit your feet.

7. Use ice

Another method to stretch cowboy boot instep is to use… ice.

You may not have heard of this method before, but this is a fairly commonly used method.

Prepare a plastic zipper bag, and put water inside. The amount of water inside the bag must be sufficient for the plastic bag to be a little tight when placed in cowboy boots.

Then put all the cowboy boots inside the freezer compartment of the refrigerator. Leave it overnight.

The next morning, the cowboy boot instep will stretch, making it more comfortable to wear.

Stretch your Boots with Ice!

8. Use boot trees

FootFitter Western Cedar Boot Tree - Best Shoe Trees for Western Cowboy Style Boots with USA Wood, Easy Removal - CW22 (Women's 7-9.5)
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIALS: We use Tennessee Cedar Wood to create our Premium Boot Shoe Trees. The...
  • SHAPING: Our Cedar Boot Trees are built to last! The brass-finished center rod provides rigidity and...
  • DESIGN: Don't be fooled by the rest, our shoe trees are designed to benefit you and your Cowboy...

Last update on 2022-09-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Using boot trees is a very popular method to solve many problems with cowboy boots.

When you use cowboy boots for a long time, they withstand many external forces such as weather, cold temperatures, and humidity, causing cowboy boots to shrink and lead to a tight instep.

With boot trees, they will keep the shape of your cowboy boots, then the tight instep won’t happen during use.

Besides, boot trees can absorb moisture, keep your cowboy boots dry, and increase your boot life.

9. Wear cowboy boots with thick socks more often

Sale
Dickies Men's Dri-tech Moisture Control Crew Socks Multipack, Black (12 Pairs), Shoe Size: 6-12
  • Soft Breathable Moisture Control Fibers
  • Arch Compression Support and Stability
  • Ventilation Channels Enhance Air Flow

Last update on 2022-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is the simplest way, but this method might take a long time for the instep of cowboy boots to stretch.

Wear regular cowboy boots with thick socks.

Cowboy boots tend to stretch over time.

Wearing thick socks will make them stretch wider and make your feet more comfortable.

We think when you read this topic, you might have “lost patience” with your cowboy boots.

10. Use a mixture of alcohol and water

Wine can relax leather, so this is also a popular way to stretch the instep.

You can add some alcohol to warm water and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray it on the instep, then put on boots and walk until they are dry.

The biggest advantage of this method is that you can feel the expansion of the instep. Therefore, it will not stretch too much.

The second advantage is that you have a good reason with your wife to buy alcohol.

Cheers!

11. If cowboy boots haven’t broken in yet, break in them

Not all cowboy boots are immediately comfortable when bought, most of them are not. They need to go through a break-in period!

Leather, in the beginning, is often quite stiff, so it can be uncomfortable and feel a bit tight for you. What you need to do now is wear your boots more often to make the leather softer and stretch a bit.

So, if the instep is not too tight and cowboy boots are still new, don’t rush to use any stretching tips. Wear them a lot, about 10 days to 2 weeks to feel the stretch before doing anything.

Some notes when stretching the instep of cowboy boots

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the instep of cowboy boots is a very important position to determine if the boots have a good fit or not. Once the instep fits snugly, your foot will stay in place in the boot no matter how loose the other positions are.

Therefore, you need to avoid excessive stretch, if the instep is too loose, then we have to find a way to make them fit tighter like putting some leather pads or insoles.

It’s best to stretch the instep until it is just a little bit tight, then you can insert leather pads or insoles. Since leather will stretch over time and mold feet better, it will fit better.

How tight should the instep be on cowboy boots?

Usually, the instep of a cowboy boot needs to fit snugly to ensure that the foot does not slip in the boot. But most of the time you won’t feel the instep completely fit.

In fact, when you buy a pair of cowboy boots, a little tightness in the instep is still a good thing. As long as the ball of the feet and your toes have enough space to breathe

and wiggle, you’ll be fine!

Therefore, if the instep is not too tight, do not be too hasty to try methods to stretch the instep. Try wearing boots for a while.

After about 10 days to 2 weeks, that tightness in the instep will disappear and you will be completely comfortable.

Before you leave


In summary, there are quite a few methods to fix tight instep cowboy boots. And the most effective method is stretching the leather.

To stretch the leather, you can steam them, use some tools such as boot stretchers, use alcohol, etc.

However, the drawback of these methods is that they can cause cowboy boots to stretch too much. So during the stretch, make sure you constantly wear them to ensure the best fit in the instep.

The instep is a key position in determining the fit of boots, so make sure it fits snugly and is too wide or too narrow.

Good luck!


Leave a Comment