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Cowboy Boots Tight Instep – 9 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.

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?

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.

However, when you buy cowboy boots online, it’s hard to avoid mistakes, so let us fix it!

Read more: How to Stretch Cowboy Boots at Home?

How do you stretch the instep of a cowboy boot? – 9 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 Boot Instep Stretcher and Vamp Raiser
LUCKFY Shoe Stretcher for Boots Adjustable Shoe Trees Stretching Hiking Working Boots Professional Shoe Stretcher for Women and Men,Largesize
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Boot Instep Stretcher and Vamp Raiser
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 Boot Instep Stretcher and Vamp Raiser
FootFitter Cast Aluminum Boot Instep Stretcher and Vamp Raiser

Last update on 2021-08-19 / 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

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Last update on 2021-09-15 / 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.

Read more: Comfortable Cowgirl Boots For Wide Feet

3. Spray water & Steam inside the boots

  • Spray the water inside the instep of cowboy boots to moisten it
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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
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Last update on 2021-04-12 / 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 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 at 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.

Read more: How To Keep Cowboy Boots from Rubbing Leg?

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

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Last update on 2021-06-08 / 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 hairdryer

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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

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Last update on 2021-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Using boot trees is a very popular method to solve many problems of 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

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Last update on 2021-06-08 / 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.

Read more: Are Cowboy Boots Waterproof?

Should cowboy boots be hard to put on? How to fix it?

It can be said that this is a drawback of cowboy boots, cowboy boots shaft is quite high compared to other boots, so it can be difficult for you to put on.

To overcome this drawback, cowboy boots manufacturers now have a pull strap on the side of cowboy boots for you to easily put on cowboy boots.

However, many cowboy boots are still difficult to put on, then what is the cause?

1. Boots have not been broken in

For newly purchased cowboy boots, they often hurt your feet and are hard to put on at first wear. What you need to do is to break in them.

The newly purchased boots have hard leather (the leather at the vamp and the instep is hard making you feel uncomfortable and hard to put on), the heels and toe box have not had good elasticity.

You can use a variety of methods to break in your newly purchased cowboy boots, such as:

  • Use your cowboy boots regularly for the first 1, 2 weeks
  • Use Boot Shapers and Cowboy Boot Stretchers
  • Use Leather Conditioners & Leather Stretcher Spray
  • Use a hairdryer
  • Spray water

And there are many different ways to break in your new cowboy boots, we have very detailed instructions here: How To Break In Cowboy Boots

2. Choose the wrong cowboy boot size

You choose a cowboy boot that doesn’t fit your leg size.

Wearing tight boots makes it difficult for your feet to slip inside. And usually the tightness around your calf will cause that.

If your new cowboy boots get this tightness, you should consider changing to a new one.

To learn more about choosing cowboy boots size, you can read here!

Different cowboy boots brands will have different cowboy boot sizes (For example: Same size 8 but Dan Post cowboy boots can be smaller than Ariat cowboy boots).

So when buying any brand’s cowboy boots, you must use the exact size chart of that brand.

3. You have big, wide calf and you need to stretch the leather around calf of boots

It is an ironic situation when you have chosen the right size of boots but still find it difficult to slip your leg into cowboy boots because you have big calves.

Don’t worry, maybe these ways can help you.

Extend the leather around calf of your cowboy boots with Boot Stretcher

Last update on 2021-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is a specialized tool that cowboy boot repairers and collectors have: Boot stretcher.

You just need to put it in cowboy boots, adjust the level and wait.

However, one inconvenience here is that the price of this product is quite expensive, if you are not a professional cowboy boot repairer or collector, this may be a big obstacle.

Hence, scroll down to see the method below.

Use boot stretch spray & boot shaper

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This is an effective and easy method, you just need to spray on the cowboy boots shaft.

Using your hands to loosen the leather around the calf, after a while the leather of the boots around your calf will stretch.

Besides, you can use an additional boot shaper to keep the leather of cowboy boots from wrinkling and keep the boots upright, without affecting the shape of boots.

Boot shaper also helps to stretch the leather of boots, if combined with boot stretch spray will make the boot shaft wider in a short time.

Home Goods Haul: Boot Shapers and Storage

Use hairdryer or steam inside the cowboy boots

Here are 2 classic ways you can apply at home.

Use a hairdryer to dry around the shaft of the cowboy boots, then stretch the leather around the calf with your hands. (Don’t overheat, this will affect the leather quality of the boots)

Or after drying cowboy boots, put on them and then walk around your house. This will help the boots’ leather expand more quickly.

Similar to the hairdryer method, another way to stretch the shaft of cowboy boots is steam inside of cowboy boots.

This is also a very effective way that cobblers use.

Let’s take advantage of the steam from your kettle to steam inside cowboy boots.

Cuisinart Aura, Silver Stainless Steel Stovetop Tea Kettle, 2 Qt,CTK-SS17N
Click image for more information

Just steam inside cowboy boots and put them on, walk around the house.

Note: Do not overheat when applying these methods. And when wearing after using heat to relax the boots, you should put on socks to avoid burning yourself.

Besides, you need to give your cowboy boots some time to “adjust” themselves to fit your feet.

If you use the methods too quickly, you can make your cowboy boots stretch too wide. Then you have google again “What to do if my boots are too big?”

Read more: How to Stretch Cowboy Boots Around the Calf?

How do you know if your boots are too big?

Very simple, we only need a test.

Put on cowboy boots, if the cowboy boots are wide on the instep, touch this area with your hands, you will feel the leather of the boots there very soft compared to normal new boots.

You can do the same when checking the width in the vamp of cowboy boots.

Or keep forefoot on the ground, then lift the heel up about 3/8″ to 1 1/2″.

If the heel slippage appears (more than 3/8 “), then it is likely that the heel of the cowboy boot is too wide for your heel, or the instep of the boot is loose, or the tip of the cowboy boot is too far against your toes.

Your toes should be 3/4″ to 1 1/2” away from the tip of a cowboy boot.

When you put on the cowboy boots, you can estimate this distance by pressing down on the toe box of the cowboy boots with your hand.

If it is more than 1 1/2 “, you mean the cowboy boots are wider than your toes.

This can lead to heel slippage.

Before you leave

In general, the issues above have one thing in common that is all about stretching the leather of cowboy boots.

These ways are some of the most effective (or the most convenient) ways you can use. You should be patient or it can affect the leather quality of cowboy boots.

In case these methods could not stretch your cowboy boots, you should go to professional repair shops, or exchange other ones, cowboy boot companies have a very good exchange policy.

Don’t worry, keep calm, cowboy boots are a very durable accessory.

There exists some people who use a pair of cowboy boots up to 10 years.

As long as you are patient with them, cowboy boots will create the best wearing feel for you that no other shoe or boot can give you.

Wish you good luck and success!


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