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How Do I Make My Cowboy Boots Less Stiff? 10 Effective Methods

How Do I Make My Cowboy Boots Less Stiff? 10 Effective Methods

One of the most uncomfortable things in the world is wearing a pair of footwear that is too stiff! And it’s even worse if it’s a pair of cowboy boots.

Cowboy boots can be very stiff and make you feel uncomfortable at the beginning or when they get too old, causing blisters on your legs and feet.

Besides, the stiffness of cowboy boots can affect your foot health and gait, making it difficult for you while working hard.

A good pair of cowboy boots made from 100% leather will be the best option for those who love the feel of softness and comfort. But it’s not true in all cases!

In fact, the feel of comfort and softness will only appear when your cowboy boots are totally broken in, stretched and perfectly mold your legs and feet.

If your cowboy boots are too new, too old or too tight or are not really well-made, you can feel the stiffness of leather even clearer.

To solve that problem, the best thing you can do is make your cowboy boots softer. I know that, and I will tell you the most effective tips to make your cowboy boots less stiff!

I will guide you through all the methods that are necessary without the risk of damaging your boots!

How Do I Make My Cowboy Boots Less Stiff?

Okay, stiff cowboy boots is not the new problem, and there are tons of methods to soften them on the internet!

But, you know what? Not all the methods can be used! Some methods will kill your beloved boots soon.

I will tell you methods that make cowboy boots less stiff and also warn you which methods should be avoided.

Let’s check it out!

Method 1: Steam your cowboy boots

One of the most popular methods many cobblers use to make cowboy boots less stiff is steam inside your cowboy boots, and I can say it’s a genius method.

You don’t need a specific machine like what a cobbler uses to make steam, just use your home kettle or steam iron. Take advantage of the steam to make the cowboy boots soften.

Warm steam can soften leather or fabric (lining), thus bringing a comfortable feeling for your legs and feet while wearing boots.

After a while, cowboy boots will be less stiff and mold your legs and feet better. Wonderful, isn’t it?

Normally, I often use boot trees after this process. Boot trees will make the shape of cowboy boots always in good condition and absorb moisture from the steaming process.

Method 2: Use leather conditioners

Leather conditioner

Another popular and very effective method to make cowboy boots softer is using leather conditioners. You can easily find them in the markets.

Leather conditioners are a product that can maintain the look and quality of cowboy boots inside out, and of course, soften them too.

Many cowboy boots when getting old will lose necessary moisture, making them stiff and leading to cracks or losing shape.

You need to retain moisture by applying leather conditioner. Leather conditioner will provide moisture to nourish the leather and make it softer.

What you need to do is apply leather conditioner on the surface of cowboy boots then wait for it to absorb inside the leather. But, remember to keep your cowboy boots totally clean and dry before applying.

For me, I often apply leather conditioner in the soft cloth and spread it evenly, then use the hairdryer to heat the surface to make sure the conditioner is completely absorbed.

Leather Care Kit includes Leather Cleaner and Conditioner with Cloth from Tecovas

Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

It can be said that I love this method the most. Classic!

Method 3: Use specific oil

A man holding mink oil bottle

Leather care products made from mink oil or neatsfoot oil will be the best choice for your cowboy boots, not only soften them but also nourish and waterproof the leather.

I like this method as the above. What you need to do is just the same with the above method.

Keep your boots clean and dry, apply oil on the surface, heat them with a hair dryer (or just leave them in the dry place) to make sure the oil is totally absorbed into the leather.

By the way, I like to apply oil on the leather and use a horsehair brush to spread it evenly.

Method 4: Use lotion

In addition to using conditioner, you also can use lotion to make cowboy boots less stiff. It works great!

Like human skin, leather needs to retain the right moisture to make it soft, and lotion brings the leather good moisture.

However, this method should only be used inside cowboy boots and you shouldn’t use them too often. As the lotion is not a specialized product, it can darken your cowboy boots.

It will be safer if you try a small amount of lotion before applying all it over the cowboy boots.

Method 5: Use boot stretch spray

FootMatters Professional Shoe Stretch Spray

Boot stretch spray is a product used to stretch cowboy boots, with the principle of softening the leather.

All you need to do is apply boot stretch spray into cowboy boots and it will make your boots softer. And like above, make sure your cowboy boots are clean and dry!

A drawback of this method is it will stretch your cowboy boots. So be cautious when using this method. It will be better if you use boot stretch spray for stiff and tight boots.

Method 6: Spray warm water

spray on cowboy boots

Another method to make cowboy boots less stiff is to use warm water. But, never dip them totally into the water, or you will ruin your boots.

Just use a spray bottle to spray an amount of warm water inside your cowboy boots. And leave it there!

When the warm water cools down, dry it and continue with another layer of warm water until when you touch the leather, you feel it soft. Done!

But, I think you should know some good methods to dry cowboy boots here!

You should make your cowboy boots dry inside out after this process to make sure your cowboy boots are not damaged by the attack of water.

Method 7: Use alcohol

Another trick is to use alcohol to relax and stretch the leather of cowboy boots.

Just take your husband’s wine bottle, pour the wine into the spray bottle then spray inside cowboy boots. And wait for the result.

Alcohol can stretch and relax the leather, and you will feel more and more comfortable after that process.

Method 8: Use heat to relax leather

Another method that can help you soften the leather is to use heat, but don’t set it on fire! Use your hairdryer.

Set the temperature of your hairdryer on medium level, not too hot, then heat the inside of cowboy boots, the leather (or fabric lining) will be relaxed and softened.

After this process, wear your cowboy boots with a pair of thick socks, your cowboy boots will mold your feet better and quickly.

I always use this method for my new cowboy boots, and it is effective quickly.

Method 9: Use a damp and warm towel to put inside

I often use my old bath towel to do this. Apply warm water on the bath towel and put it snugly inside the cowboy boots.

The warm heat from the towel combined with dampness will make the leather (or fabric) lining relax and softer.

I often repeat this process 2 to 3 times and it has very good results!

But like I said in method 5, you should read our article about how to dry your cowboy boots thoroughly to make sure cowboy boots will not get damaged after this process.

Method 10: Wear them more and more with a pair of thick socks

This method is for those who have new cowboy boots which need to be broken in. Besides, it helps your cowboy boots contour your feet perfectly.

Take your time, be patient, wear them 4 or 5 times a week and they will fit your feet better. Believe me!

Because when the leather is new, it will make you feel uncomfortable, but over time, the movement of your muscles combined with the dampness of your sweat will make it soften.

Maybe this method will hurt your feet and legs at first, but you can overcome this problem with a pair of thick socks.

I prefer to wear work boot’s socks, they are my favorite due to their thickness and cushioning.

Tecovas Boot socks

Tecovas Boot Socks | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

The mistake when softening cowboy boots

I often meet a ton of recommendations that you should soften cowboy boots by dipping them totally in the water.

I do not agree with this method! Because most quality cowboy boots are made from leather, or suede. Therefore, dipping them into water will ruin them if you don’t know how to take care of them properly after that.

Water is the enemy of leather, it can ruin your cowboy boots over time softly and silently… one day, boom! Your cowboy boots fall apart!

Many people think dry cowboy boots are easy, I don’t think so, drying cowboy boots inside out will take time and technique. The surface of cowboy boots is dry doesn’t mean the inside of it is dry too.

Some notes

The above methods are very effective in making your cowboy boots less stiff. But making cowboy boots softer has two sides.

The drawback is that softening cowboy boots will make them stretched. And it can make your boots loosen.

So, you should soften your cowboy boots slowly to make sure they still fit your feet well at the end of the process.


It’s all you need to know about how to make your cowboy boots less stiff.

These methods will be very effective for cowboy boots that are too stiff, not broken in or tight-fitting.

But, make sure you don’t submerge your cowboy boots in water, or else you will ruin your beloved boots.

Good luck!