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All Things You Should Know About Steaming Cowboy Boots

All Things You Should Know About Steaming Cowboy Boots

There is a method that is extremely popular in the world of cowboy boots, and that is steaming. People steam cowboy boots for many different reasons. Some people want them to be soft, some do that to speed up the break-in process, and others use steam to stretch them.

However, the reality shows that though steaming cowboy boots are effective, if you are not really careful, this method still bears some risks.

Not to mention, if the steaming process is not done properly, the effect will not be very good.

This article will discuss steaming cowboy boots, how to steam them properly and what risks this method bears.

Key Takeaways

  • Steaming is one of the very popular methods to stretch, soften, and break in not only cowboy boots but all leather boots.
  • You should steam inside cowboy boots, not from the outside. This ensures the best effect and avoids ruining the appearance of the boots.
  • You should be careful about the temperature of the steam, and the steaming time should not be too long. Don’t burn your cowboy boots.
  • Using a kettle is a good way to steam cowboy boots, but it is safer to use a clothes steamer.

The combination of steam and high heat are great factors to soften leather boots. The high temperature will expand the pores, then steam can penetrate in and make the leather soft.

The softness of the boots makes it easier for you to break in or stretch them. Normally, in the world of cowboy boots, people like to use steam from the clothes steamer or kettle to steam cowboy boots.

steam cowboy boots

The important thing is that you should pay attention to the temperature in the boots.

As when steaming cowboy boots at home, there are no handy tools available for you to measure the temperature inside the boots. Also, there are no specific parameters as to what temperature the steam should be at because no one has time to research this issue.

However, I’ll have a bit of academic research for you below!

Some experiments and studies show that leather often ignites at a temperature of more than 212 degrees Celsius when in direct contact with fire.

Meanwhile, kettles often produce the most steam at the beginning of the boil (when the water reaches 100 degrees Celsius). The temperature of the new steam can also be 100°C under non-pressurized conditions or higher (about 118°C as it is pressurized in a home cooker).

However, the temperature of steam also decreases very quickly when exposed to the outer environment.

That way, you can rest assured steam can’t get to the point where it can ignite leather. Composed of water, steam is easy to cool down, that’s why kettle steam can’t ignite the leather of cowboy boots.

In addition, the maximum temperature of the clothes steamer is also about 95 degrees Celsius, which is lower than the steam from the kettle.

using the clothes steamer on cowboy boots

However, although it is not possible to ignite leather cowboy boots, that temperature can’t prevent cowboy boots from burning and deforming with prolonged exposure. It’s like we can still get burned if we come into contact with steam from the kettle for a long time.

When exposed to high temperatures for a long time, the natural oils and waxes of cowboy boots quickly dry out, leading to the boots quickly cracking like a barren desert without water.

dry cowboy boots on the wooden floor

Besides, excessive steam will make the leather too soft, which can cause cowboy boots to over-stretch. In consequence, this leads to poor fitting, a tight boot can become a loose one, and that’s even worse!

Therefore, I recommend that every time you steam your cowboy boots with steam, it should only last for 5 seconds to 8 seconds.

Don’t steam outside cowboy boots, high heat can affect (melt) the polished surface. Instead, let’s steam inside cowboy boots.

Steps for steaming cowboy boots:

turn cowboy boots upside down to steam inside them

Step 1. Turn your boots upside down, this will allow cowboy boots to catch the raising steam and help it spread evenly inside.

Step 2. Keep them to catch the hot steam from the kettle (or clothes steamer) for 5 seconds to 8 seconds. Then take them out of the steam!

When I need to stretch a cowboy boot, I can immediately fit the boot stretcher into the boot and adjust the extension. But if you don’t have a boot stretcher, continue to step 3.

If you need to break in the boot, wait about 30 seconds. When the boot is relatively warm, touch it with your hand to feel the softness.

(Be careful to check the heat of the cowboy boot after steaming. After waiting for 30 seconds, it is unlikely to burn you anymore but you still need to be careful.)

Step 3. Put on a pair of boot socks (the thick ones are recommended) to prevent heat damage to your legs. Then put cowboy boots on and walk around the house until they cool down. This will make cowboy boots stretch, break in, and mold to your feet well.

Step 4. Repeat the steaming process several times until you are satisfied. You can stop when you feel the boot is soft or stretched. But in my experience, I will steam it about 3 to 5 times.

One thing to note is that the results will not come immediately, and you can easily overstretch your cowboy boots if you are not careful.

Maybe today, even after you have done the process 3 or 4 times, but you feel the cowboy boots are still stiff and a bit tight, they can completely overstretch tomorrow.

So, just to be on the safe side, after doing the process 2 to 3 times, you should let your cowboy boots rest for half a day to 1 day.

Observe the results, then decide whether to continue or not.

Step 5. I suggest you use a boot dryer to dry cowboy boots in the evening, as the humidity of steam can result in fungus in the boots. Over time, the boots will mold or rot and cause them to smell or damage.

A boot dryer, a clock, a cowboy boot

At night, I often tuck boot trees into the boots, this ensures the boots keep their shape and stay dry inside because boot trees absorb moisture very well.

Tecovas Men's Boot Trees

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

Before you leave

In fact, the steps to steam cowboy boots are very simple, you just need to turn them upside down and catch the hot steam from the kettle or clothes steamer.

The only thing you need to keep in mind is the steaming time. 5 seconds to 8 seconds are enough for each steaming period to make sure cowboy boots do not burn, become too soft or deform.

Also, if you want to put them on, then wait at least 30 seconds when they’re cool. Touch them lightly and quickly with your hand to make sure they are warm enough for you to put them on.

Don’t forget to use a pair of boot socks when wearing cowboy boots, a thick pair would be recommended. Thick socks ensure your legs do not burn and are more comfortable during the break-in period.

By doing that, you’ll ensure both you and your boots are safe.

Good luck!