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

How to Make Cowboy Boots Fit Tighter? At the Ankle, Instep, Heel, etc.

How to Make Cowboy Boots Fit Tighter? At the Ankle, Instep, Heel, etc.

Welcome back to FromTheGuestRoom! We’ve gathered a variety of articles focused on solving common challenges related to cowboy boots.

We’ve covered topics like breaking in cowboy boots, fixing snug insteps, and even safely stretching cowboy boots at home.

All these articles share a common goal: dealing with the problem of excessively tight cowboy boots.

But what if your cowboy boots are a bit too loose instead? How can you adjust them to achieve the ideal fit?

Let’s jump in and discover the solutions together!

1. At the Instep

Absolutely, when it comes to selecting cowboy boots, the instep becomes the pivotal factor that demands your careful consideration. Achieving that snug, just-right fit around the instep is paramount – neither too loose nor uncomfortably tight.

Nevertheless, even with the best intentions, errors can slip through the cracks when purchasing cowboy boots online. The question then arises: How can these missteps be rectified?

Method 1. Use extra cushion insoles

Put insole into cowboy boots

This is a very popular way to fix a cowboy boot that is loose at the instep. What you need is to lift your foot up, so there’s nothing better than using extra cushion insoles.

Put those cushion insoles in your cowboy boots. The thickness of the extra insoles will help fill in the gaps in your cowboy boots and help them fit tighter.

How To Make Your Cowboy Boots Fit Tighter Or Smaller

Method 2. Use thick socks

When it comes to making slight adjustments to the fit of your cowboy boots, employing thicker socks can prove to be a valuable trick. This technique is especially handy if you’ve ended up with cowboy boots that have a slightly loose instep.

By layering with the right type of sock, you can attain that desired snugness without compromising on style or comfort.

Tecovas boot socks

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

Method 3. Use Ball of Foot Cushions

Using ball of foot cushions is an effective technique to improve the fit of your cowboy boots, particularly around the instep.

By providing extra cushioning under the ball of your foot, these cushions add an additional layer of comfort. This is particularly beneficial if your cowboy boots have a slightly loose instep, as the cushions fill the space and provide a more secure feeling.

Ball of foot cushions are simple to apply and can be repositioned as needed. This makes them a versatile solution that you can adjust based on your comfort preferences.

Ball of the foot cushioned

Method 4. Add Leather Pads

If you don’t want to put extra insoles into your cowboy boots to lift your feet up, another way is using leather pads.

You should go to the leatherworker and ask him to cut the leather pads that can insert into the footbeds of cowboy boots.

Make sure the leather pads are a bit wider than the footbeds of your boots (so that they will not slip out of the footbeds).

Then put the leather pads into cowboy boots to lift your feet up.

If the leather pad is not thick enough, just try another thicker one until you find the right thickness to make your instep fit tighter.

Note that the leather pads should be smooth, with no high spots or lumps.

2. At the Heel

In addition to the instep, ensuring a proper fit for the heels of your cowboy boots is equally crucial.

When you slip into your cowboy boots, pay attention to the satisfying “pop” sound – a telltale sign of the ideal connection between your heels and the boot’s interior.

However, if this distinctive sound is absent, a concern arises.

The issue at hand: a loose fit around the heels of your cowboy boots. It’s time to explore methods for achieving that desired snugness.

Method 1. Use heel inserts

Heel pads

There are many different types of heel inserts, and all of them can be used to fix the loose heels of your cowboy boots.

Just use heel grips to insert in cowboy boots, the contact area between your heels and cowboy boots will increase.

Besides, heel inserts also help protect your heels from blistering, from slipping, and reduce heel pain when wearing boots all day long…

Method 2. Use thick socks

Thick socks play a crucial role in optimizing the fit around the heels of your cowboy boots. By adding extra padding and volume, they help to fill any gaps and create a tighter connection between your heels and the boot’s interior.

This not only reduces unnecessary movement but also enhances the overall comfort and stability of your boots.

Take a walk to ensure that the added thickness doesn’t cause discomfort or friction. This will also give you a chance to gauge the effectiveness of the technique while in motion.

3. At the Toe

If the front of your cowboy boots sits too far from your toes, you’re likely to encounter difficulty in achieving a proper fit for the heel section as well.

This scenario can lead to discomforts like heel slippage, presenting a less-than-ideal wearing experience.

So, how can you ensure a snugger fit for your toes within the cowboy boots?

Method 1. Inserting Cotton Balls, Toilet Paper, and Soft Cloth

It’s easier than you might think! Search your home for everyday items like soft cloth, cotton balls, or toilet paper. These unassuming materials can be cleverly used to create a practical solution.

By tucking them into the toe box of your cowboy boots, you effectively reduce the distance between the boot’s tip and your toes. This, in turn, contributes to a tighter overall fit, aligning your feet more snugly with the contours of the boots.

Method 2. Use Heel Grips, Heel Inserts

Another effective technique involves the use of heel grips. These versatile accessories not only serve to draw your feet nearer to the front of cowboy boots but also enhance the overall fit around your instep. This dual benefit not only minimizes discomfort but also ensures a secure and well-fitted feel.

By incorporating these methods, you’re equipped to address the issue of inadequate toe room in your cowboy boots.

Remember, achieving a snugger fit not only elevates your comfort but also heightens your overall confidence in every step you take.

4. Around the Calf

Absolutely, selecting cowboy boots with a touch of looseness around the calf area can indeed enhance comfort during wear.

However, what if you find yourself in the opposite scenario – where cowboy boots are excessively loose around the calf?

The implications are noteworthy. An excessively loose fit not only compromises your appearance, projecting a somewhat unkempt and unpolished look, but it also leads to a series of practical challenges.

Whether you’re engaged in demanding tasks like working, farming, ranching, riding, or even just taking a walk, boots that sag around the calf can quickly become a hindrance.

The solution lies in simplicity. To counter the issue of loosely fitting cowboy boots around the calf, employing a leather strap can work wonders. This approach is both ingenious and remarkably effective.

By encircling the calf with a well-placed leather strap, you effectively create a secure and snug closure that prevents unsightly sagging and ensures that your boots maintain a polished appearance.

Not only does this tactic address the aesthetics, but it also improves functionality. Your movements become more fluid and unencumbered, enabling you to engage in a range of activities with confidence and ease.

When cowboy boots feel too loose around the calf, accessories come to the rescue. Calf sleeves, boot cuffs, or soft cloth wraps offer practical solutions.

  • Calf Sleeves and Boot Cuffs are your go-to solutions for bridging the gap and making cowboy boots fit tighter around the calf. These accessories work by effectively closing the space, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit.

A man wears Calf Sleeves

A woman wears boot cuffs with cowboy boots

  • Tape the leather around the calf: While this method doesn’t give a good look, it is very quick and effective when you are in a hurry.

A man wears cowboy boots with leather strings wrap around the shaft

These accessories ensure your cowboy boots fit better and enhance your overall comfort and confidence.

  • Sock Fold Trick: Folding your socks to increase their thickness is another practical method that can effectively fill the gap between your legs and boots.

A man is folding a sock

  • Soft Cloth Wraps: These wraps can be wrapped around the calf area to achieve a snug fit, providing an adjustable solution for enhanced comfort and fit

Besides, wearing double socks is not a bad idea. Some people like to tuck their jeans inside cowboy boots, thereby helping their legs fit tighter with cowboy boots.

If you want more details, we have a thorough article with 9 solutions here!

5. Around the Ankle

Quite similar to the method to make cowboy boots fit tighter at the calf, you can use leather string to make cowboy boots fit better at the ankle. Just wrap it around!

Besides, another way is using socks. Fold them many times to the ankle position to make them fit tighter there.

Or you can search for ankle braces on the market, put them on and get your ankle fit better with boots.

ankle brace

My friend, who has experienced cowboy boots getting loose at the ankles, came up with the idea of wearing open-legged jeans.

Just fold the bottom end of the pants a few times around the ankle to make it fit tighter. Other people tuck their jeans into cowboy boots to fill up the free room at the ankle.

This method is also very creative, despite not being aesthetically pleasing for men, but if you are working and in need of comfort and neatness, who cares what you look like?

Here are very detailed instructions to make your cowboy boots fit tighter around the ankle!

6. At the Width Area

In fact, when choosing cowboy boots, the two most important positions to fit are the instep and heel. As for the width of the boots, you should leave enough room at the ball of the boots for your feet to be comfortable.

What if the ball of cowboy boots is too loose for your feet?

Method 1. Use Forefoot Cushion Pads

Using forefoot cushion pads will increase the width of your foot, then forefoot can fit cowboy boots tightly.

In addition, forefoot cushion pads also relieve the pain in the ball of the foot. You can use cowboy boots all day without foot pain.

Ball of the foot cushioned

Method 2. Use thick socks

We are here again! Using thick socks can solve the wide problems of cowboy boots.

However, if cowboy boots are too wide, this method might be useless.

7. Use Tape

Taping your cowboy boots can be a simple and effective way to make them fit tighter and prevent them from slipping or sliding around your feet.

To tape your boots, start by choosing a specialized boot tape, such as duck tape or athletic tape.

Then, measure and cut the tape to the appropriate length and wrap it around the areas of your boots that need extra support.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the tape you choose and test a small area first before applying it to the entire boot.

Again, we have very detailed instructions here!

Tape and cowboy boots

Some notes

There are some tips online that you should dip both cowboy boots into the water and dry them to make them shrink. No, don’t ever do that!

Cowboy boots are mostly made from leather, and leather doesn’t love water at all. Without proper care, the leather of cowboy boots can be completely damaged.

So the idea of shrinking your boots by plunging them into the water and waiting until it is dry is so WRONG, it just destroys your boots!

Another WRONG way is to put on WET socks with WET cowboy boots at the same time and wait for both of them to dry with the hope that they will drink after that.

Well, it is not necessary to take this risk since it’s really harmful to your feet.

Anyway, the water method to shrink cowboy boots is something uncertain. We think that water will soften cowboy boots. And once you put these cowboy boots on and go, they will probably stretch rather than shrink.

Read more: How To Break In Cowboy Boots

Should cowboy boots be tight at first?

No, cowboy boots shouldn’t feel tight from the start.

These boots were originally designed to withstand the challenges of the wild frontier, enduring sun, rain, and tough weather conditions while serving the fearless cowboys on vast grasslands.

Due to their rugged nature, cowboy boots are naturally durable and strong. If you start with boots that are too tight, it could take a lot of time and effort to break them in comfortably.

Prioritizing the fit of the heel and instep is paramount – these two key areas determine the overall comfort and functionality of the boots.

Ensuring that the heel and instep snugly conform to your foot’s contours can significantly alleviate discomfort and ensure satisfying wear.

Interestingly, even if other parts of the boot have a slightly wider fit, they can coexist harmoniously, as long as the heel and instep provide the essential foundation for a well-fitted cowboy boot experience.

Man wear cowboy boots sit on the wooden fence

Should cowboy boots be a little loose?

Absolutely, a bit of looseness is indeed ideal for cowboy boots.

Cowboy boots benefit from a touch of looseness in the leather around the calf, ball of the foot, and toe box.

However, when it comes to fit, the key lies in ensuring a snug fit specifically at the heel and instep. Cowboy boots that exhibit looseness in these crucial areas, particularly around the instep or heel, can lead to unwanted heel slippage. This not only disrupts your natural stride but also diminishes overall comfort during wear.

The magic formula lies in maintaining a snug fit at the heel and instep, as this ensures that your foot remains securely anchored within the boot. This, in turn, negates any concerns about the other portions of the boot being slightly wider.

Why? Because the heel and instep serve as the cornerstone, holding your foot in place with unwavering stability. With these areas fitting snugly, the rest of the boot can afford a little extra room without compromising your overall experience.

In fact, leaving a bit of space at the ball of the foot, along the calf, and in the toe box is beneficial. This thoughtful allowance provides the necessary comfort that allows you to fully enjoy wearing cowboy boots.

So, remember, a well-fitted cowboy boot strikes a balance between snugness and just the right amount of room for a truly comfortable stride.

We have a very thorough article on how to choose the right fit of cowboy boots here.

Women wear cowboy boots with flag patterns

How much heel slip is normal in boots?

Absolutely, a touch of heel slippage is actually quite normal when it comes to wearing cowboy boots.

Oddly enough, a bit of heel slippage contributes to the overall comfort when donning boots. However, it’s crucial to ensure that this slippage falls within acceptable limits.

When you’ve just purchased a fresh pair of cowboy boots, experiencing around 1/4″ to 3/8″ of heel slippage is entirely par for the course. So, there’s truly no need to be concerned.

In essence, this mild heel slippage is a natural part of the breaking-in process, and it’s a testament to the craftsmanship of these boots. It allows your feet to adapt and the boots to mold themselves to your individual contours, ultimately resulting in a fit that’s uniquely tailored to you.

You can see more tips and methods to fix heel slippage here.

Before you leave

Indeed, addressing tight cowboy boots offers a wider array of solutions compared to dealing with loose ones. Techniques that facilitate stretching tend to be remarkably effective, whereas methods for shrinking cowboy boots are relatively scarce.

As you’ve likely observed, a substantial portion of this article delves into techniques involving the insertion of items like insoles or leather pads. These strategies are aimed at achieving a snugger fit, enhancing both comfort and style.

If, by chance, you come across additional methods that prove equally efficient, I encourage you to leave a comment to share your insights. This collaborative approach can further enrich our understanding and help others seeking solutions for their cowboy boot fitting endeavors.

Wishing you the best of luck in your quest for perfectly fitting cowboy boots! Your pursuit of comfort and style is truly commendable.