How to Shrink Cowboy Boots | The Biggest Mistake

We have written many articles on How to fix tight cowboy boots by stretching, breaking in, …

However, we have very few articles on how to fix big cowboy boots, how to improve this situation.

Compared to the way to make cowboy boots stretch, making cowboy boots shrink a lot harder.

There are many methods online that show how to make cowboy boots shrink. Do these methods really work out?

We will tell you which wrong methods to avoid when making cowboy boots shrink. And which are the right methods that you should apply to fix a wide cowboy boot?

Shall we start now?

The biggest mistake when making cowboy boots shrinks

Myth 1: Use water to shrink cowboy boots

Using water certainly won’t make your cowboy boots shrink.

Browse the web for step-by-step instructions on how to make cowboy boots shrink, you come across these tips: “Dip them all in the water for 1 hour”, “wear wet socks with wet cowboy boots until they are dry”, “Use conditioner”…

We just shook our heads in disbelief.

No, you absolutely cannot use water to shrink cowboy boots

Reason 1: Water is the number one enemy of cowboy boots

Water is the #1 enemy of cowboy boots, especially cowboy boots made from leather and suede. In the rainy or snowy season, it is very difficult for cowboy boot lovers or collectors to find ways to protect their cowboy boots.

If cowboy boots are not well maintained (by conditioner, wax polish) after exposure to rainwater and snowfall, their quality will decrease quickly.

So why do you soak them all in the water for an hour just because you want them to shrink?

No, don’t do that with your expensive cowboy boots!

Read more: Are Cowboy Boots Waterproof?

Reason 2: Water does not help cowboy boots shrink

On the contrary, the water will stretch cowboy boots, not shrink them.

That’s why I said using water to shrink cowboy boots is the worst method. Water will soften cowboy boots, if you wear cowboy boots when they are wet, then they will stretch over time.

At that time, nothing could cure your already wide cowboy boots

Reason 3: Wearing wet sock and wet cowboy boots will ruin your feet

This is another bad way, you can’t sacrifice your feet like that. If your feet are wet in wet socks and wet boots until they’re dry, then both your feet and cowboy boots will get hurt.

Myth 2: Dry the cowboy boots with too much heat

This method may be “a bit” effective. But I’m not sure whether it adversely affects cowboy boots.

Sudden change in temperature of cowboy boots can reduce the quality of leather completely.

Once using high temperatures to dry cowboy boots quickly, it will affect cowboy boots quality affected by sudden temperature change (rise and fall quickly).

This method might be a bit effective in shrinking cowboy boots, but I don’t think that a little shrinkage is worth the trade off.

Myth 3: Use conditioner

This might be good for your cowboy boots, but it certainly won’t make your cowboy boots shrink.

Maintaining your cowboy boots well with conditioner will help your cowboy boots last longer, keep them waterproof and shiny for a long time… BUT, it won’t shrink your cowboy boots.

With a conditioner, your cowboy boots look better and softer, then your feet are more comfortable when wearing them. It would be great to apply this method to tight cowboy boots, not to wide cowboy boots.

However, this way is not as bad as the above.

Read more: The 5 Best Cowboy Boot Conditioners

How to shrink cowboy boots

This is a method of a professional boot maker called Dustin Lauw (instagram: @ducksheritageleather).

And he said that this is an effective way to shrink cowboy boots and it always works:

Step 1: Mix water and alcohol together and blot into a towel

Step 2: Apply water-alcohol solution to cowboy boots

Step 3: Put high and fast heat on cowboy boots (fire appears – He uses heat gun)

This is an old trick that is often used by boot makers, and it always works.

The problem is, this method is only used by “professional cowboy boots makers” because they know what they are doing!

I don’t think you should use this method at home. Do not set it on fire, this way is too reckless and risky to do it yourself at home.

Using this method, either your cowboy boots will shrink, or you will have a brand new one 😉

So what should I do if there’s no method that really makes cowboy boots shrink?

Our goal is to make cowboy boots more fit for our feet, especially in important areas like the heel and instep. So I think there’s another one of our article that will help you: How to Make Cowboy Boots Fit Tighter

You might not make cowboy boots shrink, but you can make your feet “bigger” by:

Method 1: Use thick socks or two socks

Use specialized socks, or athlete’s socks, that will be the thickness needed to make your feet bigger and fit with wide cowboy boots.

Or you can also wear 2 pairs of socks to make your feet wider and fit the wide cowboy boots. However, this can make your feet feel hot in the summer.

Tip: You might consider adding yoga socks, such as non-slip socks. Anti-slip socks will prevent your feet from slipping out when the cowboy boots are loose.

Method 2: Use cushion insole

One of the most important parts when choosing a cowboy boot is the instep, if the instep of the cowboy boot is loose to your foot, it is very difficult for you to wear a cowboy boot that does not slip out.

So you may need to lift your feet so that the instep of your feet fit the cowboy boots. In this case, you need a cushion insole.

There are many types of cushion insoles on the market, in addition to “lifting” your feet, it supports the arch of the foot very well, helping your feet be comfortable and smooth all day long.

Read more: The 8 Best Cowboy Boot Insoles

Method 3: Use heel grip & heel cushion

What if the cowboy boot heel was wide to your heel?

If that happens, it easily leads to heel slippage. That’s when you need heel grip and heel cushion.

Insert heel grip and heel cushion into the heel, and heel slippage will disappear.

Read more: How to Fix Heel Slippage in Cowboy Boots

Method 4: Use cotton balls, soft cloth …

Here’s how to handle it when your cowboy boots have too long toes. This can be solved by the materials available in your home.

Use soft and light objects (such as cotton balls, soft cloth) to insert inside the toe box and the problem is solved.

Method 5: Use ball of foot cushion

If cowboy boots are loose at the forefoot, then using the ball of foot cushion is also a good choice.

The ball of foot cushion can help fit wide cowboy boots like heel grip, heel cushion and cushion insole. It is also good for foot health.

FAQ: Do leather cowboy boots shrink over time?

If you’re busy wearing leather cowboy boots, cowboy boots shrinking over time is completely impossible. They can only stretch until they fit snugly on your feet (break in). And it’s also very difficult to stretch any more.

Because cowboy boots are very durable and strong, it is difficult for them to shrink or stretch too much. If you often wear cowboy boots (weekly), cowboy boots certainly cannot shrink over time.

But if you do not wear boots for a long time and the boots are stored in good condition, the chance is cowboy boots will shrink a bit.

However, cowboy boots shrinking due to long periods of non-use will not last long, once you put on cowboy boots, they will stretch back out.

Read more: How to Stretch Cowboy Boots at Home

Will leather boots shrink when wet?

Wet won’t help shrink cowboy boots, that’s for sure.

Wet cowboy boots may shrink slightly at first due to the sudden drop in temperature. But in the long run they will stretch, not shrink.

Water can make cowboy boots softer, speeding up the stretching (or break in) process. So for cowboy boots, especially boots made from leather or suede, you need to have proper methods of maintenance and care for cowboy boots when they’re wet.

Before you leave

Thank you for reading our article, I hope the above information is helpful to you.

In general you need to keep your cowboy boots away from water, don’t expose them to the water for too long or too much water, which won’t help cowboy boots to shrink but also destroy them.

If the above methods can’t fix the wide cowboy boots, it seems you need to go to a professional cowboy boot repair shop.

Anyway, good luck <3

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