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How to Stretch Cowboy Boots at Home? The 10 Easiest Methods

How to Stretch Cowboy Boots at Home? The 10 Easiest Methods

One good day you suddenly want to buy a pair of cowboy boots.

So you order a pair of cowboy boots from a famous boot marker.

2 days later you receive a work of art from Texas. Unfortunately, that day was not a beautiful day…

Your cowboy boots don’t fit your feet and you get angry! The ball of the feet feels suffocated and the toes go numb the first time you put them on.

Hold on! If the boots are tight, you just need to stretch them.

Today FromTheGuestRoom will show you the easiest ways to stretch your cowboy boots at home.

Let’s get started!

Key takeaways

  • There is almost no way to shrink cowboy boots, but there are many effective ways to stretch them.
  • Today, there are many tools to help you stretch leather boots at home by yourself.
  • Softening cowboy boots is the crux of the method. Once they are softened, it’s easy to stretch them.
  • You need to be careful with heat or water methods. Don’t immerse the entire cowboy boots in water or overheat them.
  • Constantly test the fit of the boots on your feet during the stretch to ensure they don’t stretch too much.

How to stretch cowboy boots at home?

When you want to stretch cowboy boots at home, you probably make use of your household items or things that can stretch cowboy boots at affordable prices.

Some of the products such as metal boot stretchers are probably not the products you are looking for, because they may cost as much as a pair of cowboy boots.

Besides, these products are often used by cobblers or cowboy boot collectors.

If you are looking for easier and less expensive methods then we have good news, you are at the right place!

Here are all the easiest and most economical methods to help you stretch cowboy boots at home!

The methods that we present to you are mainly for softening leather. The bottom line here is cowboy boots will quickly stretch and mold to your feet better when the leather is soft and bears body weight as you wear them.

There are quite a few simple methods that you can do at home, such as steaming boots, putting a warm water bag inside, using a leather conditioner, using a hair dryer, etc.

Here are detailed instructions!

Note: The methods below can help you stretch cowboy boots quickly, but not immediately. So you can repeat the methods until you get the desired result.

Read more: How To Break In Cowboy Boots?

Method 1: Use cowboy boot stretchers to stretch cowboy boots

This type of boot stretcher is not the same as the one we mentioned above. The boot stretcher above is made of metal and is quite expensive.

Understand the need to stretch cowboy boots at many people’s homes, we have wooden and plastic boot stretchers for a softer price.

In general, there are only 2 simple steps to implement this method.

Step 1: Put boot stretcher into cowboy boots

Step 2: Adjust the level of stretching you want

There are different types of boot stretchers, some are used to stretch the width of cowboy boots, and some are used to stretch the instep of cowboy boots. Others can help you stretch leather around the calf or toe area.

How To Stretch Western Cowboy Boots with FootFitter's Western Boot Stretcher

Method 2: Use steam to stretch the cowboy boots

To speed up the process of stretching cowboy boots, you can use the steam from your kettle.

This aims at softening the leather of cowboy boots to help you stretch them easily.

Make use of your kettle to get steam.

Step 1: Use the kettle, and wait until the steam rises from the boiling water

Step 2: Take advantage of the steam rising from the kettle and then heat inside your cowboy boots.

Step 3: Wait until the boot heats down (don’t rush or you’ll get burned). Then put on your boots with socks and walk around the house.

With this method, the heat helps stretch your boots easily to fit your feet.


Also, you can steam inside the cowboy boots and use the boot stretcher to shape the cowboy boots and stretch the parts you want. (Scroll down to see more about boot stretchers).

However, you need to be careful, do not overheat the boots or they might be burned. We have a pretty detailed guide on steaming boots here.

Method 3: Use boot stretch spray and leather conditioners

There are many specialized products for stretch cowboy boots. In addition to boot stretchers, the boot stretch spray is also popular.

First usage:

Spray a little of this solution on cowboy boots before putting them out, your boots will stretch in a short time as you desire.

Second usage:

You can also use a boot stretch spray with a boot stretcher.

Step 1: Spray the boot stretch spray into the area you want cowboy boots to stretch

Step 2: Put the boot stretcher into the cowboy boot and adjust the stretch level of the cowboy boot.

Step 3: Leave it overnight

This is a very effective way to stretch the boots, but it will cost “a little”.

Method 4: Use heat from the hair dryer

This is a very easy method to stretch cowboy boots at home. Get your wife’s hair dryer and heat into the cowboy boots.

The process is similar to method 2.

Step 1: Use a hair dryer to heat inside cowboy boots

Step 2: Put on boots with socks and walk around the house

Use hairdryer to stretch a cowboy boot

Repeat the process until you get the effect you want!

However, one thing to note is not to overheat, make sure the temperature of the hair dryer is not too high so that your boots won’t get burnt or cracked.

Method 5: Use lotion to soften the leather of cowboy boots

Using a moisturizer is also a good way to soften the boots’ leather. And once the leather of cowboy boots gets softened, it is easier to stretch.

Step 1: Get your wife’s lotion

Step 2: Put on the parts where you want cowboy boots to stretch, then wear these boots.

Step 3: Sorry to your wife for taking both her hair dryer and her lotion.

Just put a little lotion on cowboy boots before using them, your cowboy boots will stretch quickly.


  • The lotion may leave a residue or cause the leather to darken.

How to limit risks:

  • Use only a small amount of lotion and monitor the stretching process closely.
  • Choose a non-greasy lotion that won’t leave a residue on the leather.
  • Test the lotion on a small, inconspicuous area of the boot first to make sure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage to the leather.

Method 6: Use alcohol and vaseline to soften cowboy boots

Wine and vaseline have a great effect on softening leather.

It takes some time to apply this method, but you get a great result in return compared to other ways.


The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Apologize to your wife and go to the grocery store to buy a bottle of wine. Mix alcohol with water in a 1:1 ratio.

Step 2: Dab alcohol-mix-water solution on a cotton ball or soft cloth and wipe gently over the surface of the cowboy boots.

Step 3: After the alcohol has dried, use a cotton cloth to wipe the cowboy boots again to ensure the alcohol is absorbed into the boots

Step 4: Use a little vaseline and apply it over the surface of cowboy boots. Be careful with this step, do it gently to avoid damaging the cowboy boots

Step 5: Sorry to your wife for using her vaseline, and the rest of the wine is yours

Step 6: Use this method a few times before going out with your cowboy boots, this will help the cowboy boots to relax more quickly



  • The rubbing alcohol may dry out and damage the leather if not diluted properly.
  • The Vaseline may darken the leather or leave a greasy residue.
  • Using too much alcohol or Vaseline may cause the leather to become over-stretched or misshapen.

How to limit risks:

  • Dilute the rubbing alcohol with an equal amount of water before applying it to the leather.
  • Apply a thin layer of Vaseline and wipe away any excess with a soft cloth.
  • Use only a small amount of alcohol and Vaseline and monitor the stretching process closely to avoid over-stretching or misshaping the leather.

Method 7: Spray water around and inside cowboy boots

Another simple way is to use a water sprayer to spray around your cowboy boots before going out with them.

When water penetrates the cowboy boots’ leather, the leather becomes softer.

This is also a very popular method of stretching cowboy boots. Just bathe your cowboy boots in water, then put them on and walk until they dry, the leather will quickly stretch.

But make sure they still hug your feet well, remember to dry cowboy boots after you feel comfortable in them.

Method 8: Use ice

Stretch your Boots with Ice!

Sounds a little strange, isn’t it?

You may not know it, but you can use ice to stretch your cowboy boots.

Please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Prepare the Ziploc bag

Step 2: Put a moderate amount of water into the plastic and lock it (Don’t put too much, if you put too much water, the water will come out and wet your cowboy boots)

Step 3: Put them in cowboy boots – Make sure the water bags are big enough that you can tightly put them inside your cowboy boots

Step 4: Put the cowboy boots in your freezer compartment (hopefully your freezer compartment is big enough)

Then wait for the result!

This method will reshape the inside of your cowboy boots, making them more relaxed and more comfortable for the foot.

Method 9: Use warm water bags

Another method of using heat to stretch cowboy boots is to use a warm water bag.

Get warm water in a small bag, and place it inside cowboy boots, leave it overnight. The next morning, you’ll see that your boots have been stretched.

Or you can use this method before you wear cowboy boots to go out.

Do not let the water overheat, it will adversely affect cowboy boots’ quality.

Method 10: Wear your cowboy boots many times

This is the simplest and cheapest way to stretch cowboy boots at home.

New cowboy boots will need time to stretch to fit your feet. Wear your boots several times a week (5 or 6 times a week) and walk around your home.

In about 1 to 2 weeks, your cowboy boots will stretch. The leather around the calf, heel and foot,… of cowboy boots will be adjusted to fit your foot, heel and calf.

Tip: You should use extra thick socks when using this method.

Tecovas Boot socks

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

Things to keep in mind when stretching cowboy boots

  • If you use water methods to stretch cowboy boots, be sure to dry them with natural wind
  • If you use thermal methods, do not overheat
  • Don’t dip your boots into the water to stretch them, that will destroy your boots
  • Don’t wear boots while you sleep to stretch them, your feet will get hurt
  • After applying the above methods to stretch cowboy boots, give them a break. Your cowboy boots need time to stretch

How can I stretch my boots fast?

The above methods are methods that shorten the time to stretch cowboy boots.

If you want to know the ways to stretch cowboy boots fast, then we recommend these methods:

  • Use boot stretcher
  • Steam inside cowboy boots (can combine with boot stretcher and leave overnight)
  • Use boot stretcher spray (also can combine with boot stretcher and leave overnight)
  • Wear cowboy boots frequently during the day and week
  • Use the heat of the hair dryer
  • Take your boots to the boot repair shop

For the process, we have full instructions above, you can scroll up to read more.

However, don’t rush when stretching your cowboy boots, or you may destroy the leather of your cowboy boots.

And again, never stretch your cowboy boots by immersing them in water. The cowboy boots’ skin is very hydrophobic (except for Western work boots that are usually waterproof)

Besides, do not try to wear cowboy boots while sleeping, it’s no good for your feet.

Will rubbing alcohol stretch leather boots?

Alcohol may help soften cowboy boots, but won’t stretch your cowboy boots by itself. You must wear boots to stretch them.

Actually, using alcohol is a very popular stretching method.

First, rub alcohol on the surface of a cowboy boot to make it softer and easier to stretch.

After the alcohol is absorbed inside the cowboy boot, put it on for a while before they can relax.

This method will shorten the time you need to stretch cowboy boots, but the bottom line is that you still have to wear them (or use a boot stretcher).

How to stretch cowboy boots at home

Do boot stretchers really work?

Yes, boot stretchers really work.

Boot stretchers are tools used by many professional cowboy boot repair shops. They are very effective, and you can trust them.

However, boot stretcher tools from repair shops are usually quite expensive (approximately the price of a pair of cowboy boots).

If you have some cowboy boots, then you can use wooden boot stretchers because they are affordable.

If you are a cowboy boots collector, then you should use metal boot stretchers (the expensive type).

Before buying a boot stretcher, you should research which is best. Perhaps you should consult with people who have bought before you (if you buy online).

What is the best way to stretch leather?

Put them on, just put on your cowboy boots. That is the best way to stretch them – simple & effective.

Applying this method, your cowboy boots will stretch as you want and fit your feet perfectly.

Besides, in my experience, the next two effective methods are using a boot stretcher or boot stretch spray.

These are two direct methods to make cowboy boots stretch easily.

In addition, if you like using products available in your house, then you can take advantage of the steam from the kettle to stretch leather.

Other methods can shorten cowboy boot stretching time, but you need to be careful when applying them. Carelessness can lead to stretching your cowboy boots too much.

Besides, methods to shorten cowboy boots’ stretching time should only be used at first, when the boots are still stiff and tight.

Do not abuse non-specialized products for cowboy boots made from leather.

Do boots stretch over time?

Most boots and cowboy boots are made of leather. And yes, the leather will stretch over time. However, they only stretch to a certain extent.

Usually, cowboy boots will stretch a lot the first time if you wear them many times (or use the methods of stretching cowboy boots mentioned above).

Leather boots will stretch until they fit your feet and not stretch much after that.

Compared to conventional shoes, cowboy boots or boots have a longer stretch time. Because cowboy boots are very durable, strong and sturdy.

Because of these characteristics, we recommend buying cowboy boots that you feel comfortable from the beginning.

Does leather stretch when wet?

Yes, leather will stretch when wet, and will be damaged if it gets wet for too long. The method of using water to stretch cowboy boots is widely used.

What you need to remember here is that water will penetrate the pores of the leather and soften them. The weight of your body puts stress on the boots, making them expand more quickly.

One of the most common methods that cobblers often use to stretch leather cowboy boots is to use hot steam to soften the boots and then use a boot stretcher to speed up the stretching process.

Others like to spray their leather boots with water and walk in them until dry, this will speed up the stretching and molding process of cowboy boots.

However, everything has two sides, you should only use this method when cowboy boots are new and still hard.

After using the water method (instructions above) to make the leather softer and more stretchable, keep it dry with the natural wind.

Water is the formidable enemy of leather, so don’t let water and leather meet for too long, it is troublesome!

Before you leave

Probably no one will read these lines, but if you come across this paragraph, then we hope you can stretch your “stubborn” cowboy boots successfully.

In general, a lot of brand-new leather cowboy boots that you just bought won’t fit immediately.

Keep calm, don’t get angry and return them.

They take time to relax, and the methods we introduced above are the simplest and easiest methods to do at home.

Be patient with your cowboy boots, then they will bring the best experience that no other shoes or boots can give you.

Besides, cowboy boots are also very durable. With proper care, they can even follow you for more than 10 years.

Again, good luck!


Thursday 18th of August 2022

Hi how do I stretch the shaft of my boots? my calves are a little too big! Thanks!


Friday 19th of August 2022

Howdy, Kate!

We already have an article on this, you can see more here!


Tuesday 14th of June 2022

My shayanne boots hurt my toes otherwise they are very comfortable. Any suggestions? I love them and want to wear them more

Jay Gatz

Thursday 27th of April 2023


Howdy Sue,

I just finished this article on how to stretch cowboy boots at the toe box. I think you will need it.

Sorry for my late reply.


Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

My boots are tight on the top part of my foot close to my ankle. How do I stretch them.


Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

Hey Jen,

I have this one for you:

Please have a look! ;)


Monday 10th of January 2022

Thank you, thank you! I steamed my tiger shark and snakeskin python boots (they were 0.25 inches longer) a couple of times until the fit was like a glove. You can't tell me how happy you made me - I was actually considering selling them. All the best, keep up the good work!



Saturday 24th of December 2022


I overheated the inside of the python snakeskin boots, using our household kettle, and now the tops of the boots are creased and cracked. They are still usable, since I did use Obenauf's to soften them. Since they will be under my jeans I guess I will continue to wear them.

Caveat emptor.


Friday 25th of March 2022

Hi! This time, for a pair of slightly tight elephant boots, I am using the original recommendation - use the boots 5-6 times a week, for two weeks. With thick socks - Thorlos Maximum MCB (Military Combat Boot), check them out. Also, to condition and soften the boots, I used a double coat of Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP (Leather Preserver). I look forward to keeping you informed!


Monday 10th of January 2022

You are welcome, Amko!

I am very happy to contribute something to the cowboy boot world.

I'm pretty sure steaming is the safest way to make cowboy boots fit better.

Once again, thank you Amko!

Ben Lawson

Saturday 12th of June 2021

How can you stretch the inside heel area of a boot


Sunday 13th of June 2021

Hi Ben, I have 3 solutions for you!

First, you can steam the heel of cowboy boots with the steam from a kettle (or Clothes Steamer if you have one).

Steam will soften the heel of your cowboy boots, then wear them as usual (don't forget to wear socks). They will expand faster.

This is the method that cobblers often use.

The second way is to use boot stretch spray (method 8).

Spray it directly into the heel of cowboy boots and wear them with socks as usual. The heel of cowboy boots will stretch faster.

Don't worry about this spray making the leather darker, because you apply it on the inside :) .

The last method is to spay some warm water into the heel of cowboy boots and wear them as usual.

Don't forget to wear extra socks.

Warm water will make the leather softer and expand quickly.

Here are the 3 solutions that can work best for your case!

Alternatively, you can also use our methods 3 and 4.

I think those are effective home methods.