6 Ways to Break In Cowboy Boots

Do you have a new pair of suave cowboy boots?

Is wearing them an earth-shuttering battle of twisting your feet and pulling the boot flaps?

You are not alone!

Most people who wear a pair of cowboy boots have a hard time breaking them in for the first time.

These shoes are designed to be stiff and sturdy, with several layers of leather stacked together, making them pretty difficult to wear.

The good news is that it is possible to rock your cowboy boots with little to no fuss.

In this article, I will explain several tips and tricks on how to break in cowboy boots.

So, let’s dive in!

How to Break In Cowboy Boots

Method 1: Freeze the Boots

I know suggesting that you freeze your new boots sounds over the top and horrifying. But, you can rest assured that leather boots hold up pretty well to cold.

Besides, the freezing process happens very slowly. There is literally no risk to your shoes.

So, how do you break in cowboy boots fast?

Start by filling two plastic Ziploc bags with water. Be sure not to trap air in the bags.

Next, insert one water bag in the toe of each boot. Don’t push the bag too much into the toe as it could break, and get your boots wet.

Now, stuff the rest of the boot with kitchen towels or other unused pieces of clothing. This helps to keep the water bags in the toe box.

Place the boots in a plastic container and pop them in the freezer.

If you don’t have a plastic container your boots can fit, you can place the boots directly in the freezer.

As the bags of water cool and expand, they will also expand the leather. Leave your boots in the freezer for 8 to 12 hours for the best results.

If you still cannot break into your boots, repeat this process to expand the shoes further. After this, it will be super easy to slip in and out of your boots.

Method 2: Stretch the Boots With A Shaper or Stretcher

Stretch the Boots With A Shaper or Stretcher

If you are new to cowboy-boot-wearing, an excellent investment to make is on a boot stretcher and shaper.

A boot stretcher helps expand the toe box, and a shaper stretches out the shaft, inset, and heel area.

These affordable tools can take the fuss out of breaking into your new boots.

The stretcher is shaped like a toe and has a long knob. When turned clockwise, the knob controls the toe-shaped structure stretching it out as needed to expand the boot’s toe box.

The shaper works the same way, but it is primarily used to stretch out the boot’s shaft.

The shaper works best with brand new boots. Older boots might get wobbly if you try to break them with this tool.

All in all, use a boot shaper and stretcher occasionally. Prolonged and excessive stretching can distort the shoes’ shape.

This is obviously not the outcome you want for your favorite boots.

Method 3: Wear Thick Boot Socks

Wear Thick Boot Socks

If freezing your boots doesn’t appeal to you, and you don’t want to buy additional equipment, you can try breaking in your boot using thick socks.

This is not the fastest way to break in cowboy boots, but it works.

The idea here is to wear thick socks or layers of several regular socks. The sheer volume of the socks will gradually stretch the leather.

Eventually, you will easily slip in and out of the boot wearing a single pair of your favorite socks.

I recommend wearing thick socks and boots and walking around to get all parts of the shoe to really stretch.

Try climbing up and down a flight of stairs to expand the toe box, inset, and heel.

Place the widest part of the boot’s sole on the edge of a staircase and sway the footwear back and forth. This also helps to stretch out the boot’s upper part.

Even if you aren’t walking around much, you can use your downtime to burst those boots.

Take advantage of the time you are working at your desk, couch surfing, or running errands around the house to stretch the shoes using your thick socks.

Method 4: Make Your Boots Supple Using Leather Conditioner

Leather conditioning products infuse moisture into the boots, making them less stiff and easier to wear.

Suppler leather boots will also adhere to your foot faster, preventing blisters and pressure spots.

Use a clean rag to apply the conditioner. Apply a small amount using small circular patterns to cover the entire boot evenly from the shoe box, inset, and heel, all the way to the shaft.

Put the shoes out to air-dry for a few hours. You can then walk in them to help your foot conform to the structure of the boots.

Condition your boos quarterly or every six months. Excessive conditioning will get the boots too moist, causing them to sag and lose their shape.

Method 5: Soften the Boots Using Direct Steam

Another way to expand your leather boots is using the steam method. It is inexpensive and gets the job done.

You will need a kettle for boiling water or a garment steamer. Bring the boot close for the steam to enter the inside of the boot.

Hold the shoe in this position for about 30 seconds, allowing the leather to take in the hot moisture.

Now, use your fingers to press the boot, especially around the toe box, inset, and heel areas. Also, check the shaft for firmness.

If the shoe still feels firm, expose it to the steam for an additional 30 seconds.

The moisture should make the boots suppler and easier to wear. You can then slip into your boots and walk around in them.

If possible, keep the boots on until they dry for your feet to conform to the shoe. If this isn’t possible, wear the boots until they cool and then put them out to air dry.

Alternatively, after steaming, you can insert a boot stretcher or shaper to keep the leather stretched until you are ready to wear the boot.

Pro Tip: Avoid drying your boots using direct heat as it will stiffen and damage the leather.

It helps to apply leather conditioner to the boots once they dry. This will keep the leather supple and in tip-top condition.

The steaming method is low cost and can help you break in cowboy boots.

The only down side is excessive steam can wear out the look and feel of the leather. For the best results, avoid oversaturating the boot with hot moisture.

Method 6: Soak the Boots in Water

I recommend submerging your cowboy boots in water as a last resort. Excessive water can have the opposite effect, causing the leather to dry stiff.

The idea here is to get the wet boots to dry and conform to the shape of your feet. Just be sure not to only moderately soak the shoes.

Run a lukewarm bath and submerge your boots in an upright position in the tub. Insert your hand, pushing the insoles down to keep the boot from floating.

Remain in this position for the shoe to absorb some water. Once the insoles start feeling wet, take the boots out of the water.

Slip on your thickest socks or layers of socks and wear the wet boot. The wet boots are supple and expandable, and the thick socks help with this.

This method works well to free up space in your boots when done well. The leather fibers absorb water and expand, allowing you to slip into the boot easily.

The boot will fit perfectly once it dries on your foot.

Summary: How To Break In Cowboy Boots

Nothing is more disheartening than struggling to fit in your favorite cowboy boots, just when you need to the most.

Luckily, there are several inexpensive and effective ways to break in cowboy boots. Moisture can go a long way in creating extra space in your shoes but be careful not to oversaturate the leather.

You can avoid a lot of pain and inconvenience by finding the right size footwear in the first place. I know this can be challenging, as every brand fits differently on each person’s feet.

My advice is to try out several brands before buying. You will find one that builds shoes for your type of feet.

I hope this guide on how to break in cowboy boots has been helpful. Remember to treat your boots well with conditioning and proper storage, and your boots will treat you well in return.

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