How to Stretch Leather Boots : 4 Methods You Can Use

How to Stretch Leather Boots 4 Methods You Can Use

Knowing stretching leather boots is necessary if they feel too tight. You’re probably wondering, how can these be tight when you’re certain they’re the right size? That’s why you must know the material is naturally tight when new.

Fortunately it’s not that hard to stretch out leather boots. In this guide we’re going to explain step by step solution. We are going to look at the various options, and there are also methods here that you can use only for leather shoes of all types.

Why and When Do You Need Shoe Stretching?

Stretching is necessary if your footwear is too tight to wear. Tight shoes are not only uncomfortable but could lead to foot injuries. By stretching the leather, it’s going to feel more comfortable, not mention increase its lifespan and durability.

Often it isn’t enough to just stretch the toe area, as you also need to stretch the calf section.

Stretch the Calf of Leather Boots

Do leather boots stretch? Yes, they do, but only if you do it right. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Wear thick socks: This is very good method. Just wear thick socks and walk around your boots for as long as you can. If the leather is really stiff, wear double socks.
  2. Use leather stretch spray: There are various sprays sold online for different purpose. You just need to use stretching spray to the boots’ interiors and wear it after a few minutes. But you have to be careful about using these because it could lead to discoloration.
  3. Use a calf stretcher: This is a device built specifically to stretch this section of a boot. Just pull the boot so the calf part fits in the boot. Stop when you’re at the boot’s ankle to prevent distortion of the other areas.

Turn the crank up and open the wedge. Leave the boot on the calf stretcher for a few minutes. Repeat the process with the other boot. Wear the boots and walk around them for a while.

How Much Do Leather Boots Stretch?

The best way to stretching your leather boots is to use the break-in method as suggested by the shoes. If there’s nothing recommended, you can learn to stretch new leather boots using the methods given here. But it does beg the question of how much you can stretch leather boots.

If you research, you’ll notice that most don’t say anything about this. The reason is it varies according to the leather material and the shoe’s quality. And it’s not really as important as just feeling comfortable with the shoes or boots, regardless of how much it stretches.

Stretching Techniques For Leather Boots : 

There are those who’ll tell you there is no single way and maybe they’re right. Like if you want to know how to stretch out suede boots or nubuck boots your methods will not be the same.

So, whatever be the case , we will take a look at the top options here.

Method 1: Freezing


  • Re-sealable plastic bag
  • Water
  • Freezer

Steps are following :

  1. Fill the re-sealable plastic with water, about half full.
  2. Squeeze the plastic bag to eliminate as much as air out of it as possible.
  3. Put the sealed plastic bag in the boot. Make certain the plastic bag fills the boot, i.e. it presses the area that you want to stretch.
  4. Place the boot in the freezer.
  5. Repeat this with the other boot. Leave both boots in the freezer overnight.
  6. Take the boots out of the freezer. Let the ice thaw for about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the plastic bag from each boot. Wear the boots and repeat the process if it’s not stretched enough.

Method 2: Heating


  • Your thickest pair of socks
  • Hairdryer
  • Oil conditioner

Steps are :

  1. Wear the socks. If you don’t have a tight pair, wear two pairs of socks.
  2. Put the boots on (it’s going to be tight).
  3. Turn the hair dryer on, set to “high” and heat the areas that you want stretched. Each area should be hair dried for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn the hair dryer off. Keep your boots on until they cool down.
  5. Remove the boots and socks after cooling. Check the fit. Repeat if the boots are still tight.
  6. Apply oil conditioner once the shoes are a right fit.

Method 3: Commercial Stretch Sprayers


  • Any Commercial stretch sprayer

Follow these steps.

  1. Research the product and read the product label. Use only as directed.
  2. Spray a small, discreet area on the boot. Some light colored leather boots get discolored when spray is applied to them. If there’s no discoloration, spray the areas that need to be stretched.
  3. Spray from a distance of 5 inches from the surface. Allow the leather to absorb the spray solution for 30 seconds.
  4. Wear the boots and walk around it. Get a feel for it and if it feels comfortable. If it isn’t, repeat the process above.

Method 4: Boot Stretcher


  • Boot stretcher

Follow these steps.

  1. For the best results you’ll need a boot stretcher and a calf stretcher. A boot stretcher is used to stretch the foot area while the calf stretcher is for the calf section.
  2. Do not confuse a boot stretcher with a shoe stretcher. Boot stretchers come with a lengthy handle so you can still use it in spite of a boot’s high sides. If your boots are ankle height, a shoe stretcher will do.
  3. Place the boot stretcher in the boot.
  4. Once in the boot, open the wedge by turning the handle. This will push the wedge and stretch the toe section.
  5. Keep the wedge in that position for a few minutes. Turn the handle to bring the wedge back to its original position.
  6. Repeat the process for the other boot.

​Frequently Asked Questions

Question:How can my canvas shoes to be stretched ?

​Answer: ​Hold the shoe and bend it back and forth, side to side, gently. Avoid bending too quickly as it may damage the shoes. Wear socks and put the shoes on. Stand on your toes for a few seconds and then bend your soles. Repeat the process several times. You can also walk around your house several times a day to accelerate the break-in.

Question:Is it possible to stretch shoes with ice?

Answer: ​Get a Ziploc bag or any other re-sealable bag and half fill it with water. Put this inside the shoe, ensuring it is a snug fit. Repeat the process with the other shoe and put both in the freezer for at least 8 hours or the water turns to ice. When the water has frozen, remove the shoes from the freezer. Let the ice thaw and take the bags out of your shoes. Try the shoes on. If it still feels a little tight, repeat the procedure.

Question:Stretch shoes with alcohol, Possible?

Answer: ​Pour 70% alcohol solution in a spray bottle. Don’t use a higher concentration level because it might damage the leather. Shake the bottle a little and spray the boots. Spray only the areas that have to be stretched. Spray enough of the alcohol some boot gets damped. Let the alcohol rest for 30 seconds on the boots.

Put the boots on even if they’re still wet. Keep the boots even when they have dried out. Remove the boots and try it again after a few hours. Repeat the procedure if the boots still feel tight.

Question:How to loosen your shoes with newspaper?

Answer: ​Gather some newspaper and dampen them with water. Stuff them in your shoes and leave it there for several hours. Remove the newspapers and let your shoes dry. Try them on.

Question:How to fast stretch leather shoes?

Answer: ​Of the methods we have discussed here, the boot stretcher is the fastest method. You just insert it in the boot, turn the handle and it will stretch your boots or shoes. However you need to be careful so as not to damage the leather.


As this guide has shown, stretching leather work boots is not that difficult. Even if you don’t know how much will your boots stretch, you’ll still be able to make those boots fit using any of the methods we have provided here.

Just keep in mind that some footwear are required to use specific methods to stretch them. Follow any instructions provided, but if there is none, the methods above will do. Just use any of these methods and your boots – or shoes - will fit nicely.