How to Shrink and Stretch out Leather Boots

So you bought a great pair of leather boots for a steal of a price, but now that you have them at home, you realized that they don't fit quite right. A pair of boots that is a few sizes off is likely a lost cause, but if your boots are only off by a half size or so,  there are a few tricks that you can try to shrink or stretch them to your needs.

Because leather is a natural material, it can be manipulated by using things such as extreme temperatures or firm, gentle stretching. Before you write your ill-fitting boots off as a loss, try these instructions for how to shrink leather boots (or how to stretch boots to your size).

How to Shrink Leather Boots

If your boots are too large, you'll need to shrink them as much as possible  -  and, in the process, mold them to the specific shape of your feet. Here's how.

  1. FILL WATER BUCKET

    Fill a large vessel with lukewarm water. A bathtub will do, but a large bucket or even your barn's wash basin are also good alternatives.
  2. SUBMERGE BOOTS

    Completely submerge the boots in water. While water has the potential to damage leather, if you take the necessary care steps after this process is through, you'll be able to keep them looking flawless.
  3. ALLOW BOOTS TO SOAK

    Leave the boots in the water for approximately one hour to ensure that they are completely saturated.
  4. SOAK SOCKS

    Soak a pair of well-fitting socks in water until they are entirely saturated.
  5. PUT ON WET SOCKS AND BOOTS

    Put the wet socks on your feet, and then put your boots on over that. It may take a bit of wiggling to get the wet footwear on your feet, but it is possible.
  6. WEAR UNTIL DRY

    Wear the wet boots and socks all day, or until the socks are completely dry. As the leather dries, it will shrink to the shape of your feet. The socks will provide protection against the tightening leather.

How to Stretch Leather Boots

If you're faced with the opposite situation and your boots are a bit too small, it's also possible to stretch them gently without damaging the leather itself. Follow these steps to find out how.

  1. FILL BAG WITH WATER

    Take a gallon-sized plastic food storage bag and fill the bag about one-third of the way full with water. Squeeze as much of the air out of the bag as possible before sealing it shut. Make sure that you choose the most durable bags possible, as water can cause quite a bit of damage if it comes into contact with the leather.
  2. INSERT BAG INTO BOOTS

    Place the bag inside of your boot in the area that needs to stretch. This is especially simple if the toe or heel (or both) need to stretch, but if it's the calf portion of the boot that is too small, try stuffing balled-up newspaper into the bottom of the boot to position the bag of water properly.
  3. PLACE BOOTS IN FREEZER

    Place the boot in the freezer and let it sit overnight, or for at least 8 hours. As the bag freezes, it will expand in size and stretch your boot.
  4. THAW ICE BEFORE REMOVING

     Thaw the ice bag before removing. This is especially important, as attempting to pull the frozen bag out may cause damage to your boots. Let it thaw for approximately 20 minutes before removing it gently.

Remember, if you purchase a pair of boots online from Langston's in the incorrect size, you can always exchange them for the correct size with our free, no-hassle return policy.