13 Things on How to Break In Cowboy Boots & Easy Steps – 2021

Cowboy boots give a sense of fashion. But nothing is frustrating as getting a pair of new boots and then realizing they don’t fit well. Sometimes they can fit perfectly when you are trying them in the store. The moment you reach home, you realize your feet are a little uncomfortable in them.

For this reason, you may want to break in the boots and stretch them a little to fit. In this article, you will find various ways on how to break in cowboy boots without too much hustle.

How to Break In Cowboy Boots – Steps You Should Follow

Wear The Boots

You must get the correct size. The wrong size can be difficult to make fit no matter the various methods you try. Your feet get adapted to the boots only if you wear them. Wear them everywhere anytime and with time they will break in and fit you perfectly. This method however may take a pretty long time like weeks before the boots feet comfortable to wear.

Have the boots on at home for a few weeks to avoid getting blisters when you take a walk with them. You can try short walks outside as well and adjust the distance gradually until you are comfortable for longer walks. It will help you determine which areas you feel hurt.

To fasten the breaking-in process, wear the boots with a pair of socks, probably two. If you wear more than two pairs, it can get really painful.

Thick Socks

Instead of putting on the shoes with regular socks try thick socks. These will help stretch them slowly but you will achieve the results. Thin socks don’t help in breaking in boots as they don’t help with any stretching. Regular socks also do not prevent your feet from blisters. When you have achieved the stretch you want, you can always go back to your regular socks.

Use Heat Source

Effective sources you can use to heat the boots include a hairdryer or a steamer. Note that too much heat can damage it instead of fixing the problem. You risk burning the cowboy boots or even burning yourself in the process when proper care is not taken.


Have hot boiling water in a pot and place the boot over it. Hold the boot for 5 minutes over the steam and allow the moisture to rise over the shaft. When done, set the boot aside and allow it cool before wearing it. The inside of the boot will still be hot from the steam and you can get your foot burnt if not careful.

Ensure you only wear them after they have cooled. Walk in them for some time while to help loosen them and to adapt to your foot. It will stretch enough to fit you. You can also use a garment steamer. Wear them and let them completely dry while on your feet.


Using a hairdryer helps break in the boots by warming up the insides. Have the hairdryer plugged in and then heat the areas where you feel uncomfortable when you put on the boots. Doing this speeds up the process of creating room for your feet.

Wear the boots with some socks to avoid feeling the heat on your feet. Keep the dryer a few inches away from the boots and blow for a few seconds. You should be able to easily walk after this method. Keep walking with them for a few minutes before taking them out. Apply some conditions anytime you expose your boots to heat. 

Cowboy Boot Stretchers

For this method, you will need to use boot stretchers instead of the normal shoe stretchers. You do not try and break in the boots by wearing them when you have boot stretchers. Unlike your foot, these stretchers can stay inside for as long as you want them to. Apply some stretch spray inside the boot before placing the boot stretcher. Wipe with a clean cloth. Place the stretcher inside up to the toe box and open the bar from the other end. You can let it stay overnight or for a few days until it gets expanded to your liking.

Stretch Spray

Commercial products help with the situation if you run out of options. A boot stretch spray can help create enough room for your feet. It helps loosen the fibers on the leather material. Use a boot stretch spray. Spray it on the insides while holding it upside down and put them on immediately. 

Leather Conditioner

Apply a small layer of leather conditioner to soften the insides. Leather conditioners stretch the boots without necessarily bringing any damage to them. Using a leather conditioner also ensures the boots do not get affected by water when exposed. Find the right conditioner that won’t damage the boots.

Use Alcohol

Alcohol stretches the leather when you rub it in the areas. You can purchase alcohol from your local grocery store or wine shop. The alcohol will soften the leather and make it stretch. Rub in the inside of the boots with the alcohol or wine with some cotton wool. Allow it to evaporate and the shoes will be comfortable to wear thereafter. You can skip the conditioning par if you use rubbing alcohol.


Fill a zip lock or freezer bag with water, close it and place it inside the cowboy boot. The amount of water you fill inside should be able to fit the size of the boot. It should be placed on the areas where you feel it needs stretching. Do not fill water to the brim and seal the bag and countercheck for any leakage.

Before placing the freezing bag inside, ensure you leave one corner of the bag open to remove excess air and for it to fit the end. Let it reach the end of the toe box as well and seal the entire bag. Ensure the Ziplock bag does not leak otherwise it will damage the boots. Keep it in position with some old newspapers.

Place the boots inside a freezer and allow them to refrigerate overnight. As the water in the bag turns into ice, it stretches the boot as it relaxes it. After it has frozen, allow the boots to thaw for a few minutes before removing the freezing bags. Fit it in to check if it is not tight anymore.

Submerge in Water

Water can bring damage to the boots if left for too long. You do not want to spend a lot of money buying new boots and then end up ruining them within a few days. Fill a bucket with or the bathtub with lukewarm water. Dunk the boots in the water and be careful to not let water get inside. Remove the boots from water when the insoles are starting to get wet. 

Wear them while wet and let them dry while on your feet. Water can crack up the leather, condition them when dry to protect them from damage. This method requires you to repeat several times for you to get the desired stretch. Wet shoes will mold to your foot when getting dry. Apply conditioner meant for boots to protect the leather.

Use a Spoon

One’s kitchen can never miss a spoon. It can be very useful to use it to imitate the motion of your heels when you walk. Use the round side of the spoon (convex) and rub it inside the shoe where the heel sits. Rub the other spots in the boot to soften it. You do not have to be gentle with it if you want efficient and faster results. Vigorous scrubbing can also scratch it.

Seek Professional Help

When all these fail to work or do not work effectively, a professional can be of great help. Professionals know what they are doing and they will help you break in cowboy boots faster. They have all the needed knowledge to expand various types of shoes. Ensure you get the right cobbler who deals with boots. It may seem a bit expensive hiring one but it is worth it if you want a comfortable walk.


These steps are some of the ways on how to break in cowboy boots. Boots expand when you apply pressure to them. Leather requires time to stretch but once expanded it’s difficult to go back. It is therefore important to go slow with the break-in process until you create the room you want for your foot.

One can decide to either break in the cowboy boots while wearing them or without. Your cowboy boots should be good to walk on without feeling hurt.

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