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Breaking In New Boots: A Boot Cobbler's Expert DIY

So you've searched the internet and found over 50 ways on how to break in new boots. You read that some guy's friend, had a cousin, who once broke in her boots by, (gasp) filling them full of water and freezing them. Now you're considering doing the same to your new $900 Alligator cowboy boots. Wait! Please! Let's put our heads together and think about this, OK? Take a deep breath and lets examine how to break in new boots in a better way.

Breaking in new boots is doing one thing, making them feel good on your feet. That's it. So the next step is to determine where they hurt your feet and fix that problem. It may be a simple solution or several more complex answers. Let's look at some boot problem areas and discuss some possible solutions.


Oh, and while we are at it, let me mention why I hate the frozen boot stretch answer. No Control! You can't make the boot stretch where you want it to stretch. It will give in the area of least resistance. Which isn't the spot your foots hurts, Martha. Put the bag of water down and walk away. Take a deep breath, and let's begin with some real answers. I've written most of these so you can DIY break-in your boots.


Problem: Boots are New

-Answer: First thing I do, with any boot I sell, is a flex-break-in. I recommend the following steps for every new pair of boots.Grab the boot and flex the sole repeatedly simulating the bending motion of your foot. I go one step further and flex the sole in a reverse action, too.


-Next, take your thumb and push in at the top of the heel counter in the back of the boot. This help soften and flexing the boot in this area also helps prevent heel slipping.


-Next, flex the shaft of the boot at the ankles. Do this a number of times just like you did with the sole.


-Push on the side seams from the inside of the boot and get them to flex outward. The boot has been laying in the box, and the seams have been growing teeth that will bite your ankles. Take the bite out your new boots by flexing the ankles out and away from your ankles.

Flex Break In


Problem: Boots are tight

-Answer: Stretch the area that are tight. Boots can be stretched in any area that is tight, that includes width, length, boot tops, raise toes, bump out for a bunion, really anywhere on the boot. See my blog post on Stretching boots for more information on stretching. >>CLICK HERE TO READ STRETCHING POST<<


-Stretching fluid is also an option, it can be found here >> CLICK HERE

Ariat Premium Boot Stretch


Problem: Boots are Stiff 

-Answer: Condition and work the leather. Use a good leather conditioner to make the leather more pliable and soft. We recommend Chamberlain's Leather Milk. It is safe for the majority of shoes. It soaks deeply into the leather which loosens and softens the leather fibers.


-The next step is to work the leather. By that I mean to flex and bend it repeatedly. Do the Flex breakin- shown above.


-If you don't mind darkening the leather a shade, then another great product is Bee Natural Rain and Snow. 

Condition the leather


Problem: Side Seams rub your Ankles

-Answer: Breaking in your boots with a Ball Bat (see video below) 


-So this is a technique I made up so that you can DIY fix it yourself. In my store, we have a machine that was made to do this. But, people keep asking how they can do it themselves. So, I thought about it, and this is what you can do.


-Whoa, Hang on, Breaking in your boots with a Ball Bat does not mean beating up your boots with a Ball Bat. I'm sure if your boots hurt you, you may want to hurt them back. But your boots just need some lovin'. Here is a little video on how to soften those side seams. The video also shows how to soften a heel. 

Painful Seams


Problem: Tight to get on

-Answer: Your boots are hard to get on because the instep or throat of a boot is too narrow. You have a couple of choices to help this problem. Stretching is the best answer. We have professional equipment that can open your boots up and make them easy to get on. Sometimes we add zippers to boots to make them easier to get on. But I have a DIY solution you can try. Stretching your boots with a ball bat. Watch the video to see how you can DIY stretch the  instep of your boots. 

Problem: Boot Tops are too tight

-Answer: Ok, this is one I haven't got a DIY fix for, or not yet. I'm working on it. So for now use a pro, we can stretch boot tops for you or even add some elastic in some extreme cases  - >>see this post <<


Of course sometimes its better to leave it to the professionals here at Boyer's bootnshoe. So remember, when looking for your next pair of new boots- if you buy from you can get your boots professionally broken in for free by our expert cobblers. 


>> Shop Boyers BootNShoe NOW! <<


Slim, The Boot Guy Slim The Boot Guy 

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Allie - February 11, 2024

I purchased some Uggs and because of a tight seam on the top of the boot, my foot will not go down into the boot. This seems to be an issue with Ugg boots, as I have read many others having the same issue. I do know if I could get my foot in the boot, they are the correct length. Is there anyway to stretch them with knowing the seam is the issue?

Tess - December 7, 2023

I bought a pair of very expensive leather calf boots, I just can’t seem to get my foot through the heel part…one foot is a struggle but the other won’t budge. I have the same boots in an ankle style and size( which have a zip) so I know they fit…how can I get my foot through?!

Ike - November 5, 2023

Hello. How do I stretch the toe raise in my new tough out boots?

Sam Orthman - October 6, 2023

Hi Boot Guy,
How does one keep that synthetic boot piping from cracking? And does one do once they started cracking. Some cracks are even 3/4 the way up the boot, but most are at the ankle. Thanks

Clarissa - July 15, 2023

Hello! I have boots I love that zip up the back and they only zip halfway. Can I stretch them to fit my calf?

Maria - April 26, 2023

HELP! The boots that I LOVE buckle around the ankle area giving them a slouchy look. Do I have too much room or not enough in that area? Otherwise they’re great!

Damon - March 25, 2023

I have the same problem Sarah I get my boots on and my feet have plenty of room they fit perfect but just getting it over my ankle is quite the struggle

Andrew - November 16, 2022

Soles on one isn’t flat

James - November 4, 2022

How often does the average person (Not cowboys) wear a certain pair of boots? Thank you.

Cheryl - October 29, 2022

Can I use the ball bat method on the instep of new ankle suede boots? These boots appear to be hand stitched across the top of the instep. Thank you.

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