How To Stretch Out Your Fave Too-Tight Leather Boots

A good pair of leather boots is one of those classic staples that just never seems to go out of style, but if you've ever been faced with a brand new pair of Dr. Martens or trendy sock booties, you know there's a downside to the durability and resilience of the material: its stiffness. Luckily, leather is a natural material that will gradually stretch to fit your feet over time, but that doesn't mean it can't be a painful and annoying process during your first few wears.


Thankfully, there are ways to stretch your boots manually and help speed up the time it takes to break them in. All it takes is a few simple materials — leather conditioner or spray, a hairdryer, newspaper — and a little patience. By putting in some work before you take your boots out on the town, you can save yourself from the dreaded blisters and sore feet that new shoes can often bring.

Prepping the leather

Stretching out your leather boots should always start with proper preparation, and in this case, all that means is a little conditioner. Leather is a naturally pliable material, but it will stretch much more easily if it's properly hydrated. Head to your local shoe store, or even Target, and pick up some leather conditioner or stretch spray. This is great to have on hand if you want to clean and maintain your leather pieces over time, but in this case, it makes the leather softer so you can mold it to your foot (via Overlook Boots).


Make sure to read the directions on the package and spot test to ensure the conditioner you chose doesn't rub off the stain or finish on your leather, then either spray or apply to your boots with a soft rag. Wipe off the excess, then slip on your boots for a few minutes to allow them to stretch. Sometimes this is all your shoes need to properly fit, but if you're still having issues, move on to the next step.

Apply heat and stretch

If you're noticing specific problem areas in your shoes — maybe the toe box is too tight, or they're stiff around the ankle — turn to your trusty hair dryer. Put on your boots and gently heat the area you're having issues with for around thirty seconds, making sure to keep the tip of your hair dryer a few inches away from the leather. This should help relax the leather further and give you some more wiggle room.


If you're still facing issues with the entire shoe, however, this process might take some more time. Shoe stores sell inserts that can help stretch and maintain the shape of your boots, but this process works just as well with some newspaper in a pinch. Tightly stuff your new boots, then apply heat the same way you would if they were on your feet. Let them sit overnight, and by the morning, they should be considerably less stiff and tight on your feet. You can repeat this process multiple times until you achieve the perfect fit, but be careful to condition regularly and use heat in moderation as to not encourage cracking or drying out of the leather.