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How to Break In Cowboy Boots: 12 Ways That Work Instantly!

How to Break in Cowboy Boots
Written by Benedikt Meyers
Last Update: August 23, 2023

It can be confusing to find the right size of cowboy boots. They always seem to have that uneasy feeling around the toes or on the heels, generally where your feet bend while you walk. They leave serious blisters or corns on your feet at the end of the day.

So you need to break in leather boots to feel comfortable wearing them. New boots can feel stiff and tight in the toe and heel area as they need to be stretched and eased into it.

Breaking in a cowboy boot with right tips and tricks will aid to avoid any discomfort or blister.

Before any of that, you should remember to buy them in correct size. If your boots are in wrong size, you cannot break in them.

How to Break in Cowboy Boots – 12 Different Ways

Break in Cowboy Boots

1. Wear them

You need to give your brand-new boots some time to adjust to your feet. Wearing them regularly will help loosen up your boots to your foot structure.

But first wear them inside your home. In this way, you can decide if you want to keep the boots or not, without getting any dirt on them. If you feel positive about keeping them, then you can wear them outside.

Wear your boots every day and walk in them for the next 2 to 3 weeks. Daily use will help stretch the leather, creating more space for your feet.

2. Wear Socks

Wear thick wool socks to break in boots. Socks help keep your body heat inside your boots that in turn help loosen up stiff leather naturally. Also, socks will prevent blisters on your toes and heels. You can wear double socks if you do not have thick woolen socks.

3. Use Leather Conditioners & Leather Stretcher Spray

Luckily there are leather conditioners and sprays that can help soften your pair in a short time while protecting the shine of the new leather. If you’ve picked a leather conditioner, spread a thin layer on your boots to make your boots soft and shiny. But be careful not to apply it inside.  Same as conditioners, leather stretcher sprays can help you to break-in your boots where need to be broken-in.

4. Use Cowboy Boot Stretchers and Boot Shapers

Your perfect-sized cowboy boots might feel stiff in the pinky toe or heel area. It can feel painful and uncomfortable to wear them. Use cowboy boot stretchers and boot shapers to stretch your new leather boots. There are cowboy boot stretchers and boot shapers in the market. Put them inside your boots and adjust the knots according to your fit. You should keep it inside your boot for at least 5 to 7 days. The leather and the stitches will loosen up with time and stay fixed.

5. Break-in leather sole of cowboy boots

The leather soles of the cowboy boots are slippery and need to be scratched. You can rub sandpaper on the sole to get better footing. Scuffing can also do the trick. Rub your cowboy boot outsoles on the concrete pavement to get off the glistening part.

6. Use a hairdryer

Use a hairdryer in low to medium heat to warm up your boots to break in. You can insert the cowboy boot stretcher or the boot shaper inside your boots and then provide heat with a hairdryer.

This process will loosen the stiffness of your boots and fix them in place. Do not use high temperatures as it will ruin the quality of the leather by drawing out all the natural moisture of the leather fiber.

7. Lace your boots lose & skip an eyelet

If you have high arches, they will always push against the top of your boots. To avoid frictions and blisters, skip one or two eyelets. It will elevate the pressure and create room to break in the boot leather. You can tie your bootlace loose to create space for comfort.

8. Spray alcohol and water mixer

Take a spray bottle and mix water and alcohol. Then spray the mist inside to soften the leather. But don’t soak the pair in water or alcohol because this might ruin your boots.

9. The steam inside your cowboy boots

Boil some water in a kettle and let the steam blow inside your boots. It’s a better alternative to water spraying as it heats the boots and gives moisture at the same time. After the steaming, you can stretch your boots by wearing them or by using stretching tools. Do not forget to dry your boots after steaming or else it will damage your boots.

10. Use boot trees

During monsoon or winter, you can keep boot trees inside your boots to stop them from shrinking.

Boot trees observe the extra moisture from cowboy boots. It keeps the shape of your boots perfect.

11. Use Ice

Another cool trick to break in your boots is to use ice. You need a plastic zip-lock bag filled with water. Then put it inside your boots and keep it in the refrigerator overnight to help soften the stiffness from the inside. The next morning you will have more room inside your cowboy boots.

12. Give your cowboy boots a break

Yes, you should give your cowboy boots a break. After all the stretching and scuffing, give it a day or two to rest. After all, leather is skin and it needs to breathe. Giving your cowboy boots some time to rest will boost the break-in process as it allows the boots to get in shape and stay in that shape.

2 Ways You Cannot Break in Your Cowboy Boots

1. Soaking into the water

If you soak your cowboy boots in water it will ruin the leather quality and shape of your cowboy boots. Leather cowboy boots can rot, warp, or shrink if they are soaked in water. Immediately air dry the pair if they are drenched.

2. Wearing the boots while sleeping

We do not recommend wearing boots at bedtime. It can cause serious injury to your feet. Overall it will do more damage than good.


1. Why do cowboy boots have slick soles & big heels?

Ans. Cowboy boots are designed for horse riders. Slick soles help to slide in and out of the saddle stirrups. Without slick outsole riders or ranchers can get into a serious injury. Likewise, the big angled heels are mechanized to lock the foot in the stirrup. It prevents any accidental slip while riding a horse.

2. How long does it take to break in cowboy boots?

Ans. It depends on the type of boots and methods you are using to break in your cowboy boots. It takes at least 5 to 7 days to stretch a boot. Some might take as much as 1 month to break in.

3. How do you break in boots fast?

Ans. The fastest way to break in your boots is to wear them regularly. You can wear with socks too. Walk-in your boots and rock back and forth to break in the cowboy boots. It stretches the leather naturally and softens the stitches. Spread the conditioner on your leather or spray leather stretcher for quick results.

About the author

Benedikt Meyers

Benedikt Meyers is an accomplished executive with significant experience in global sales and marketing, product development, and supply chain for the apparel and footwear industries. He’s a skilled relationship builder who has lived in Asia for 10 years and visited the world to develop key alliances with industry partners in order to meet production and supply demands in ever-evolving markets.

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