You've just recently pulled your favorite cowboy boots out of storage, and they don't quite look like they used to. They're a little faded, the leather is warped, and the shape doesn't seem quite right. To make things worse, they don't fit like they used to.
What happened to your boots?
Leather can be a sensitive material. If you improperly stored your favorite cowboy boots, they might have changed shape. This is even more likely if they’ve been in storage for a long time.
Sadly, this occurance is all too common.
Humidity, excess heat or cold, and sunlight are all factors that could change the shape or appearance of your boots. If this is the case, you’ll need to repair your boots before you can wear or display them again. Here’s how to reshape your cowboy boots after long-term storage.
How To Shrink the Boots
If the boots have stretched out over time, you’ll need to shrink them before you can wear them out and about again. First, you’ll need to soak the boots completely. A tub usually works best for this, but a large bucket can work just as well.
Completely submerge the boots in water. Leave them to soak for about an hour to ensure that the leather is fully saturated. Meanwhile, pick a pair of socks that fit you well, and soak those too. Wring them out well to remove all the excess water.
Pull on your wet socks and boots. It may be difficult, but you should be able to get them on. Wear your boots until they dry. This will be unpleasant, but you’ll end up with boots that fit your feet perfectly. If you’d prefer, you can also stuff the shoes with wet rags and allow them to dry. However, the resized boots will not get fitted precisely to your foot.
Note: This shrinking method relies on getting your boots wet. Because water can damage leather boots, it is crucial that you follow the care steps listed in this article immediately after shrinking them. Otherwise, you risk ruining the leather.
How To Stretch the Boots
Stretching a pair of too-small boots is even simpler than shrinking them. Fill two gallon-sized durable plastic food storage bags one-third of the way full of water. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bags tight. You do not want the water to contact the leather directly.
Place the bags of water into your boots. Make sure that they are only in the area of your boots that need to stretch. If the calf of your boot is too tight, but the foot fits well, stuff the foot area with newspaper and put the bag of water in the calf of the boot.
Place your boots in the freezer for at least eight hours. The water will expand as it freezes and stretch your boot.
Remove your boots from the freezer. DO NOT pull the bags of water out right away. You will damage the boots. Allow them to thaw for at least 20 minutes or until the bags have softened. Gently remove and discard the bags.
Enjoy your newly stretched boots!
How To Remove Wrinkles From Boot Shafts
Over time and due to extensive wear, boots can develop wrinkles along the shaft. This gives them a slouchy appearance and can cause some discomfort against your ankles. Here’s how to fix those annoying boot wrinkles.
First, you’ll need a spray bottle full of clean water. Use this to dampen the inside of the boot shafts. Do not wet the foot portion of the boot, as this could result in shrinkage.
Now that your boots are damp, you’ll need something to stuff the boots with. You could use rolled-up magazines or even a large Gatorade bottle. Anything will work if it fills the boot shaft enough to keep the leather taut while it dries.
Allow the boots to dry completely. In the future, use boot savers or your rolled-up magazines to keep your boots upright while in storage. This will prevent them from wrinkling in between wears.
How To Care for Your Boots After Reshaping
Now that you’ve successfully reshaped your boots, you’ll need to properly care for them to ensure they look and feel their best. Wipe the leather gently with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dirt. Let the boots dry completely. Then, apply a leather conditioner with a clean, dry rag.
Leather conditioners restore moisture and suppleness to leather goods. Apply the conditioner in small, circular motions. If the boots continue to feel dry to the touch, you may need to apply a second coat of conditioner.
Finally, apply a coat of leather polish, just like you applied the conditioner. Leather polish adds a layer of protection, keeping your boots safe from scratches, debris, and the elements. Repeat this care regularly to keep your boots looking their best.
How To Store Your Boots Properly
If you need to return your boots to storage, it’s best to do so correctly so that you don’t have to repair them again in the future. Here are some essential things to keep in mind when storing leather boots.
Give your boots plenty of space. You want to ensure that you stuff them with newspaper or a shoe tree to retain their shape and store them in a large enough box. Jamming or contorting your boots to fit them in a smaller box will cause them to lose their shape over time.
Store the boots in a dark, temperature-controlled environment. The air should be cool and dry. If you live in an area with high humidity, you may need to store your boots with a silica gel packet to remove any extra moisture from the air.
At Country View Western Store, we’re proud to sell top-of-the-line men's country boots in all different styles and varieties. If you’re looking to add to your collection, take a moment to check out our stock. After all, can you ever really have too many pairs of great cowboy boots? We think not.