5 Ways to Break in Leather Boots with Ease

Leather boots

Have you ever been wearing a new pair of boots without breaking them in first? It's quite painful, isn't it? I've spent plenty of time wearing boots that weren't broken in and to be frank, I was fed up with it.

After a lot of research and trial and error, I have found the five easiest ways to break in leather boots with ease. If you've been wondering how to break in leather boots, you'll find cost-efficient methods that have step-by-step directions below.

How to Break in Leather Boots

I've included pros and cons with each method to make it as easy as possible for you to find the best method that fits your needs. Let's start off with the easiest and cheapest method.

Double Up on Socks

The first method that we are going to be covering today is the double sock method. Let's look at the pros and cons along with how to easily put this method to work.


  • It won't cost you anything
  • It takes almost no effort
  • There is no mess involved


  • Can be time-consuming
  • Can be painful at first

How it's done:

This method is pretty straightforward. You simply need to wear your cowboy boots with two pairs of socks. This will increase the height and width of your boot which helps to stretch and break in your new boots.

Doing this can stretch the cowboy boots up to an entire half size. One thing to note is that this method can cause a little pain.

This is due to the pressure from wearing two pairs of socks inside your boots. It is highly encouraged to wear no more than two pairs of socks per foot. Wearing more will not make this go faster and will cause more pain.

To make this method as easy as possible be sure to do it at the end of your day when your feet have already been warmed up.

The Underwater Method

I know what you're thinking and believe me, I was nervous to dunk a new pair of cowboy boots underwater. Surprisingly, submerging cowboy boots is a popular way to break them in.


  • Practically free
  • Makes your boots custom fit to your feet
  • Easy to accomplish


  • Can be quite messy
  • Boots take long to dry
  • Might be painful at first
  • Risk of leather fading


1. Make sure you have socks on. You can loosely tie a plastic bag around each foot to keep them dry.

2. Fill your bathtub or large plastic bucket with room temperature water.

3. Carefully place your cowboy boots in the water vertically so that water does not get inside the boot.

4. Use the pressure of your hands to push down on the sole to keep boots in place.

5. Slip your feet into the cowboy boots.

6. Carefully step out of the water and walk around as you normally would.

7. Wear the cowboy boots until the exterior is completely dry.

8. Finish by applying boot conditioning cream to lower the risk of fading or cracking

Getting Steamy

This is one of the easiest methods to break in your cowboy boots. It doesn't take much effort and for the majority of people, it's free.


  • It's free and/or inexpensive
  • Final product may be a custom fitting pair of boots
  • There's no mess involved.


  • Risk of leather fading
  • Drying time can take a long time
  • Might be painful


1. Just like the previous method, the first step is to have socks on.

2. You will then want to fill a tea kettle with water and bring it to a boil.

3. Once it is steaming, place the part of the boot you're wanting to break in in front of the steam and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds.

4. After you notice a bit more flexibility with the leather, put the cowboy boot on and walk around as normal.

5. Wear the cowboy boots until they are completely dry.

6. Finish by rubbing a conditioning product on the exterior of the boot to prevent any cracking or fading of the leather.

The Classic Method

The classic way of breaking cowboy boots in is to use a cowboy boot stretcher. It is incredibly convenient and doesn't require you to put water on your leather boots.


  • No water involved
  • Quick results
  • More control over results


  • It isn't free unless you already own a cowboy boot stretcher
  • This method stretches the toe box only which may be inconvenient for some


1. Spray shoe stretch spray to the interior of the cowboy boots

2. Place any required plugs into the slots on the toe block

3. Put the toe block all the way into the boot

4. Turn the handle of the expander clockwise to achieve a widening or stretching of the boot.

5. Keep the stretcher in the boot for seven to eight hours before removing it.

6. Turn the handle counterclockwise before removing the block

7. Slowly pull back and up to get the toe block out

Freeze Them

If you're a little nervous about dunking your cowboy boots into the water, you may enjoy the freezing method. Ice is formed by water expanding and freezing. Using this knowledge to break in your leather cowboy boots is easy and free!


  • It won't cost you anything
  • It's easy to do
  • There is less of a risk of fading or cracking the leather


  • Takes up a lot of space in the freezer
  • May take multiple sessions to get the desired fit
  • Can be time-consuming


1. Get a plastic bag that is at least one gallon in size

2. Fill this so that it is 75% full

3. Push all of the air out of the bag as you seal it shut

4. If you're worried about leaks, add another bag over the first one

5. Place the bag of water into your boot as far down as it can go

6. Put your boots in the freezer for eight to 10 hours.

7. Take boots out of the freezer and allow the ice to thaw

8. Once completely thawed, remove the bags from the boots

9. Put on to see how they fit and check whether or not you need to repeat steps one through eight again.

frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: How long does it take to break in leather boots?

A: Depending on the method you use, it could take 24 hours to two weeks. If you're wearing the boots as you normally would, this will take about two weeks.

If you're in a time crunch, the methods above will help break the boots in as quickly as possible

Q: Is it okay to oil brand new leather boots?

A: Oiling new leather boots is pointless. It will be a waste of your time and a waste of oil. New boots are already oiled and conditioned.

You shouldn't need to oil new boots unless you've gotten them from a thrift store or they are second hand and new to you.

Q: Why do I need to break in leather boots?

A: Breaking in leather boots is by no means necessary. If you want to avoid blisters and hours of painful wear, it's in your best interest to break in the boots before wearing them daily.

Wearing them daily from the get-go will break them in naturally over time. It's just more time consuming and painful.

Q: Are there any ways to break in new leather boots in a matter of minutes?

A: I've definitely had days where I'm in a time crunch and need to break in a new pair of boots. There isn't a way to perfectly break in your boots in just a few minutes.

With that being said, you can temporarily provide relief by applying heat using a hairdryer to the boots while you're wearing them.

Q: Do I have to break in every pair of leather boots I buy?

A: You don't have to go out of your way to break in leather boots. You've read that they will naturally break themselves in with extended use. If you buy boots that are snug on you, they will require applying one of the methods of breaking them in.

On the other hand, if you buy leather boots that are a little big on you, the breaking in time will be a lot less.

Bottom Line

Breaking in your new pair of leather boots can be time consuming and painful. This can easily be avoided by trying one of the tried and true methods listed above. Whether you're brave enough to submerge your boots underwater or you want to stick to the safe route of steaming, your new boots will be comfortable to wear in no time!

Remember that some of the methods above may take multiple tries to get them broken into your liking. I hope that you learned something new and found a method that you can try for yourself and share it with friends!

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