You may wear steel-toe boots every day, and you might not be able to imagine your life without them, but you know that there are risks associated with wearing these sturdy shoes for extended periods of time. These risks include permanent weakening of the metal on the outside of your boots due to repeated stretching and possibly even an injury if you do it wrong.
Table of Contents
- 13 Ways to Stretch Work Boots
- Using a Broomstick
- Freezing The Boots
- Using Oil
- Freezing Water Zip Locks Expands the Toe and Heel Area.
- Using Hydraulic Press
- Use a Blow Dryer
- Heat from Hair Dryer to Heat The Leather Work Boots
- Stretching Spray
- A Steel Boot Stretcher
- Rubbing alcohol
- Wearing Thick Layers of Socks
- Put Them On In Short Intervals
- Using Wet Towel
- Fill the Boots With Newspaper
- Why Stretch Steel Toe Boots?
13 Ways to Stretch Work Boots
Everyone knows that work boots will stretch with use. But did you know there are a lot of other ways to stretch them? Here are thirteen methods, from the tried and true to some more creative options. You should give at least one or two a try before buying new boots!
Using a Broomstick
Stretching your work boots is a common chore that many people find unpleasant. However, there are some things you can do to make the process more enjoyable and less painful for yourself. One of these ways is using a broomstick to stretch them out so they fit better on your feet.
This section will teach you how to use this method with step-by-step instructions so it’s easy for anyone to follow along with what needs to be done.
Step #1: Remove The Laces From Your Boots
To use this method, you need to start by removing the laces from your work boots. Then, just slide your feet out of your boots and set them aside for now.
Step #2: Insert One End Of A Broomstick Into The Boot
The first thing you’ll need to do is insert one end of a broomstick into one of your boots. Pick the boot you want and slide the stick down inside, making sure it’s going all the way up underneath the sole on that foot.
Step #3: Lay The Boot Flat With The Stick In It
Once you have one end of the broomstick in your boot, you need to lay the boot out flat on the ground. Then insert the other end of the broomstick into its corresponding boot, making sure they are both leaning over onto their sides with the brooms sticking straight up off of them.
Step #4: Tie The Laces Around The Broom Sticks
Now it’s time to tighten the laces around both broomsticks. Pick up each boot and, starting with the boot that has the brooms sticking out of it, wrap the laces all the way around them until they are completely tied off.
Step #5: Let The Boot Sit Tight For A While
Now all you have to do is wait a little while for the laces to tighten around the broomsticks and stretch out your boots. Let them sit tight for at least an hour before taking them down.
Step #6: Release The Tension In The Laces
Once about an hour goes by, go ahead and release the laces by removing them from the broomsticks. Then, take off your boots and check to see if they feel a little more comfortable on your feet.
Freezing The Boots
What you will need is : 2 plastic quart sized bags and towel or rug.
The method of freezing your work boots in plastic bags is a lot more practical for most people. It might not sound like the best idea when you first hear about it, but there are many benefits! Read on to find out more about this method and see if it’s right for you.
Step #1: Insert The Boot Into A Quart Size Bag
The first thing you’ll need to do is insert one of your work boots into a quart size bag. Make sure it’s completely inside so it fills the whole bag and zipper it up.
Step #2: Fill The Bag With Water And Zip It Tight
Once the boot is in the bag, you need to fill it with water. Don’t be afraid of overfilling it because the water will not spill out when it freezes solid! The last step is to zip up the top and seal it tight around your work boot.
Step #3: Place The Bag With The Boot In It On A Rug
Once you have your boot inside the plastic bag and filled with water, place it on a rug or towel. Then fold over the top of the bag and zip lock it so no water can leak out.
Step #4: Place The Bagged Boots In The Freezer
Now all you have to do is place the boots in your freezer with plenty of space around them. This will give them enough room to freeze without hitting against anything else.
Step #5: Wait About An Hour Before Taking The Boots Out
Once they are frozen, take them out of the freezer and let them sit for about an hour before trying them on.
Step #6: Try The Boots On And See If They Fit Better
Give the boots about an hour to thaw and they should be more comfortable by the time you try them on again. If not, let them sit in the freezer for a little longer and then try them on again until they fit better!
This is how to stretch your boots using oil.
- The first step is to place the shoes in water for 10 minutes, then drain the water out of them completely.
- Next, put a tiny quantity of oil in the boots and walk about the house for 10 minutes.
- Repeat step 2 twice more so you have done it three times total.
Any type of leather can be applied by this method, including full-grain leather, split leather, or corrected grain leather. It works by taking the natural oils in your skin and putting them on your shoes naturally versus using an artificial product as other shoe stretching devices do. It is best to use a neutral shoe stretching agent instead of oil because the oil will break down leather over time. Any type of leather can be applied by this method, including full-grain leather, split leather, or corrected grain leather.
Freezing Water Zip Locks Expands the Toe and Heel Area.
- Remove the insoles from your boots and place them in a freezer for 12-24 hours.
- Thaw out the insoles by placing them in a bowl of warm water (avoid boiling).
- Place an ice cube or two into each water ziplock and let that sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Put those zip locks onto the inside of your boot, where you’ve removed all of those inserts after they’re properly thawed and dried off with a towel or paper towel.
- Put a dry ice cube into each one of the zip locks you’ve just put in your boots and let them sit for about 30 minutes.
- You can now wear your boots around and do what you’d like, but if you’re trying to stretch the boots, try to walk around in them for about 20-30 minutes at a time.
- Every so often, add more dry ice to the ziplock and then leave them in the boot for another 20-30 minutes. Continue this cycle until you feel that they’re stretched enough to wear comfortably.
Using Hydraulic Press
This is how to stretch your work boots using an auger and a hydraulic press. Follow the same three steps as described in Using oil and apply an additional final step: Place a non-sharpened auger into the shoe and then place a hydraulic press on top of it with weight on top of that.
This process should be done 1-3 times, depending on how much stretching needs to be done. You can use this method for your work shoes regardless of how tight the shoe is or if they need to be taken in or stretched out. If you need to do this for a pair of boots, remember you will still want to stretch them out correctly after wearing them because leather can lose its natural oils, and it’s important to use a proper stretching agent and follow the process exactly as described above.
Use a Blow Dryer
Stretch work boots can be difficult to get on and off without help. The fabric is usually thick and stiff, which makes it tricky to get on. The boots are also usually stiff in the heel, which means that they may not stretch over time. Here’s how to help your work boots stretch with a blow dryer.
- Let the shoes cool off after heating them up, so you don’t burn yourself when you try to put them on.
- Take out laces completely so when you put on the boot, it will be more flexible than with the lace in place.
- Put the boots on your feet and place your hands underneath.
- Start stretching by sticking a blow dryer or hair dryer next to the leather. Using this heat source is very important – it’s what makes your work boots stretch. Turn it on to its lowest heat setting at first, and make sure that the hairdryer is strong enough to heat the shoes up slightly.
- Start by applying resistance from the inside of each boot, then move to an area where you have more resistance from the outside of each boot until you’ve stretched them as much as possible. You can take your shoes off if you need to, but remember to let the leather cool off again.
If this procedure fails, you may take your shoes to a cobbler, who may be able to stretch work boots for you. If the heels are stiff, try inserting shoe stretching pads or other insoles before putting on your work boots. You should also wear thick socks while doing this so that the blow dryer is less likely to burn your skin while it is heating up. Never wear another pair of socks or stockings over your work boots because they may catch fire from the heat of the blow dryer.
Heat from Hair Dryer to Heat The Leather Work Boots
- Insert your hairdryer on the left side of the boot. Pull out the excess air and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Turn heat to high and allow it to heat up until the boot becomes soft and pliable; this should take 20-30 minutes.
- Once it’s pliable, pull it over your foot and pull back on the tongue of the boot while holding firmly onto both sides while stretching out.
- Continue to tuck the tongue back into the boot, so it’s securely fastened.
The smaller you go with this step, the less time it will take to accomplish. After your boots are this size, you can go back and stretch them again if they are still too big for your feet.
Stretching Spray is an innovative solution that will help you expand your footwear. It is perfect for work boots, dress shoes, loafers, and any other type of shoe that requires extra space in the toe box. With this product, stretching your shoes has never been easier!
Here are some guidelines for using Stretching Spray:
- Put on protective gloves
- Spray the shoe twice per side until it’s saturated but not dripping wet.
- Allow the spray to settle in for 30 minutes without touching it or walking around in it
- Repeat with the second application of spray if necessary
- Wear the shoes again and repeat as necessary until the desired fit is achieved.
A Steel Boot Stretcher
A boot stretcher is a tool designed for making boots wider and keeping them that way. This can be used on different types of boots like work boots and hiking boots, but the idea is the same. The tools and materials needed to make this stretcher are A sheet of plywood [that is slightly bigger than your work boot]; Wood glue, and Screws.
- Get a sheet of plywood and a work boot. Cut a piece of plywood that is slightly bigger than the work boot. This is to hold the shoe in place when attaching it to the plywood
- After you’ve cut the plywood, glue it to your work boot with wood glue; make sure your work boots are up and centered on the plywood sheet before starting this step because it will help you form a better fit for your shoe when attaching it to the plywood.
- After you’ve attached both shoe and plywood together, sand to make the plywood smoother and shape it like a shoe.
- After sanding and shaping the work boot, you need to screw the plywood into the work boot because that is where your foot will go to keep it in place. You can use screws or nails if your shoes are leather or suede. If they’re not, use glue instead of screws/nails for this part
- Let the wood glue or nails dry completely before using the DIY stretching boot stretcher. Your work boots are now ready to be used; make sure you use them whenever you want to stretch your boots.
Rubbing alcohol can be used to stretch boots. When heated, the alcohol will cause the rubber to expand and release its tension. Depending on the boots, the alcohol will be used to stretch different parts of the boot.
- To start, find a clean pair of work boots that are not too old to use.
- Pour out enough rubbing alcohol in a wide bowl or shallow dish for your boots to fit in. Ensure that the solution is only about 4 inches deep and spread heavy-duty plastic wrap over it before heating over direct heat until it boils vigorously.
- Once boiling, turn off the heat and carefully place your rubber boots into the boiling liquid with their heels facing upwards so that they don’t stick together. Ensure that the heel of the boot is not immersed in the alcohol.
- Once their heels are submerged, cover them with a heavy-duty plastic wrap and put them aside for 2 hours.
- Allow cooling during this time.
- Once completely dry, take off your boots and place them in a slightly warm oven or by a heater for a few minutes to allow them to soften up again before wearing again.
This process will be repeated until they fit comfortably and do not fall apart halfway through your workday.
Wearing Thick Layers of Socks
- Place the foot of the work boot on a flat surface.
- Lift one side of the bootup and roll it over so that that edge is up by your knee. This should create a large enough opening for you to slide your hand down inside of it. If you have any trouble, grab two sides of the boot and lift them off the ground until they are high enough to loosen it open.
- Slide your hand down the inside of the boot, directly over the heel. This will stretch out the hardest area of the boot (where your foot is).
- Ensure that you are wearing thick enough socks to cover your ankle and calf. This helps reduce friction between your leg and the stretched material of the boot.
- Flip the boot back over so that it is standing upright on flat ground. Repeat this step with all four sides of all four boots, if needed. It is often best to do two sides at a time, as doing one side at a time can cause one side to become stretched out as you work on another side without noticing.
- Hit the stretch mark in the middle of the back of the boot. This will help break up any crinkles or creases that can form. Repeat steps one through seven on all four pairs of boots.
Put Them On In Short Intervals
Put them on in short bursts. You must wear your work boots for a brief length of time in order to stretch them. Ideally, it should be for a few minutes at a time every few hours. You can also try putting your boots on while you’re watching TV or going about other tasks that don’t require focus. I found that the best time was when I was on my lunch break from work so I could get them off and put them back on before the rest of my day started.
- Wear the new pair for about two hours,
- Then take off and leave them off for just a few minutes
- Put your work boots back on with socks on again.
Using Wet Towel
- First, put the wet towel on the floor and take off your work boots.
- Take off any socks and place them on top of the wet towel.
- Put your work boots on top of the wet towel, making sure to leave about 1 inch between the dry area and where you’re putting your work boots. The pressure from just this small amount of moisture will help stretch out those leather linings!
- Cover with a dry towel or sheet and put weights or heavy objects on it for at least 30 minutes.
- Unload anything that’s been sitting on there and rinse off with warm water before wearing it again. The tightness around your feet should be cut down quite a bit after a couple of uses!
Benefit: Using a wet towel is healthier for the leather and saves the user from having to drill holes in the work boots. Also, stretching your work boots before wearing them will greatly increase their lifespan.
Fill the Boots With Newspaper
- Remove both boots from the feet and put them on the floor with the toes facing up.
- Fold a newspaper in half and set it on top of one boot.
- Repeat step 2 using the second piece of paper for the other boot.
- Using your palms, press down on each side of one boot until you can feel it is sitting snugly inside its paper cocoon.
- Step 4 should be repeated for the opposite foot, and you should wait at least 30 minutes before putting your boots back on.
- Once the newspaper has been removed, do not wear boots with socks on for at least two hours. Remember to also allow your feet some time to re-harden after removing the boots.
Why Stretch Steel Toe Boots?
Steel-toed boots provide protection for the feet, specifically the toes, against injury. There are many objects at work that are capable of inflicting injury to the toes. The steel toe is designed to deflect impacts created by these objects away from your feet. The steel toe is also capable of absorbing any impact. They cannot deflect away from your foot. This is done through a process called metal bending or metal deflection, where the steel bends outwards before it starts transferring energy into your foot. This resistance can be optimized by stretching new boots using a boot stretcher device before wear and use in order to increase the life span of the shoe material and optimize its performance, as well as ensure correct fitment size.
How can I stretch my work boots?
It’s really easy to get your work boots to fit just right. If they’re a little too snug, you can break them in by wearing them for short periods of time every day. It only takes a few weeks for most people to have that “just right” feeling.
Will my work boots stretch out?
It depends. If you’re a normal, healthy person and your work boots are made of leather, then they’ll stretch a little. Leather is a natural product, and it adapts to the shape of the foot that wears it over time. There are lots of different types of leather out there, though, some more prone to stretching out than others. If you want to get the best resale value from your work boots, make sure you get leather ones made from quality materials.
How long does it take for boots to stretch?
That depends on how much you break them in and on how soft or hard they were when you got them: Just a couple of days to a few weeks.
How do I protect my feet from getting sore at work boots?
Keep a pair of insoles in your desk drawer. Your insoles shouldn’t make your boots too tight when you put them in. If they do, you’ll need to get some either thinner or more flexible ones to fit properly. To protect your feet from getting sore at work, you have a few options: Check your pair of boots in the morning before going to work. If they seem too tight or if they look uncomfortable in any way, take a look at a different pair for sale.
Another one is wearing socks during the day. If you wear cotton socks, be sure to wash them after each day of wearing them so that they don’t cause any discomfort or ingrown hairs. You could also try to find some soft, flexible insoles that will fit right between your toes and under your heels. These can help to relieve pressure on your feet and ankles while keeping out any water that may start to collect underneath the boot.
How do you break in leather boots?
This is a question that often baffles those who are new to the world of work boots. Unfortunately, leather boots can be expensive, and not all people have the time or patience to break in their footwear. Luckily, there are several ways to break in your work boots without having to put in a lot of effort yourself. One option for breaking your leather boots in is by wearing them indoors and out around the house before you go about your day outside. Leather will be stretched out and be more comfortable for you during wear at work or other activities.