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How to Break In Your Cowboy Boots: Quick and Easy Ways

Horse riding under the unforgiving sun, dust all around and under. All this sounds theatrical but in reality, this is what cowboys faced day in and out. While we can’t commit to the strenuous lives of cowboys, we can take a page out of their book; the one about cowboy boots.

Keeping the harsh weather, and terrain conditions in mind, cowboy boots were the ideal leather shoes for cowboys. Men’s fashion nowadays consists of several different types of boots, but nothing comes close to cowboy boots. 

These boots are resilient, durable, and iconic. The downside of these boots is that they have a rough exterior inside and out. Which basically means that they are not the most comfortable shoes out there. 

Why You Need To Break Into Your Cowboy Boots 

Why You Need To Break Into Your Cowboy Boots 

Cowboy boots are made of a tough leather exterior, with a high or semi-high heel. Unlike other types of shoes, the long shaft boot doesn’t exactly scream comfort. 

Even if you don’t plan on saving any damsels in distress, your boots should be comfortable enough to at least walk in. Suppose, you want to wear cowboy boots to an event. You’re definitely not going to have a good time, if you don’t break these boots in beforehand. The leather boots will be tight, heavy, uncomfortable. They’ll end up causing blisters and you’ll be stuck sitting on a chair throughout. Who wants that? 

To avoid that, you can stretch out cowboy boots. Some people can get nervous about stretching out their boots, but little do they know, the wear effect and leather patina add to the beauty of cowboy boots. 

5 Foolproof Ways On How To Break In Cowboy Boots 

5 Foolproof Ways On How To Break In Cowboy Boots 

Cowboy boots are made of organic leather which has the ability to be stretched to a certain extent. Once the shoe stretches out, you’ll have ample wiggle room for your toes. 

If you’re looking for comfortable shoes for work, then cowboy boots are definitely not a good option. However, if you’re looking for a substitute from Chelsea boots, then this is the style for you. 

Down below are five tried and tested methods on ‘how to break in cowboy boots’ in no time.

  1. Steam Your Boots

A little, 6th grade science flashback for you, ‘Heat causes expansion’. So, essentially you can steam the inside of your boots to get them to expand. Pretty neat right? Now this process isn’t ideal and it can potentially harm the leather of the shoe. But, it is also a quick fix and pretty easy to do. 

  1. Firstly you want to grab a steaming iron or a kettle, anything through which you can direct steam into the boots. Let the steam flow into the boots for about 20 seconds.
  2. Place the steamer to the side and press around the boots to see if they feel soft. If not, then steam again for 15 seconds.
  3. If yes, slip on the boots and walk around. Since the leather is still soft, you want to take a couple more steps to ensure the leather conforms to your feet. 

This technique is a quick and easy fix for tight fitting cowboy boots. It works by softening the leather of cowboy boots. Even though it’s effective, we wouldn’t recommend trying it day after day. Steam can actually damage the leather of the boots and so an occasional ‘fitting steam’ is the best option. 

2. Freezing Cowboy Boots

We know it sounds crazy, but this is one of the best ways to break in cowboy boots overnight. It’s also one of the safest, since cold doesn’t harm pure leather. 

  1. Start off by filling two plastic bags with water. Pick the sealable kind. These bags will go into the toe area of your boots so, pick bags that will give a snug fit. 
  2. Push the bags into the toe area as much as you can, being careful not to burst them. Next, keep them in place by packing the boots with papers, socks or towels. Whatever works for you.
  3. Then place the shoes in a plastic container and keep them in the freezer. Leave the boots in the freezer for around 8 hours. Basically, as the water solidifies into ice, it will expand, allowing your shoe to stretch. 

All this hack requires is some patience. Its an easy way to break in your cowboy boots prior to your outing. 

3. Wear Two Pairs Of Socks 

To be honest, this hack is our least favorite but it does get the job done. It is an inexpensive and uncomfortable way to widen cowboy boots. 

  1. The technique is pretty straightforward. Put on a pair of socks and add another pair on top of it. The pressure from the socks will help open up some toe space in the boots. 

The downside to this hack is that it can be extremely uncomfortable and can cause your feet to sweat excessively. Any more than two pairs of socks and you will end up getting blisters. You’ve been warned. 

4. The Sink Method 

Dipping your new pair of cowboy boots in water can take a lot of courage but trust us, they’ll definitely fit better after being submerged in warm water. The sink method is one of the best ways to break in cowboy boots.

  1. Fill a tub or a large container with warm water. 
  2. Place your boots, flat down, in such a way that water doesn’t enter the inside of the boots. 
  3. Press down on the insoles of the boots to prevent them from toppling over.
  4. Once you feel as though the insoles are beginning to get wet, take the boots out of the water. 
  5. Put on some socks and slip the boots on. Walk around wearing them, allowing them to completely dry. 
  6. When dry, you’ll feel as though the boots are roomier. You can also use shoe conditioner on your boots to protect the leather from further damage and for an easy way to clean leather boots

Some cons of this technique include that it’s messy to clean up, takes time and can damage leather. 

5. A Cowboy Boot Stretcher 

When all fails, it may be a smarter option to invest in a handy tool like a cowboy boot stretcher. This stretcher effectively widens the toe area and allows controlled stretching. The only con is that you will have to spend a few extra bucks to buy the tool.

  1. Before going in with the shoe stretcher, apply a shoe stretching spray to ease the leather into being stretched. 
  2. Place the shoe stretcher into the toe box of your boots. Make sure to push it until it touches the end of the toe box. 
  3. Expand the boot by turning the widening handle. When you feel it tighten, twist the handle an additional twice or thrice to allow the shoe to stretch.
  4. Once you’re happy with how the stretcher is set, leave it in the boots for 6-8 hours. 
  5. Afterwards, remove the stretcher by twisting the widening handle anti-clockwise. Once loosened, pull it out completely. 

The cowboy boot stretcher will stretch the boot an ample amount allowing you to walk around comfortably. If you still feel as though it’s too tight, you can always repeat the process. 


How can I make my cowboy boots hurt less?

You can submerge them in water, freeze them or use a cowboy stretcher. 

Why are cowboy boots so uncomfortable?

Cowboy boots are made of genuine leather with the purpose of being durable and rustic. Their hard exterior allows the shoe to be worn in harsh conditions with the con of making the shoe uncomfortable.

Should you buy cowboy boots a half size bigger?

It would be a smart idea to size up half a size when buying cowboy boots. 


Men’s fashion and boots are all the rage at the moment. So, if you’re planning on getting cowboy boots, we suggest you try on a few different pairs. This will help you get an idea of what fits best. If you already have a pair and are unhappy with the fit, then you can try any of the above mentioned hacks.

No matter what style of cowboy boots you buy, it is important that you break them in. Wearing a pair that looks incredible but fits horrible is only going to make you hate your boots. 

We hope this guide helps you break in your western boots and live your cowboy dreams!

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