How To Stretch Work Boots

Last Updated on August 9, 2023

You probably know how difficult it is to stretch your work boots. However it is necessary to keep your work boots in pristine condition if you wear them all day. Why not use a work boot stretching tool instead of causing damage to your feet or work boots?

In this article, we’ll look at how to stretch work boots easily and comfortably. Additionally, we will discuss the importance of stretching your work boots regularly and how to do it. The phrase “Stretch your boots” is probably familiar to you. You break in your work boots when you wear them for the first time. Here are some tips for stretching your work boots before you wear them. 

11 Ways To stretch work boots easily and comfortably

How to stretch work boots easily

When it comes to your feet, there is no better way to keep them healthy and in tip-top shape than stretching them regularly. This keeps you comfortable and prolong the life of your work boots. We will show you how you can easily stretch your work boots.

All stretching methods are applicable to slightly snug boots. Never buy work boots two sizes too small just because they are on sale & you assume that you can stretch them later.

Prepare Your Leather Boots Before Stretching Your Work Boots

It’s no secret that leather boots are popular with outdoorsmen and women. They’re rugged, practical, and, most importantly, comfortable. In contrast, leather boots can be an intricate item that stretches and molds to your foot. That’s why it’s essential to know the basics of leather boot stretching before attempting to do so. Here’s how to properly pull your boots and get the most out of your investment.

Prepare Your Leather Boots Before Stretching

First, you should remove the laces from the boots. Next, pull the shoes apart and spread them out on a flat surface. Then, place your foot inside the boot. Make sure that you keep your foot straight. After putting your foot inside the boot, you should pull the boot up towards your leg, which will help stretch the boot’s leather.

Pull the boot down and back onto your leg after stretching the leather. Doing so will help loosen the leather. You should repeat this process twice before putting the shoes back on.

The professional tools for stretching boots

There are many ways and tools to help you stretch your most comfortable slip on work boots. We have discussed below some of them:-

1) boot stretcher method – BSM

You may already know that the most effective way to stretch out the toes of your boots is to place them on a boot stretcher. The boot stretchers we have here are specifically designed for working boots. We used our Boot Stretchers to lengthen the length of our shoes. They’re easy to use, durable, and comfortable. They were a bit expensive, but worth it.

boot stretchers

Types of Common Boot Stretchers 

There are three types of boot stretchers commonly used:-

  1. Wooden Boot Stretcher
  2. Aluminum Boot Stretcher
  3. Plastic Boot Stretcher

Take a boot stretcher of your choice. Expose your boots a bit to steam. Apply a leather conditioner to make them soft.

choose a boot stretcher

Insert it into the boots. Keep it at the point of the boot which you want to stretch, e.g., Bunions. You can mark the area of the boot which you wish to extend with a piece of paper to know the exact spot.

insert the work boot stretcher in the work boots to stretch them

Use the screw or handle to expand the boot stretcher, which will stretch your work boots. 

Use the screw or handle to expand the boot stretcher, which will stretch your work boots. 

Do not over-stretch it, as it can cause damage to your pull-on work boots.

Do not over-stretch it, as it can cause damage to your pull-on work boots.

Leave your work boots overnight once you have set down the stretch level on your boot stretcher.

How to stretch work boots using a boot stretcher

Remove the boot stretcher in the morning. You have stretched your work boots.

  • Easy to follow
  • Most effective
  • Affordable. You can buy a stretcher for as low as 20 dollarst
  • Durable.
  • It can target pain points as its adjustable
  • It has holes in it by which you can identify a target and the area you need to stretch.
  • Pushing the leather too hard can lead to cracking.
  • You might need professional stretchers in some cases for which you need professional guidance.
  • Not suitable for steel toe work boots

2) The use of a boot-shaft stretcher

After searching for a long time for the perfect work boot, you might finally settle on a pair. Is it possible that the boot you spent a lot of time on is not your size? The work boot can be widened, but what about the calf?

using boot-shaft stretcher to expand the shaft of work boots

The shaft of your boots will need some work. If you expand the shaft of your work boots, you can loosen the part of the boot around your calf. 

Boot-calf stretchers play a crucial role in this scenario. They are designed to stretch the calves. Using this method, you can extend the shaft up to a quarter-inch without damaging the boot.


  • You will need a boot shaft stretcher.
  • Parallel to the boot shaft, insert it into the work boot. It has a round end that makes it easier for you to insert it into the heel cup of your work boot.
  • Set the stretcher to the desired level. 
  • The stiffer the leather, the more difficult it would be to stretch. The quality & weight of the boot’s leather determine if it can withstand the tension of the stretcher.
  • Take your time and don’t rush the process. Be patient! You can repeat the process several times until the desired results are obtained.
  • Can widen the boots for the right fit
  • Save money
  • Save the hassle of visiting a cobbler or a shoe shop
  • Can damage your shoes
  • Can stretch to a certain level

3) Using Shoe Trees For Stretching Work Boots

Shoe trees may look similar to boot stretchers. However, they are different. Shoe trees play their role, especially when you want to stretch the ball area of your boots.

Using a Shoe Tree to stretch work boots


  • Take a shoe tree
  • Insert into your boots
  • Leave it for 24-48 hours
  • Wear your regular socks and try them. 
  • If necessary, repeat the process until the stretching is complete. 
  • Easy to follow 
  • Not suitable for stretching work boots with shaft

4) Adding a gusset

Adding a gusset to stretch work boots

Assume you have tried stretching your boots, but they won’t extend beyond a certain point, causing discomfort. As a result, ShoesPundit brings you another option-no need to buy a new pair of work boots or toss them out. Simply follow the steps below.


  • Take a leather piece of the same color as your boots
  • Add a cut of 2 inches on the top part of the shaft of your boots
  • Stich the leather piece from inside your work boot, so it cant be seen.
  • This process will make the shaft wider. 
  • Save Money & Time by using the same pair
  • If the upper part of the shaft has some decorations or designs, it can get affected. However, it’s still a better solution if you wear pants because they won’t be visible.

5) Use of stretch spray or liquid

To loosen your boots, spray an alcohol-based stretcher spray on them. Spray more on dark-colored work boots since light-colored boots, such as white, may stain if used on them. Light-colored work boots are less likely to stain.

Use of stretch spray or liquid to stretch your work boots and expand them.

Take nine parts of water and one part of alcohol to make the solution.

Some people recommend spraying the liquid inside the boot. It is not recommended, however, since we want the fabric, threads, and material to be soft. We cannot achieve our goals if we pour the solution from the inside out. 


  • Buy a stretcher spray; it is available in stores, or make one at home
  • Clean the work boots with a cloth
  • Spray the solution on the shoes, particularly on the sides 
  • Leave it for 25 minutes
  • Now try to wear shoes; repeat the process if they still do not fit.
  • Easy to follow 
  • Do it yourself technique
  • Not costly 
  • It May not be very effective in some cases

6) Ice Stretch Method – ISM

Water, when frozen, turns into ice and expands. Normally, water expands up to 4 degrees Celsius, and after this, it turns into ice and further expands by 9%. We can also use this technique to stretch our work boots. 

Ice Stretch Method. We can also use this technique to stretch our work boots

Please check the tag inside of your work boots to determine the material of your work boots if you are not sure about them. This method is suitable for synthetic boots only. 


  • Take water in a zip lock bag.
  • Place it inside of your work boots where you want the area of the boot to expand.
  • Ensure to cover your work boots with a cover or waterproof sheet to avoid boots getting wet.
  • Place in a freezer overnight.
  • Uncover the boots.
  • Take your shoes off in the morning. 
  • DIY Technique
  • Easy to follow
  • Suitable for synthetic material boots
  • Can damage the boots
  • If overfilled can damage the construction of boots
  • Wetness can affect the boot
  • Not suitable for leather work boots

7) Heat Stretch Method – HSM to stretch work boots

If the boots are warmed before stretching, the leather will stretch more than if stretched cold. It will also help keep them warm throughout stretching. Nearly every household has a hairdryer. Why not make use of it? 

Heat Stretch Method

It is possible to warm up the boot to make it fit you better. Be careful not to use too much heat. Overheating will cause the boot to lose its shape. Moderate heat will allow the leather to stretch and fit you. During the drying process, keep the dryer at least 4-6 inches away from your boots. Before using this process, make sure you condition the shoes with a leather conditioner. Excessive heat can dry and crack leather.


  •  Take your hairdryer & set it to the lowest setting.
  • Wear the boots
  • Apply the hot air to the parts of the boot which you want to soften and stretch
  • Do not apply the air excessively as it can damage the boots
  • Continue the process for 10-15 minutes
  • Easy to follow
  • DIY Technique
  • It can damage the boot if used in excess

8) Using News Paper To Stretch Work Boots

Using News Paper

ShoesPundit tries to give you solutions that are easy to follow. For this reason, we focus on those things which are readily available. You can easily find old newspapers. So why not use them? 


  • Take some newspaper
  • Wet them
  • Add into your boots and let them dry
  • Take out the newspaper after 1 hour.

The newspaper, when wet, was compressed and quickly put into the work boots. It expanded after it dried, which helped you stretch your work boots. 

  • Easy to follow
  • Stretching with a DIY method
  • Not very effective

9) Wear the boot with thick socks

Wearing thick socks is another method that can help you achieve the goal of bringing that extra stretch to your work boots

Wearing thick socks is another method that can help you achieve the goal of bringing that extra stretch to your work boots. 


  • Take a pair or two of thick socks 
  • Wear those socks and put on your work boot
  • You will have to struggle to put your foot completely inside the boot.
  • Wear the boots for 90 to 180 minutes
  • Easy to follow
  • Not suitable for extra thick work boots

10) Using a Broomstick & Mink Oil to stretch work boots

Using a Broomstick & Mink Oil

Another method you can quickly try on your work boot using household items is the broomstick method. You will need a leather conditioner/mink oil, soft cloth & a broomstick. 


  • Wipe the boots with a soft cloth.
  • Apply leather conditioner or mink oil on the boot
  • insert the broomstick into the shoes at an angle that touches the broom to the front part of your boots
  • now move the broomstick up and down a couple of times
  • DIY 
  • This process is only applicable for thin-material work boots

11) Using a Baseball to stretch work boots

Many of us like baseball. We have children in or around our home who play baseball and have a baseball kit. Let’s use this baseball to stretch our work boots.

using baseball to stretch our work boot


  1. Take a baseball and a piece of leather.
  2. Fold the leather double over and put it inside the boot
  3. Apply leather conditioner to the part of the boot you want to stretch. Before you do the process, you can mark it as well.
  4. Now, insert a baseball inside the boot.
  5. Take a rubber mallet and hit the ball 20-45 times
  6. Leave the boot overnight
  7. The next day, remove the baseball and leather piece. 
  • Easy to follow
  • DIY Technique
  • It can damage the outer appearance of your boots

Frequently Asked Questions

Can steel toe boots be stretched?

Stretching steel toe boots can be challenging because they are made to be extremely tight. If you stretch them too much, you might break the shoe. 

Why do my big toes hurt after wearing steel toe boots?

Wear proper-fitting steel-toe boots. They’re made to fit your foot correctly, and if you’re not getting the correct fit, your big toe will hurt. Your big toe isn’t made to sit in a steel-toe boot.

How tight should boots be?

A half-inch space should allow your toe to move freely and promote blood circulation.

How long does it take for boots to stretch?

Boot stretching depends on what type of boot and how often you use them. I try to stretch my shoes every time I wear them. If you wear high heels or boots more than once a week, stretch them more often.

Should your toes touch the end of the boots?

When you are wearing boots, it is recommended that your toes not reach past the end of the boot or touch it.

Should brand-new leather boots feel tight?

Yes, they should be tight. Once your feet expand, the boots will stretch and become looser. The leather should feel stiff and dry when it first slips on.

How can we soften boots before stretching?

You can use Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Vaseline, or even shoe polish to soften them if you don’t have a leather conditioner.

How to stretch boots without a boot stretcher? 

Use stretch spray, ice, or heat as described above to stretch boots without using a boot stretcher.


Stretching isn’t just for the body—it’s also helpful in work boots. Most manufacturers recommend that you don’t overstretch work boots after being broken in. Doing so may cause the shoes to loosen up and become unstable, especially if the boot has a leather upper. But bending is okay for boots that have been broken in.

Stretch your work boots after about three weeks of wearing them—that should be plenty of time for the break-in process to be completed. At first, stretch your shoes before wearing them. This will help prevent any painful surprises.

Finally, work boots should be stretched regularly, regardless of how often you wear them. Boots are made in such a way that regular stretching is necessary. Following this process will also help you identify which pair will suit your attire. Hopefully this article will assist you. Please let us know which technique worked best for you. 

Mark Walter

Mark Walter is an accomplished researcher and writer with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of work boots. His expertise in this field is unmatched, having worked in a variety of industries and work environments. Mark's writing is clear and concise, making him an ideal source of information for anyone looking to learn more about the importance of selecting the right work boots for the job.