I absolutely hate wearing a leather boot that does not fit my calves. Over the years, I have learned a few tricks to adjust the shoe and make it more comfortable to wear. And now, I feel like it is my job and solemn duty to share my knowledge so that you can also enjoy wearing a perfectly fit pair of boots.
The right way to stretch the calf of your leather boots is to use a shoe stretcher. But not everyone wants to buy something just to stretch their shoes. To make everyone happy, I will discuss both the shoe stretcher method and different DIY tricks that you can easily follow to stretch the boots without too much trouble.
Nobody likes throwing away their favorite pair of boots because it no longer fits. And after going through this article, you might never have to. So, brew yourself a hot cup of coffee, and let us dive in.
How Can I Stretch the Calf of My Leather Boots?
The shoe stretcher method is by far the easiest way to stretch the shoe if it is too tight for your calves. However, you need to invest in a calf stretcher beforehand. It is typically quite inexpensive and easily available in almost any reputable local shoe shop. So, that’s the go-to method I recommend.
Here are the steps:
Pro Tip: Make sure you take a look at the zipper of the boot before you try anything. If the zipper is weak, it will not be able to withstand the pressure while using the shoe stretcher. So, keep that in mind before you start tinkering with your shoe.
- Take your boot and insert the calf stretcher inside it.
- Then use a stretching spray to soften up the fabric of the boot. Make sure to apply enough amount for the spray to take full effect.
- Start widening the calf area of the boot using the handle of the stretchers. Depending on the model of the calf stretcher, you either have to rotate a wheel or a lever. Make sure you read through the instruction manual of the stretcher.
- Stretch out the boot enough to fit your calves properly. When you are happy with the stretching, leave the boot with the stretcher inside it.
- Wait for one or two days for the best results. That way, the boot will slowly retain its shape even after you take out the stretcher.
- Voila! Now your boots should fit your calves perfectly.
DIY Tricks to Stretch the Calf of My Leather Boots
If, for whatever reason, you cannot make the shoe stretcher method work for you, here are a few DIY alternatives that will work just as well. But you need to try it out a couple of times before you get it just right.
- Zip up the leather boots as high as it goes. Then leave the boot for around 15 minutes. After that, try and force the zipper to go higher. As long as the zipper and the fabric of the boot are durable, they can stretch out the leather to allow for a more comfortable fit.
- You can also invest in zipper extenders if your boot allows it. This is a pretty hassle-free way to make the boots fit if your calves are too wide.
- Using a blow dryer can also soften up the leather and allow you to stretch it for a comfortable fit. However, make sure you do not apply the dryer for more than 30 seconds as it can damage the leather. After stretching, make sure you apply some leather conditioner to restore the durability of the boot.
- Another slightly controversial method is to soak your leather boot in water. It will soften up the leather and let you wear it easily. We would recommend trying out other methods, and use this one only as a last resort.
Can Boots be Altered to Fit my Calves?
Maybe you found a beautiful pair of boots but cannot find the right size. In that case, you might be wondering whether you can alter it to fit your calves. The short answer: you can. Even if you bought a pair of boots that do not feel comfortable, or is too small, you can alter it in most cases. Just following a few easy steps should get that boot all ready and primed.
Whether the boot is too tight around the calves or too loose, an experienced shoemaker should not have too much trouble altering it to get the right fit. The cost is also quite low, so you don’t have the added stress of busting your wallet.
How to Alter Boots for Wide Calves?
If the shoe stretcher or the other methods to stretch your shoes could not help you, you can take it to a shoemaker to get it altered. The cobbler can measure out your calf and make adjustments to suit it to your liking. After all, a cobbler will have tricks up his sleeve that are just beyond a DIY paygrade.
However, make sure you try out the shoe yourself and know exactly which areas you want to alter. A professional shoemaker will advise you on how much you should alter and how you can make it more comfortable for your calves.
In some situations, the shoemaker might even simply use leather inserts or elastic gussets. That way, you will not have to mess around with the stitching of the boot at all. Whatever the adjustment maybe, a pro has a better chance of getting it right.
How Should Tall Boots Fit Around Narrow Calves?
The best thing to do when buying a new set of boots is to make sure you are buying the right size. If you get the right size, you do not have to take the hassle of doing alterations or widen it if it is too narrow. But a lot of people don’t understand how a tall boot should fit and feel around your calves.
Here are a few things that you should check when buying your boots regarding the size and fitment.
- Check if the boot causes any discomfort on your feet. It should be adjustable to your feet and should never restrict any movement.
- If the size is right, it will feel comfortable the moment you put it on. A tighter boot will restrict blood flow and make you feel suffocated. On the other hand, a loose boot will feel wobbly, and you will find it hard to stay balanced on your feet.
- When buying long boots, you will often see a bend at the back of the knee. If you are going with a tall, knee-high pair of boots, then the bend can help you identify whether the boot is the right size for your leg.
To me, a boot that does not feel right is a boot that needs fitting. And with my tricks, you too can make sure your leather boots fit your small calves comfortably.
Personally, I prefer to alter or stretch my shoes instead of throwing them away. And since leather boots have exceptional durability, if you keep your shoes well-maintained, you should never have to throw them away. I would recommend trying out the boot hacks I’ve mentioned. You may not get it right on the first attempt, but stick to fit, keep the instructions in mind, and with time, you will get the hang of it. I promise.