View Full Version : Stretching Field boot Calves

Apr. 16, 2009, 08:00 PM
Hello everyone.

I know there have been a bunch of boot trends lately with the impending show season. I need your advice and help. I just received new boots (ariat challenges) for my birthday. They need to be broken in, which is fine, but the right calf is so tight that i cannot stand to be in them for more than 30 minutes as they completely cut off the circulation to my foot. I was assured that the soft leather would stretch by both the girl that fit them and my trainer. I am sure they will but I need to give the right calf a little help. I have tried boot stretch liquid but I only had a little and ran out. I unfortunately have not been able to locate any more at this moment.

I have heard that you can use a diluted isopropyl alcohol solution to help stretch the leather. Any suggestions?

Apr. 16, 2009, 08:11 PM
They will stretch out as your wear and break them in. I would not stretch them. I have the Ariat Challenges and the Ariat Crownes and both were unbearble when I first got them, but they both stretched a little bit and fit perfectly now. I would focus more on oiling and wearing them. They will stretch in time. If they have zippers, ride with the zippers half way or 1/4 of the way down and zip them up a little at a time during your ride.

Apr. 16, 2009, 09:00 PM
I used the "bathtub method" with my Ariats.

Fill bathtub. Put on boots. Get in. Immerse entire boot in warm water. Take boot off and dump out water.

Put on breeches. Put wet boots back on immediately. Go to the barn. Walk around/ride in boots. Let boots dry and confrom to your leg.

Condition inside of dry boots and voila no more pain!

Apr. 17, 2009, 09:20 AM
I used the "bathtub method" with my Ariats.

Fill bathtub. Put on boots. Get in. Immerse entire boot in warm water. Take boot off and dump out water.

Put on breeches. Put wet boots back on immediately. Go to the barn. Walk around/ride in boots. Let boots dry and confrom to your leg.

Condition inside of dry boots and voila no more pain!

Just wondering, do you have to get IN the tub for this method? Couldn't you just dunk the boots?

The foot bed doesn't get all icky?

Apr. 17, 2009, 09:24 AM
Just wondering, do you have to get IN the tub for this method? Couldn't you just dunk the boots?

The foot bed doesn't get all icky?

I seem to have the same results that I've seen others have on this forum via the bathtub method by just bathing my horses while wearing my tall boots and letting them dry on. So I don't think you have to get in the tub with them unless you want to...

Hunter Mom
Apr. 17, 2009, 09:26 AM
Also, any shoe repair place should be able to stretch the calves for you, too. Boots that cut off your circulation are definitely not fun.

Apr. 17, 2009, 09:33 AM
Yes, the bath tub method, and yes, you can just dunk the boots. Just make sure you put them on right away and wear them until they are totally dry. It'll take at least 8 hours. :yes: I just did this with my Ariat's for the same reason. I wore them all of last season assuming they would eventually stretch. Zip up a little at a time. Blah, blah, blah...Never did get to where they didn't make my feet go numb. This was a last resort but it WORKED!

Apr. 17, 2009, 09:41 AM
FYI - if you are at all worried that you may not be able to get the boots on, then put them on BEFORE you get them wet! I had a friend whose boots were too tight (no zippers) and once they were wet she couldn't get her leg into them and they ended up drying tighter than when she started. And they ended up breaking the pull tab when she was trying to get them on wet.

Would you use the bathtub method for used boots?

I have an old pair of Vogels that are a smidge too tight after all these years (ok, so they cut off the circulation in my foot). I have thought about getting them stretched, but would rather do it myself if possible.

Apr. 17, 2009, 12:54 PM
I have fully lined pull on Ariats for schooling and they stretched plenty. When I first put them on (I soak mine with Lexol instead of water - either is fine though), the right boot was so tight, my foot was asleep within minutes. After wearing them dry and riding in them a few times, they are perfect. My Vogels have stretched ever more than my Ariats.....so it's safe to say, most boots will stretch with regular use.

Apr. 17, 2009, 01:10 PM
My daughter had this problem recently. She put the hose into her boot while it was one her leg and got it completely wet. It stretched and she kept it on for several hours. But by 10pm they were still not completely dry so we took an empty champagne bottle and stuck it down in it to keep it stretched while they continued drying. Fit perfect now.

J. Turner
Apr. 17, 2009, 03:35 PM
My Vogels have zippers. I wore them in pain to break them in, then they were tolerable. Then I had a baby and didn't ride for awhile. Now I'm sure my calves are a little bigger, but it's not the calves that are the problems. It's my arches and ankles. They aren't broken in enough to have dropped so essentially the ankles are in the wrong place. I can barely get my heels down and they cut off my circulation at the ankles rendering my feet numb. Talk about pinching with ones knees ...

Can you stretch boots that have a zipper? Can you stretch the ankles? Will zipper boots drop eventually?

Apr. 17, 2009, 03:50 PM
I took mine to be stretched because they literally brought tears to my eyes when I zipped them all the way- and I am SO not a wimp!! The people at the boot place told me that they could only minimally stretch (if at all) zipper boots because they could only put a certain amount on them without busting the zippers. I'm not sure how much they stretched mind but they were perfect when they came back and even though I was so nervous, I was SO GLAD that I did it!

Apr. 17, 2009, 05:59 PM
Put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.
SOAK the inside of the calf of the boot, put them on and let dry while you ride etc.
This is exactly the same thing as what is in those expensive Shoe Stretch treatments that you buy from the shoe store.
Repeat as needed.
Don't get the rubbing alcohol on the outside of the boot.
This worked with super stiff dressage boots that made a "thunk" sound when you tapped on them. It will definitely work on a field boot that is so much softer.


Apr. 21, 2009, 08:24 AM
Thanks everyone. This has really helped. I am not quite brave enough to jump in the tub with them on but I am going to soak them a bit more with a mixture of alcohol and water and wear them a few more times. I tried the wear and zip as you go for a while the other day. I managed to get them all the way up by the time I was tacked and ready, but once i started riding I had to drop them back open after 10 minutes because my calves had no way of flexing and they were exhausted fighting against the force of the leather. I am going to wear my old boots on sunday for my show and hopefully will have them ready to go for next month.

Anyplace Farm
Apr. 21, 2009, 09:16 AM
My method -- and I told Mr. Vogel of Vogel boots I did it and he thought it was brilliant. He also said the bathtub method is fine and safe. Actually recommended it.

Anyway, I went to Home Depot and bought PVC pipe (they will cut the pipe short for you there) that was almost as wide around as my calf. I then went into the flooring section and bought wooden shims. They are about 10" long and are long, thin, wedge-like pieces. Ask anyone there and they will point you in the right direction. I wet the boots under the tub tap, stuck the pipe in the boot, then started packing shims in until they were tight. I stuck them thickest side down first, so they were putting pressure in the calf area only. Then, as I stuck more and more in and they got tight, I continued to hammer more in, this time skinny side down, hammering on the wider end. I stuck as many as I could in to really stretch them, then left them overnight.

Voila! Perfection! Have not had a problem with them since. And the materials to do it were cheap!

Apr. 21, 2009, 09:29 AM
the last time I had to break in some new boots, I did a modified version of the bathtub method.....Put shorts on, some old boot socks and my boots. Went outside and filled a tall (new) rubbermaid garbage can with water with the garden hose. Stepped into the can and submerged the boots for a few minutes. Stepped out and proceed to spend the next three hours gardening and weeding....broke them in like a charm!

Aug. 30, 2009, 02:51 PM
When you do the bathtub method should you use warm water or is it okay to just use the garden hose water? and when you put the boots back on after dunking them, can you also put tall boot socks on with the breeches to make it a perfect fit, or do you just wear breeches? Doesn't water make materials shrink? HELP!

My tall boots fit perfectly fine in the foot and ankle, but I need a VERY strong person to zip my boots (especially my right one) around the calf area. Would it be better to get them professionally stretched or should i try the bathtub method?

thanks :)

Aug. 30, 2009, 04:01 PM
When I've used the bath tub method, I've used warm water, although I've heard of other people using the hose too. And I would put tall socks on, too- I've even heard of some people putting on saran wrap and/or plastic bags over the socks to protect their breeches. Whatever you do, avoid bare skin next to wet leather... learned that the hard way :lol:

Aug. 30, 2009, 04:33 PM
I ended up putting zippers into mine--they are at the boot repair shop right now actually!

Bought these Devon-Aires off the rack as the "perfect" size in 2005. Rode in them off and on for two years. Then in May of 2007 I tried them on and they are way way too tight. Took a break from riding and decided that this summer would be the summer I finally get these darn things fixed! Had them stretched at the boot repair show and then I tried the water method--I got my left leg stuck in the boot at 11:30 at night and soaked in the tub until I could pull the boot off!

So I took them back and the nice nice man decided to put zippers in them for me. I'm in no rush to get them back but I can't wait to see if I can finally wear them!!

Good suggestions here too!