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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009
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    Default "The Bathtub Method"

    So I know this has been discussed to no end, but my new field boots are coming on Monday and I can't for the life of me find a thread discussing the intricacies of this boot-fitting method. Can someone either describe the process for me or link me to a few previous posts? And good/bad experiences would be nice too. Thanks!



  2. #2
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    Jun. 20, 2000
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    Full time in Delhi, NY!
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    It's not complicated. Fill bathtub with warm (NOT hot) to just above the ankles. Step in water with boots on. When your feet feel wet, step out and dry with a towel while you're still wearing them. Then wear them until they dry fully. Yes, this will mean most of the day.

    If you take them off too soon, they will shrink.

    They're are better ways, and if your boots feel correctly sized when you try them on, I'd use them.
    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
    Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

    "Life is merrier with a terrier!"



  3. #3
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    1. Put them on.

    2. Get them wet-as in saturated. Stand in bath tub, turn hose on them or go wash horses.

    3. Leave them on for as long as possible-as in all day. As they dry they will conform to foot shape and ease out/stretch.

    4. Remove. Insert boot trees or stuff with something to retain shape when removed. Keep OUT of direct sunlight and AWAY from any heat sources.

    5. Allow to completely dry while wearing them over several days. Repeat only after they have completely dried.

    6. Remember leather does shrink up as it dries so don't panic if they are snug when you put them back on...wear for an hour or so before deciding you need a repeat.

    Obviously, condition after they are dry, do NOT overapply product and do NOT use neatsfoot-kills the shine.

    Sounds outlandish but a tried and true traditional method. Will not hurt properly tanned leather-after all, a steer wore it out in the rain before it became your boots.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  4. #4
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    Apr. 14, 2007
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    Oh for heaven's sake. Don't for any reason wet your new boots this way. Wear them for short periods, use a good quality boot cream, and break them in gradually. What the bathtub method does is loosen the glue, shrink the stitching, and dry out the leather. If the ankles are stiff, and they often are, use some boot cream on the inside of the ankle and let dry. Would you soak the seats on your new car? Or wear a new leather jacket in the shower?



  5. #5
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    Jan. 1, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiewoo View Post
    Oh for heaven's sake. Don't for any reason wet your new boots this way. Wear them for short periods, use a good quality boot cream, and break them in gradually. What the bathtub method does is loosen the glue, shrink the stitching, and dry out the leather. If the ankles are stiff, and they often are, use some boot cream on the inside of the ankle and let dry. Would you soak the seats on your new car? Or wear a new leather jacket in the shower?
    Boot leather is tanned entirely differently than furniture, car or coat leather.

    I'll be sure and let my Vogels know (10 years old), that the glue and stitching should have been toast by now.

    I don't suppose you should ever wear boots in the rain, or trapse through the mud, ride outdoors on muddy footing, or give a horse a bath in them either.



  6. #6
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    Sep. 23, 2000
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    Middleburg, VA USA
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    Bad day Fish??



  7. #7
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    My Dehner's, 35 years old, were never treated to the bathtub method. They are in perfect condition. They hunted 25 seasons with a hunt that went out in all weather, including rain, sleet, snow, mud and heat. Then I started showing, and my Vogel's, 15 years old are ditto. New Vogels start at over $1000. I think I'll continue to follow manufacturer's directions.



  8. #8
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    Apr. 28, 2010
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    Atlanta, GA and New Orleans, LA
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    I was desparate for advice about a year ago on breaking in my new Crowne Pros. I asked on COTH and lots of people gave me advice on the "bathtub" method. I was **very** reluctant, to say the least, to submerge brand new, $500 boots in water. But so many very experinced folks here swore by it, so I took the plunge (no pun intended). I am so glad I did! The boots fit like customs afterward, and have held up beautifully so far (no sign of stress on seams or stitching, or any other problems).

    Here is how I did it:

    Around 9:00 am on Saturday, I put on beeches, socks and boots. I filled the tub with enough water so that when I kneeled in the tub, the boots were completely submerged. I stayed that way for about 1 minute, stood up, and then kneeled again for maybe another 30 seconds. Then I went about my day. I went to the barn, did the usual there, including a lesson. I ran errands, watched TV, etc. I did not take them off until around midnight. The longer you can keep them on to make sure they completely dry on your leg, the better you will be. Your legs do get a bit tired of having them on all day, but the outcome is absolutely worth it.

    When I took them off that night, I put boot trees in them and went to bed. The next morning, I conditioned them, and put them on. They fit like gloves on Sunday morning - I couldn't believe it!!! Best decision I ever made, and I will do it again next time I have to break in a pair of boots.
    Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson



  9. #9
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    Jan. 12, 2011
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    Did you guys precondition them, or do ANYTHING do them before the bathtub method? I'm assuming you dipped your sock/breeches into the water as well? My new ones are coming on Monday too and I was going to do a search for this.



  10. #10
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    Apr. 28, 2010
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    DarkStarrx: I did not condition mine before - but I'd worn them a few times, so they had been cleaned before. Your breeches and socks, which are on your body as normal, under your boots, when you submerge your leg up to the top of the boots, do get wet. You squish when you walk for a while!
    Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson



  11. #11
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    Jan. 20, 2010
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    241

    Default

    My feet shriveled up to the point where I could barely recognize them.



  12. #12
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    Apr. 5, 2003
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    Houston, Texas
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    I just turned the hose on the ankle area of my boots right before I got on my horse. I did that before a couple of rides and they eventually broke in. I did oil the inside of the boot before I did this.



  13. #13
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    Apr. 1, 2011
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    British Columbia, Canada
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    I did the bathtub method with my Ariat Heritage's and they fit like a glove. Cookie, if water loosens the glue and shrinks the stitching on a pair of boots, they're not good quality. Should I not show in my tall boots when it's raining then?



  14. #14
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    Oct. 22, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiewoo View Post
    Oh for heaven's sake. Don't for any reason wet your new boots this way. Wear them for short periods, use a good quality boot cream, and break them in gradually. What the bathtub method does is loosen the glue, shrink the stitching, and dry out the leather. If the ankles are stiff, and they often are, use some boot cream on the inside of the ankle and let dry. Would you soak the seats on your new car? Or wear a new leather jacket in the shower?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiewoo View Post
    My Dehner's, 35 years old, were never treated to the bathtub method. They are in perfect condition. They hunted 25 seasons with a hunt that went out in all weather, including rain, sleet, snow, mud and heat. Then I started showing, and my Vogel's, 15 years old are ditto. New Vogels start at over $1000. I think I'll continue to follow manufacturer's directions.
    If water is so bad for boots, shouldn't the "rain, sleet, snow, mud" have caused the boots to "loosen the glue, shrink the stitching, and dry out the leather"?



  15. #15
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    May. 17, 2000
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    big grey, that was what I was wondering! I guess getting them wet while hunting is magically different.

    My Dehners are about 20 years, bathtub (or in my case a bucket of water on the washrack) method, no signs of falling apart yet. On the other hand, they've never seen snow yet.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  16. #16
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    Aug. 25, 2011
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    17

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    I, too, have new tall boots. Sounds like I should clear the calendar and fill the bathtub. I do feel a little squeamish about this!

    What leather conditioner(s) do folks favor for boots? How often? Skip the inner calf area, I assume?



  17. #17
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    I used to use vogel conditioner, but they don't make it anymore. Now I go with the Dehner recommendation - lexol, of all things. But mostly with boots it's about a good pH neutral cleaner or a damp cloth (and keeping the welt clean) and a high quality polish like Urad or similar quality. Lexol might get used once a year, but most of those conditioners (including vogel) play hell on the finish.

    Now my paddock boots get polished less often and I use oakwood conditioner on them a bit more often, but they do have a harder life than my riding boots. Still, you will do both a big favor if you brush the mud out of the welt and keep them clean with a damp cloth after every ride.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 12, 2011
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    My boots are here!!! They also fit my large calves, even the one that is larger due to nerve/hematoma damage!!! So now wise COTHers, these are my first real tall boots and I want to treat them right. I definitely want to do the Bath Tub method it's almost 2 here is this enough time to sufficiently do this?
    Also, there is nothing I need to do to prepare them? Condition/Clean etc??

    Thanksss



  19. #19
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    Honestly, if they fit pretty good thru the leg? Just wet the ankles and feet real good.

    But do it tomorrow morning or another day you can leave them on for enough hours, like 6 to 8 while you move around, ride and basically stay moving in them, to get the most out of it.

    Oddly, it was the back of my knee that ate the new boots before they broke in enough to drop a little. The foot was not bad though stiff, once the ankles loosened up enough to allow that drop, they were fine.

    They still are at age 18 despite using alot of water on them...and I even wore them in snow a couple of times across parking lots from arena to van.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  20. #20
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    Apr. 22, 2011
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    CA
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    I did a similar method, but it didn't really make much of a difference. I dunked all but the foot in water (so calf and ankle) and then put them on and wore until dry and conditioned afterwards (mostly the inside.) It helped, but what really broke them in was wearing them for 10 hours at a show. They fit like a glove after that.

    If the calf needs stretching, I've also heard that a mixture of half water/half rubbing alcohol sprayed on the inside of the calf will help with stretch. Also have to wear them until dry in that case.

    As far as how long it would take the boots to dry... well, out here it's generally 65 degrees and foggy, so it could literally take days for boots to dry while wearing. But, if you're somewhere warm, I imagine they'd dry in a couple hours outside.
    If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal



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