Tall Boot Help! I have one fat leg and one skinny leg
Upon receiving a brand new pair of tall boots today, I discovered my calves are pretty drastically different sizes. The boots fit great through the foot and in the height. However, one boot fits great and is semi comfortable (for new boots!) through the calf, and one is exceedingly tight and uncomfortable to the point of causing my leg to go numb. *Keep in mind this is with breeches, thermals, and mid weight socks on* When I rode in them today I actually ended up dropping the stirrup on my fat leg because it was tingling so badly!
I decided to further investigate and measured my calves and found that there is roughly 1/2" difference between the two. The boots are zippered with elastic panels. Is there any hope that I can stretch the one to comfortably fit the fat leg? For now I wet the inside of the boot with warm water and stuffed it full of rags to hopefully stretch it overnight. I made sure not to stretch it to the point of damaging the zipper, though.
You should be fine. Half an inch is not too bad. A cobbler can definitely help you out.
My difference was larger due to an injury (related to stairs) as a young kid. I was told that at an inch difference, customs would be the best option. Sounds like you don't need to to the custom route.
The fact that you zipped up the both boots and rode in them is promising.
I am pretty sure that with the elastic panel, the really tight boot will eventually stretch out and be comfortable.
Anytime you put force onto leather or elastic, it will stretch. Eventually the leather and elastic will kind of form to your leg. I'd keep riding in them and wait and see what happens. It is too bad it isn't hot because sweating in the boots would help the leather stretch out, you would just need to keep the boots on until they dried out. It's kind of like the bathtub method but not as drastic. I wouldn't wet the boots without wearing them until they are dry. You want them molded to your feet, not to whatever you stuffed in there. If you have the time and want to wet them, do it at home (sounds like it is cold where you are) and wear until they are completely dry.
If it is really uncomfortable, you might try riding in a thinner sock on the bigger calf until the boots break in a little more, then add socks as you are able to feel your legs.
I've had boot repairs done on my boots. I'm all for doing it if necessary but the elastic panels on boots are made to stretch. It takes a lot of pressure off of the boot zippers. The new softer leather that they use on boots now stretches easier than the older boot leather.
The main reason that the zippers on boots break is because of the dirt, hay, shavings etc that get into the zippers. This comes straight from my boot repair guy.
alter0001 can do whatever she'd like to do. I just thought that I would write with my experiences. She can always take it to a cobbler if the boots don't stretch out within a week or two. She can't undo the cobbler work once it is done.
I have heard of such a thing as boot stretching spray from someone on this board… and I seem to recall someone else saying that rubbing alcohol (sprayed on the INSIDE of the boot!) will help to stretch it as well. My new boots were tight when I first got them, but now fit like a glove. Sometimes you just have to tough it out until the elastic and leather stretch and conform to your leg.
Agree with M Owen. I would try them in regular breeches. I won't ride in my good boots with extra layers on because it stretches the too much and makes them not fit when you want them to (meaning at shows).
Also, I do the bathtub method with every pair of new boots (tall, paddock, anything in between), though in the winter I do a modified version where I get just the shafts wet (and any spots that rub or are uncomfortable). But I would still be leery of conforming them to so many layers and then having them be too loose if/when you ride in them in the warmer months.
__________________________________ Forever exiled in the NW.
There's about a half inch difference between my calves as well, so I get that pain. If something fits my right calf, it will be a struggle to get up on my left one but if I buy something to fit my left one it'l be too big. Every time I buy new boots I end up crying for my first few rides because of how painful they are but they have always stretched out and become the perfect fit. Like a few others have said, I wouldn't be riding them with all the layers you have on -- I always walk around in them in my house for a few hours with just socks and thin riding leggings and eventually I ride in that. Once I get comfortable with that I can switch to thicker breeches with minimal discomfort.
Listen to the other posters - go to a cobbler. The cobbler might be able to put a gusset in to give your calf more room. I would also try a LITTLE alcohol on the inside of the tight boot right before you ride.
I think most cobblers will help you stretch them out a bit. With just a half an inch difference and an elastic panel, I am very much of the opinion you really don't need any sewing. You can either have a cobbler help you with the stretching or you can do it yourself.
I suggest being careful about over-stretching them. I would personally go with light breeches and light socks and give it a little time. Even the less-tight boot will stretch over time.
I've personally had a tack shop help stretch my boots - and they ruined them by stretching them WAYYYY too much. Not good at all.
You can not only bust the zipper if they're too tight but also tear the elastic. It happened on a pair of half chaps I lent to someone. A cobbler is going to give you advice about how to best handle the situation. They can professionally stretch a boot in ways that put different/less stress on areas of it. The type of thin/soft leather zipper boots popular today should NOT be so tight to start that your leg throbs. That was necessary back in the days of thick leather pull ons, but there are so many moving parts on zip leather boots and the leather is thinner and softer. I do agree trying with thin breeches/socks is a start-- but before you go trying to stretch them too hard yourself I'd get input from someone who is knowledgeable.
I wore the boots again today. Before putting the tight one on my fat leg, I made it slightly damp with water and the boot felt great! Much better, felt good to ride in and no throbbing. I also wore slightly thinner breeches and no throbbing!!
Also, the boots are parlantis and the reps advised me to buy them as tight as possible while still being able to zip them to minimize dropping and to account for the 2cm+ give through the elastic panel. When they are not on I put inflatable trees in them in hopes that they will stay the same shape.