Winter is finally getting close which means I will be taking a break from the endless yard work that comes with buying a house. I will also be taking a break from wearing my steel toe boot stretchers although it feels like it was just yesterday that I used an entire can of shoe stretcher spray and a metal shoe stretcher to get to fit me more comfortably.
Can a Steel Toe Boot Be Stretched?
The honest truth is that steel toe boots cannot really be stretched, not that much really. They were designed not to stretch or warp if 20 pound sledgehammer falls on them, so what can even the strongest boot stretcher accomplish?
Well, in my case, it did accomplish a lot. I used a wooden door wedge underneath the boot stretcher and massive amounts of shoe stretcher spray and several interesting things happened. The more significant one was that the insoles were compressed by almost a quarter of an inch.
The other significant thing was that the lining on the inside of the steel toe was compressed against the metal to the point where it is just as hard as the metal behind.
If I try to run I can actually feel the metal pushing through the lining, but you should never run in a work yard, so I don’t really care about it.
Lastly, these are the only shoes that do not have creases just above the balls of the feet because the shoe stretcher spray really helped stretch out that leather and made it incredibly flexible.
All and all, provided you use one of the shoe stretcher sprays I have already reviewed for you, and anyone of the following steel toe boot stretchers, you might be able to get enough space in your boots to make them comfortable for a whole season of work.
Nanny McPhee Metal Shoe Stretcher
The reason I love the Nanny McPhee metal shoe stretcher is because it is the one, I used on my steel toe boots and I know it works. It is made from a very strong metal and you really feel in control when you use it. I had to spray the metal threads with WD40 while I was stretching my boots because the pressure was really working against the tightening nut, but the metal itself held out like a champ.
The front edge of the toe is very smooth, so it really applied a lot of pressure against each side of the inside of the metal toe. My feet are a little bit wider than most people’s so I really appreciated that I could also stretch the sides of the shoes as well as the top. And I actually used the ladies’ boot stretcher because it is curved upwards and the turn is what really pushes against the upper edge of the metal toe box.
The best feature about the Nanny McPhee is that it uses a really big metal backplate, that pushes against the back of the boots. Some shoe and boot stretchers have a really thin or small backplate and, because that is where most of the shoes are stitched together, the seams tend to give out. However, the bigger metal plate really helps keep the shoe together and distribute that pressure throughout the entire back of the shoe.
None the less, every time I decide to stretch a pair of shoes, I am always incredibly stressed about the outcome and I always have to pay a lot of attention at all the seams to make sure that they do not start bursting. It also helps if you spray the thread with plenty of shoe stretching spray because, even though it is not made from leather, the chemicals in the spray really help the thread become more elastic and to stretch out with the shoes.
XinLinke Durable Steel Toe Boot Stretcher
Although I have every confidence that the Nanny McPhee boot stretcher is one of the best options out there today, I have heard from people who could not find them in stock on Amazon. The very best alternative, if that is the case with you, is the XinLinke Steel Toe Boot Stretcher.
I have found that the XinLinke has smaller threads so you will really need to use WD40 or some other type of lubricant in order to get the nut to turn. However, the good news is that, because the threads are so much smaller, you do not need as much power to turn them. You also get a lot more control since you are pushing just a little bit with each turn.
I actually like to stop after every turn to make sure that it is just the leather and the insole that are being stretched, and that I am not putting too much pressure on the seams. It may feel like a very tedious process, but you need to remember that you are trying to widen what are work boots and, at the end of the day, they need to be just as strong when you are done as when you started.
In terms of the other features of the XinLinke, I would like to point out that it is made from the same cast iron that the Nanny McPhee uses, and therefore it is almost as sturdy as the metal toe insert itself. It does not feel as polished as the Nanny McPhee, but it is good enough and it should be able to do the job. It also does not have bunions attachments although the holes are there, so make sure you do not need those before you order.
Foot Fitter Professional Shoe Stretcher
Finally, I thought I would introduce a wooden boot stretcher for those of you who are not fond of metal. The fact of the matter is that, with steel toe boot stretchers, you are not really pushing or stretching the metal so a wooden shoe stretcher might just do the trick.
On the other hand, you are trying to stretch out parts of the shoe that are not really meant to be stretched even when the process is performed on regular shoes.
It is for that reason that I decided to go with the absolute best wooden shoe stretcher on the market. To put it this way, if you walked into a high-end shoe store today and asked for a shoe stretcher, it is very likely that they would sell you or suggest that you look for a Foot Fitter product.
Foot Fitters really are the go-to name for quality shoe stretchers because of the many years of delivering high-quality products and also because, even today, their shoe stretchers are some of the best on the market.
The Professional line, for example, comes with bunions stretchers and extra thick back support so, one way or another, they will make enough room in those boots to fit you, provided the size difference is not too big, of course.