Can You Use a Shoe Stretcher on Boots?

I became interested in shoe stretchers as my two kids often complain about their footwear being too tight… or too lose, but that is an entirely different story. Tight shoes translate into lack of comfort which in turn translate into cranky children. And as my kids are two and five years old, they don’t have the patience to break the shoes in. Hence, I had to find a solution and I found one in using shoe stretchers.

Can You Use a Shoe Stretcher on Boots?

Most shoe stretchers do in fact work on boots just as on regular shoes. There are some specific shoe stretchers that actually will not fit down into the heal of the boot, because the turning knob is not angled correctly, but most of them will work.

So, if you are in the process of buying a shoe stretcher, consider on with a turning know that angles upwards. If you already have a shoe stretcher, than it’s a simple matter of seeing if it fits or not.

How Do You Use a Shoe Stretcher on Boots?

When using a shoe stretcher on boots, you must first take the necessary precautions. This can be done by using a shoe stretcher spray because the leather in boots is much sturdier than in shoes, so it really needs to be softened up before use.

A shoe stretcher spray, in case you are wondering, is a softening liquid spray formulated to aid in stretching of the material your boots are made of. You must spray the inside and outside of your boot enough that it is visibly wet. A helpful tip is to focus on areas that are particularly tight. 

Insert spot stretching plugs at places where you require pressure relief. Then place the shoe stretcher into your boots. Make sure that the stretcher is completely closed before placing it in. The shoe stretcher must touch the end of the toe box.

Once the shoe stretcher is positioned, turn the handle gently to ensure a snug fit. Rotate the handle clockwise to widen the toe box. When I first tried this, I was cautious as not to overdo it with the rotating. The fact is it will take two to three complete turns before you see the boot expanding.

Another helpful tip is that you ensure that you don’t stretch your boots too much in the first go and as you can always come back to stretch it more, but you can shrink it later if it becomes too lose. You don’t want to start with a tight shoe and end up with a loose one. The aim here to get the right fit.

Does a Shoe Stretcher Really Work on Boots?

The answer is yes, they do work on boots if you use them properly and understand their limitations. They are no miracle workers or an instant solution. Using a shoe stretcher is a laborious process but if done right, you will be happy with the result.

The purpose of a shoe stretcher is to give you extra space in your boots, perhaps up to half-inch and relieve pressure points. Hence, if your shoes are a little tight, toes feel pinched or heels hurt, a shoe stretcher can do the trick for you and make your shoe fit better or feel more comfortable.

But if you want your boots to become two sizes larger or more, you may be disappointed as that is beyond the scope of shoe stretcher. In such a case, you should return your boots and get the correct size for you.

You can stretch the width or length of your boots by using a shoe stretcher as there are some that work in one direction only whereas other works in both directions. 

The effect of a shoe stretcher is also dependent on the material your boots are made from. The best materials stretching are natural materials such as leather or canvas. Natural materials have more give than synthetic materials. If you have synthetic material boots, don’t panic.

They will work on them, but results might not be so long-lasting. Synthetic materials have the tendency to revert so you may need to stretch them again but not for a while.

How Long Should You Use a Shoe Stretcher

When widening your boots using shoe stretcher, it is important to know how long to leave the shoe stretcher in the boots. Do you take it out within an hour or wait a few days? Well, you don’t need to wait a couple of days to be able to wear your boots.

Once you have stretched the boot, leave the stretcher in the boots for six to eight hours and then check for fit. When stretching your boots, you must widen them little at a time. As I mentioned before, you don’t want loose boots as it may not be possible to tighten them.

After the initial stretch, you feel that the fit is not quite right, repeat the process. Put the stretcher back in, rotate the handle clockwise for additional stretching and wait for another eight hours. It may take one to two days for you to get the right fit but its worth it when you get that perfect, comfortable fit.

Another aspect I feel is very important to emphasize is that a shoe stretcher has a limit to how much they can stretch the boot. They work well in increase the boot size by half a size. The maximum you can aim for, if you really love a pair of boots, is an increase of a size – personally I think its ambitious.

You cannot increase your boots size by more than one size. If you do try to further stretch your boots, the leather may warp visibly and the seams may frail, in short, you can ruin your boots.  If you want boots two or more size bigger, exchange them.

Can You Stretch Boots Wider?

Shoe stretchers are versatile tools that can lengthen or widen your boots depending on your needs. The way these stretchers are designed, when positioned correctly inside the shoe, the handle rotation makes the part inside the toe box expand which exerts pressure on the boot causing it to widen. And leaving the stretcher in for eight hours sets the widen shape.

In addition to widening the boots, shoe stretcher can stretch specific areas if you suffer discomfort from calluses or bunions and the pressure boots place on them. As I explained earlier, there are plugs that come with shoe stretchers for this purpose. You insert the stretching plugs at problem areas where you get bunions or corns and they help to relieve pressure.