Do Boots Stretch As You Wear Them? [And how much]

Do boots stretch as you wear them? It's a question you want the answer to before you head out shoe shopping. But there are so many different types of boots. Is the answer true for all of them? We have researched this so you can make a smart decision when buying your next pair of kicks!

There are four common types of boots with varying degrees of stretch: 

  • Hiking (many hiking boots will have a little give)
  • Rain (rain boots typically don't stretch)
  • Fashion (many fashion boots, depending on the material, will stretch)
  • Snow (snow boots typically don't stretch)

young woman hiker legs wearing boots while walking on trail in grassland, Do Boots Stretch As You Wear Them? [And how much]

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Let's dive a little deeper into each type and find out why they do or do not stretch.

How Tight Should Boots Be?

Boots should generally be measured by how they feel on your instep. If they feel too tight, then you probably need to go up a half size. A little slippage is okay if the boots are stiff because as they conform to your foot, it should lessen. If your heel slips a lot, then you need to go narrower or down a half of a size. Also, you don't want your toes hitting at the end of the toe box. Be sure to walk a few steps in your boots to make sure you have plenty of toe clearance without touching the tip of the boot from the inside.

Do Hiking Boots Stretch?

If you're buying new hiking boots, the main thing you want to think about is how it fits on your heel. Most hiking boots lace up, so the ankle and calf width shouldn't be an issue, but if your heel slips around inside (while wearing a pair of hiking socks), that will be your number one cause for blisters. Like most shoes, your boots will give a little bit over time, but hiking boots will stay reasonably true to size.

Do Rain Boots Stretch?

Rain boots are typically made out of manmade and waterproof materials. As a result of this, they do not stretch easily. It's better to get a pair of rainboots that are slightly big than slightly snug as you won't have much or any give over time.

Do Snow Boots Stretch?

Snow boots come in a wide variety of styles and intensity of weather protection. Many are made from manmade materials that are less likely to stretch than waterproofed leathers; however, some snow boots can stretch a bit with time. Usually, though, it is recommended that you buy your snow boots slightly larger than you would buy a regular pair of shoes. This allows for the fleece lining and the thicker pair of socks you're likely to wear.

One user of these Sorel boots said that wearing a thick pair of winter socks for a day helped stretch them out just enough to make them more comfortable for her to wear for long stretches.

Click here for this cute pair on Amazon.

Do Fashion Boots Stretch?

Fashion boots come in a wide variety of materials, which means their ability to stretch is also a wide range. Typically speaking, natural materials like canvas and leather and fur will have stretch and give, whereas faux leathers and manmade materials will have less give over time. 

Vinyl boots are going to have much less stretch over time than leather boots will.

These fun orange boots are here on Amazon.

Leather boots, on the other hand, are going to give you more freedom and flexibility with size. It's no wonder people love a perfectly worn-in pair of cowboy boots.

These Ariat ranchers will mold to your feet over time.

Click here for these on Amazon.

Will Leather Boots Stretch?

If your boots are made of actual leather and not a manmade leather, then yes, they will stretch. Most boots will stretch as much as a quarter of size on their own. This is why getting the right size is essential. Too loose at the store will mean they're way too loose after some wear. Too tight at the store, and chances are they won't stretch enough to work. A little snug, you'll probably be okay.

How Much Does It Cost To Stretch Leather Boots?

You can take leather boots to a cobbler to have them stretched. From a quick search, it seems that most shoe repairmen will charge anywhere from $15-$25 depending on the boot and what needs to be extended (width or length and width).

Can You Stretch Leather Boots Half A Size?

It is possible to stretch your leather boot up half a size. There are various tricks you can try to get them to do this. First, try a leather oil conditioner. This will soften the leather before wearing them and allow them to stretch.

Click here to purchase this on Amazon.

Second, you can try a pair of boot stretchers. Spray your boots with the shoe stretch material, walk around in them, then put your stretchers in overnight. This pair works on men or women's shoes and boots and will stretch both length and width.

Click here for this on Amazon.

Another trick is to put on your thickest pair of socks. Walk around in your boots, then hit them with your hairdryer. The heat softens up the leather, and the socks work on stretching them out.

If you're unable to stretch them as you need to, then we suggest taking them to a cobbler.

How Can You Tell If Leather Boots Are Too Small?

Look to your toes and your heel. If your toe hits the end of the toe box when you walk, then your boots are too small. If you heel slides, then you'll wind up with blisters. You want a slight amount of give in your boot. Also, if your boot feels very tight around your instep, then they are probably too narrow, and you either need to go up in width or a half of a size.

Now that you have a good handle on how much, or how little, stretch you can expect with your boot choices, it's time to go shopping! We've got more great posts at that might be a super place to start:

Where to Buy Leather Boots? [Top 40 Online Stores]

7 Most Comfortable Fashion Boot Brands For Women

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