How To Soften Stiff Leather Boots

Soften Stiff Leather Boots

Leather boots not only look good but they also serve a variety of function for the wearer. That being said, leather boots (fresh or new leather) can be very tight and uncomfortable to wear eventually hurting or injuring your toes. Over time though, the leather boots can stretch out but there are quicker and more effective methods of softening your stiff leather boots which we will be looking at today.

Understanding Your Leather Boots

Leather boots are made of a very thick type of leather, this thickness is what makes the boots feel stiff and uncomfortable when worn. This is not a problem though (except for the agony of your feet), in fact thick or stiff leather boots are a sign of the workmanship of the boot maker (provided they’re the right size) and the type of high-quality leather that was used to make the leather boots. So when purchasing leather boots (made from genuine leather) it is important to remember that they may take a while to break into, usually two or more months depending on how much you wear them. So when wearing the leather boots for the first few months, you will feel uncomfortable until the leather is stretched out such that it fits correctly on your feet. The leather boots have to stretch around your feet (break in) in order to be comfortable. The stretch of your leather boots won’t be very drastic, it will instead be slight enough such that the leather boots feel soft on your feet.

Ways To Soften Your Leather Boots

  • Mink Oil – Using this type of oil is a good way of softening your leather boots quicker. And this process requires regular application so that the leather boots stay as fresh and soft as possible. This type of oil can also help keep your leather boots water resistant, which is important because moisture or wetness can lead to excessive stretching or be one of the reasons for stiff and uncomfortable boots. Just be sure to clean your boots thoroughly with a shoe brush before applying the mink oil with a clean cloth. The mink oil needs to soak or sip into the leather boots for maximum softening so be sure to leave them out for 24 hours.
  • Boot Stretcher – This way of softening your leather boots requires this device and it does exactly what its name is. It is a fairly simple device to use and quite inexpensive, it helps stretch out your stiff leather boots to the intended size (where you’ll have less agony when wearing them) and so makes them comfortable to wear. Leave the boot stretcher in the leather boots overnight for an effective stretching and softening.
  • Freezing – That’s right, and it may seem counterintuitive because freezing produces ice which makes things more stiff. But here’s how you can freeze your stiff leather boots in order to soften them; fill two plastic bags (or Ziplock bags) with water and make sure they’re air tight. Then place each of the plastic bags inside the leather boots, make sure that the water in the plastic bags doesn’t excessively stretch out your leather boots. To hold the water-filled plastic bags in place you can use old newspapers by stuffing them directly into the leather boots. Tou can then place each of your leather boots into a plastic bag to avoid the leather from absorbing unwanted odors. You can then put your boots into a freezer overnight. Water expands when it is freezed and so this will also expand or stretch out the leather boots. In the morning, when you have properly removed everything from your boots, they should be softened.
  • Saddle Soap – This is one way to ‘hydrate’ leather because it is essentially animal skin. Saddle soap helps clean the surface of the leather boots thoroughly, making them nourished and pliable. It is important though that you first use saddle soap to clean the leather boots first and then use a leather conditioner like leather oil or leather grease to keep the boots nourished and pliable, whilst being soft and comfortable to wear.
  • Stretching Spray – This is a product that stretches the leather boots by loosening the fiber composition of the leather that make up the boots. Although leather can relatively stretch when it is wet, a stretching spray nullifies the damage that may occur when wet leather is stretched. You should apply the stretch spray on areas of the leather boots you feel are too tight and then a few hours after spraying the stretching spray, you should wear the boots to stretch them out, so as to male the leather assume the exact shape of your feet.

More On Softening Your Stiff Leather Boots

  • You can wear thicker socks to stretch out your leather boots. This will not only keep your feet comfortable, it will also soften your leather boots by stretching them out.
  • You can use what are known as boot trees to stretch out and thus soften your leather boots. These are not to be confused with boot stretchers. Because leather is a natural material, it is prone to shrinkage after a while. Boot trees maintain the shape of the boot and reduce shrinkage. You often have to place boot trees into your leather boots when storing them after use. As opposed to boot stretchers which you use once off or after some time.
  • Keep your leather boots conditioned with the recommended products. You will often be given the option to buy a leather maintenance kit (in addition to purchasing your genuine leather boots. Which you should definitely get.)


Genuine leather boots look very good to say the least. They offer a style and aesthetic no other form or type of fabric (material) on the market can offer. It is only right then that it takes so much work to keep the leather boots looking as clean and fresh as when you first bought them. Just be sure to store your boots in an environment that is friendly to leather material; that is a cool dry place with little to no humidity at all.