How to Stretch Leather Boots Around the Calf

This guide is to help you find some easy ways you can stretch your leather boots around the calf. Sometimes a new pair of biker or cowboy boots are purchased that fit great in the foot but are a little too tight north of the ankles. So we decided to put together an easy guide on how to stretch leather boots around the calf with a few different methods you can do yourself at home. 

Note: This guide is for specifically for stretching leather boots and is not recommended for stretching pleather/fake leather boots or boots made out of man made materials.

Method 1: Use a boot stretcher to stretch out boot calves

This is our preferred method because it’s the simplest. All you need is a boot stretcher specifically made to stretch around the calf area of the boot. We found the FootFitter Instep and Shaft Stretcher works best for this.

how to stretch leather boots calf

How to use the FootFitter Stretcher:

  1. The stretcher has two parts: The top part which stretches out the boot calf and the bottom section which stretches in the instep. You are gong to be using the top section to stretch each boot calf. 

  2. Measure your calf to determine how much of a stretch is needed in the calf of the boot. 

  3. Turn the top handle to your desired stretch. It helps to run measuring tape along the circumference of the boot calf as your are turning so you know when you have matched your calf circumference. 
  4. It is recommended you leave the boot stretcher in for a few hours at the very least, ideally you would leave the stretcher in overnight. 

This is a simple and painless process and the easiest of all of the calf stretching methods for boots. The FootFitter Stretcher will be a well worth the investment if you often have issues with high boots that fit poorly around your calves. Not only will is it the easiest way to stretch a boot calf but it will save you money from having to go to a cobbler for a stretching service.

how to stretch leather boots calf

Be weary when purchasing other supposed “boot calf stretchers” made out of wood or plastic. Sometimes vendors advertise these pieces as boot stretchers but they are nothing more than boot trees to help retain the boot’s shape. They do not stretch the calf of leather boots.


Method 2: Use water and conditioner to to stretch leather boots around the calf

This next method is pretty simple. All you need is a bucket (or other container you can fill with water) and a good leather conditioner. For more information on which leather conditioner is right for your boots check out our leather conditioner guide.

How to stretch boots around the calf using water and conditioner:

  1. Fill a bucket or container with water and immerse the entire boot into the water. It is important that you wet the entire boot, only wetting parts of the boot can leave unsightly water rings or cause a two toned boot. To avoid this it is best to immerse the entire boot. 
  2. Let the boots soak in water for about 5-10 minutes. We want to make sure the water soaks into the leather of the boots.
  3. After soaking, take the leather boots out of the water and shake the excess water from the inside of the boot. While the boots are still wet, put them on. This may be uncomfortable but it’s important to allow the leather to conform around your feet and calves. 
  4.  When the water starts to evaporate from the leather (and while you are still wearing your boots) start to rub in leather conditioner into the leather. You want the pores of the leather to soak up the conditioner as the water is drying.

This method can get a bit uncomfortable but will work as long as you are persistent and patient. Not only will you be able to stretch the calf of leather boots but you can also stretch around the toes and foot with this water and conditioner method.

Method 3: Use a leather stretching spray to stretch leather boots along the calf

All you need for this method is a good leather stretching spray and some patience. For leather stretching spray we recommend Foot Matters Shoe Stretch spray. Please note that leather stretching spray is NOT recommended for made-made materials so only use this method if you need to stretch leather boot calves.


How to stretch out boots calves with leather stretching spray:

  1. Spray the inside of the boots with leather stretching spray.
  2. Put on the boots and let the leather conform to your calves. This may be a bit uncomfortable at first but with some patience the leather stretching spray will aid in the permanent stretch of the leather.
  3. Repeat the process as needed.


The above methods for stretching out your boots around the calves are all techniques you can do yourself at home. But sometimes DIY methods are not enough. If you are having trouble stretching out your leather boots around the calf, another option is to take your boots to a cobbler to get them professionally stretched. A professional cobbler has all of the right tools for properly stretching out boot calves. Costs depend on the work needed but generally run from $15-85 depending on the service. You can find a cobbler locally by looking up shoe repair shops near you.