How to Stretch Horse Riding Boots

There’s no mistaking that dreadful pinch around your toes and the soreness on your heels. What’s more disappointing than splashing out on a new pair of horse riding boots, only to find they’re a much tighter fit than you’d have liked? It’s a common problem faced by horse riders around the world. Many riders, at some point or other, will have wondered how to stretch horse riding boots.

For horse riders, comfort and control are key. An ill-fitting pair of boots can cause a lot of pain and really affect your riding for the worse. The good news is that there are plenty of tips and tricks you can try to stretch out your riding boots and make them fit better. Read on to get the lowdown on how to stretch horse riding boots!

How Can I Stretch My Riding Boots? 

stretch horse riding boots rider on horse

Bear in mind that you may need to try out a few different methods on this list before finding the one that works for you. This is because each rider and foot are different, so what works for someone else might not work as well for you. Let’s take a look at some common, tried and tested methods of stretching out riding boots. 

Boot Stretchers 

Boot stretchers are made of wood, metal or plastic. They are designed to fit inside the boot and expand in an outwards direction when twisted. You basically insert them into the boot and twist the handle until it feels tight. You can then leave them for at least eight hours to stretch out. 

Boot stretchers come in different price ranges, from less than ten dollars up to one hundred dollars. They’re probably the best option for riders looking for speed and convenience when stretching out their riding boots — there’s no mess and a few quick turns of a handle is all it takes. Boot stretchers can be purchased from retail stores or online.

There are also special boot stretchers available for riders with boots a little too tight around the calves. 

The Hairdryer Method

For this method, you will need a couple of pairs of thick socks and a hairdryer. Put the two pairs of socks on your feet, then put on your boots. Take the hairdryer setting and aim it at your boots. Work your way around each boot, being sure to warm up all areas. Be careful not to apply too much heat — it may be a good idea to keep the dryer on a low or medium setting. 

Around 30 – 40 seconds on each part of the boot should be enough. When you’re done, keep the boots on as they cool down. Feel free to stand up and walk around — this may help the stretching process. You may need to repeat this method a few times for optimum results. 

The Freezer Method

This method is slightly less practical and may take up a little more of your time. You also will have to not mind putting your boots in the freezer.

Fill up some plastic bags with water and seal them. Stuff them inside your boots, then simply pop them in the freezer. As the water freezes, it will expand your boots and hopefully make them more comfortable to wear. Remember to make sure the bags are properly sealed inside the boots — you don’t want to get the inside of your boots wet! 

Again, you may need to repeat this method multiple times before seeing the results you want. 

The Potato Method

stretch horse riding boots dressage rider

We get it — this method sounds (and is) a little unorthodox, but some people have reported success with it. You simply peel a potato of a size that will fit into the boot, put it in and leave it overnight. Use two for a bit of extra stretch. Make sure you dry the potato off before putting it in the boot or wrap it in a paper towel. 

Wear Them in Short Bursts

One of the more traditional methods of boot stretching is to simply wear them in. Try wearing them in short bursts, for around 10 minutes at a time. You can then gradually increase the time you spend in them until they become comfortable. You can also try doing this wearing thick socks — this may pinch a little, but at least you’ll be safe from blisters! 

Stuff the Boots

This method requires some sheets of newspaper and a bit of water. Scrunch up the sheets of newspaper and wet them slightly. Be careful not to soak them. Stuff them inside the boots and let the paper dry. The paper gets bigger as it dries, which helps to stretch out the boots a little more. Take the paper out when it’s dry and try the boots on again. 

Make sure the paper is completely dry before you take it out of the boots or this method won’t work. 

Stretching Sprays

That’s right — stretching sprays are really a thing! They can be found in stores or you can buy them online. You basically spray inside the boot in the areas that cause you discomfort, then wear the boots for a while to help stretch them out. 

You can also pair stretching sprays with boot stretchers instead, in the same way as mentioned above. Just leave the boot stretchers in overnight after giving the boots a good spray and try them out in the morning. You can even make your own stretching spray by mixing equal parts rubbing alcohol and water together in a spray bottle. 

See a Professional 

If all else fails or you don’t want to do it yourself, a visit to a cobbler should sort you out. Cobblers can professionally stretch out your horse riding boots using a special stretching machine. This is probably the most foolproof method, but if you’re happy to give it a go yourself, give some of the methods above a fair try first. 

Shoe Trees

This is less a recommendation for how to stretch your riding boots and more an idea for how to keep the new shape. Shoe trees are not designed to stretch, but rather to sit inside the shoe or boot when you’re not wearing them to keep the shape. If you’ve recently stretched out your shoes, this might help maintain the shape and size you’re happy with. 

Why are Riding Boots So Important? 

Proper riding boots are crucial for horse riders. Horse riding boots help protect your feet if they get stepped on, prevent you from getting caught up in the stirrups and give you more control when riding in terms of leg placement. They’re also designed to be durable, so they’re perfect for less enjoyable aspects of horse ownership, like yard work. 

Horse riding boots are also important in the traditional sense, especially if you plan on eventing or doing dressage. This is because they look elegant and formal, and formality is very important in many horse-related competitions, especially in English riding. 

So, if you’re thinking about temporarily substituting your boots for a pair of sneakers, you might want to think again. Not wearing proper riding boots can have pretty nasty consequences if you happen to fall from your horse. In short, you won’t find any serious, sensible rider without a good pair of riding boots to their name! 

stretch horse riding boots riding practice

Where Can I Buy Horse Riding Boots? 

If you’re absolutely 100% certain of your boot size, buying online might be a good option for you. This way, you can read about the exact specifications of each brand and read reviews on comfort and practicality by other riders. 

If you’re a novice rider and are unsure about your size, you’re probably better off getting tailor-made riding boots or visiting a horse shop. Here, they will be able to measure you up and give you advice on the best kind of boots for you. 

Feel free to check out our articles on the best horse riding boots for men and for women for some ideas. 

Sum Up

  • Proper horse riding boots are extremely important for riders. Wearing other types of footwear, like sneakers, can be very dangerous. 
  • Comfort and control are of paramount importance when horseback riding. A pair of well-fitting boots can make all the difference. 
  • If you’re unsure if a pair of boots are going to fit well, it might be worth buying from a shop or investing in tailor-made boots. 
  • There are plenty of methods for stretching out your riding boots if they’re feeling a little too snug for your liking. You can experiment with a few methods to find which one works best for you. 
  • When stretching out your boots with spray, avoid spraying the outside of the boot. 

Final Thoughts

The multitude of methods for boot stretching should reassure you that all is not lost if you’re feeling a bit disheartened by that pinch in your toe. Given that there are so many different ways of stretching your riding boots, you can always try another method if something doesn’t work out for you. 

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in giving you a few ideas for ways to stretch out your riding boots. Happy riding!