How to Stretch Work Boots

 In Work Boots

Have you ever thrown on a new pair of work boots, gone to work, and then spent the day feeling like your feet are getting crushed?

We’ve been there too.

Fortunately, just a few simple steps can help you easily stretch new work boots. Here are our expert tips on how to stretch work boots fast so you can avoid blisters and pinching.

In This Blog

The Ultimate Guide on How to Stretch New Work Boots

Here, we’ll go over how to stretch out work boots of varying types, including how to stretch leather work boots and how to stretch steel toe work boots.

How to Stretch Work Boots at Home (General Work Boots)

Infographic showing 5 methods for stretching work boots including boot stretcher, thin socks, spray/oil, freezing, and gradual wear

Here are the steps on how to stretch work boots at home:

1. Use A Boot Stretcher

Boot stretchers have been a tried and true method for stretching work boots for generations. If your boots are tight on your toes or calves, a boot stretcher may be your best bet.

Widely available, boot stretchers are a tool that gets inserted into the boot and left to sit for a while, gently breaking the boots in to help them fit better. Make sure you buy the correct width and size boot stretcher to ensure the best results.

2. Try Wearing Thick Socks

Sometimes, stretching out new work boots is as simple as wearing a pair of thick socks to break the boots in. If you don’t have noticeable pinching on your calves or toes, wearing thick socks can help protect your feet against blisters as you adapt to the new boots.

After about a week, you can switch back to normal socks. Your boots may feel tight for the week, but by the end of it, your feet should be adjusted to the new boots.

3. Try a Spray or Oil Conditioner

There is a vast range of sprays and oil conditioners that can help soften tight boots. Boot stretch sprays are designed to increase the flexibility of the material and cut down on stiffness.

It is crucial to know the material your boot is made from so you can select the appropriate spray or oil conditioner. Make sure your boot material is compatible with the product you select and follow the product instructions closely to avoid damaging your new work boots.

4. Freeze the Work Boots

When water freezes into ice, it expands. This is a great DIY method to stretch work boots.

Here is how to stretch work boots by freezing them:

  • Fill airtight polythene sandwich-size bags with water (you can use a second bag over the water-filled bag to prevent leaks)
  • Seal the bags tightly and make sure there are no leaks
  • Set a water-filled bag in each shoe
  • Make sure the bag conforms to the inner toe area
  • Put your boots in clean bags to protect both the boots and your freezer
  • Place the boots in the freezer overnight (prop up the heels with a piece of wood or a book to ensure the bags of water fill the toe box area)
  • Take your work boots out of the freezer and allow them to thaw for 20 minutes (place a rug or towel down to protect your floors)
  • Remove the bags and try your boots on
  • Repeat the process if necessary

5. Wear Them a Little While at a Time

This may be the easiest way to stretch work boots but it will take the longest. For this method, simply wear your new work boots for 2 to 3 hours each day. You can wear them around your house or yard. This method allows your feet to gradually adjust to the new work boots while also slowly stretching them.

How to Stretch Steel Toe Work Boots

Man using his hands to try stretch his work boots

If you’re wondering how to stretch steel toe work boots, you can use all the same methods mentioned above:

  • Use the freezer method
  • Use a conditioner specifically designed for stretching steel toe boots
  • Wear them a few hours at a time
  • Wear the boots with thick socks on
  • Use a boot stretcher

Because of the rigid nature of the toe box, steel toe work boots can be a little more difficult to stretch compared to other materials. You may need to try several methods or repeat the methods several times until your steel toe boots are broken in.

How to Stretch Leather Work Boots

Steel blue leather work boots

Steel Blue Argyle Meta Safety Boot 312802 – $218.00

Leather can be fragile and susceptible to damage. There are special considerations when you are learning how to stretch leather work boots:

1. Only Use Suitable Conditioning Sprays or Stretching Liquids

Always follow the directions closely. Typically, this involves rubbing leather conditioner in circular motions over the outer surface of the boots. This will help soften the leather, protect it, and make it easier to stretch the boots. Always check the label closely. Some conditioners or sprays are made for external use only, while other leather conditioners are made to be used on the interior of the boots

2. Try Using Heat

Synthetic materials such as pleather or vinyl can be damaged from heat, but heat can help soften and stretch leather boots to help them conform to your feet.

For this DIY boot stretching method, you can simply use a hairdryer. Be careful not to overheat any areas or burn your feet.

How to stretch leather work boots at home using heat

  1. Put on a pair of thick socks and put on your work boots
  2. Grab a hairdryer and put it on medium heat, holding it about 3 inches from the boots
  3. Hold it for 30 seconds at a time over areas where your boots are tight or pinching
  4. Repeat as needed until the boots are comfortable, taking care not to overheat any areas or damage the material
  5. Apply a leather conditioner when you are finished

Alternative method to stretching work boots with heat

  1. Use a hairdryer on medium heat to warm the inner surface of the boot
  2. Once you can feel the heat coming through to the outer surface of the boot, turn off the dryer and stuff the boots tightly with socks or old towels, concentrating on the toe area
  3. Let the socks sit in the boots for several hours
  4. Try the boots on and repeat the process if needed


What tools do I need for stretching work boots?

Depending on the method you choose to stretch your work boots, here are some helpful items to have on hand:

  • A boot stretcher of the appropriate size and width
  • Conditioning spray or oil suitable for your boot’s material
  • A broom (you can carefully use a broom handle as a DIY boot stretching tool)
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • A hairdryer
  • Thick socks or hand towels

Did I buy the wrong size work boots?

It can be worrisome if your new work boots feel tight once you start wearing them but this is normal most of the time. Although some degree of tightness is expected for new work boots, you should not have any shooting pains.

To ensure you are buying the right size work boot for your feet, view our work boots size chart.

How many days does it take to stretch boots?

With normal wear, it typically takes around 40 hours to break in a new pair of work boots. You can wear your new work boots a few hours a day to help them mould to your feet or try some of the boot stretching methods above to hasten the process.

Will I need to clean my work boots after stretching?

You should not need to clean your work boots after stretching. However, if something unexpected happens, you can review our guide on how to clean work boots easily from home.


We hope you found our guide on how to stretch work boots helpful. As Perth’s leading supplier of safety boots and footwear, protective clothing, and corporate wear, we are your local experts on workwear and boots.

If you have more questions or need personalised advise on buying new work boots, we’d love to chat with you! Get in touch today via phone or email or stop by our store in Osborne Park!

Looking for assistance or guidance with your workwear needs? We're here to help! Get in touch with our expert team using the form provided below.

    Two boots, one clean and one dirty, side by side on a table with a cloth, scrub, and wax.Composite toe boots next to steel toe boots on a construction site