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Do Hiking Boots Stretch: Useful Tips For The Best Fit

Do Hiking Boots Stretch

Highly superior hiking boots are extremely important for your hiking adventure. Purchasing an expensive pair of boots is an investment that you will never regret. However, you need to know that new boots have to break, regardless if they are made of leather or synthetic materials. Furthermore, you have the option to stretch your new boots in case the size is not quite suitable for you.

Why break a pair of hiking boots?

Wearing new hiking boots is a pride that you cannot just ignore. Your friends will likely notice that you bought a new one. But new boots must be broken in order to avoid blisters on your feet. They are not used to your feet’s structure yet, and so when you wear them, your feet are at risk of getting hurt. Before you go on your hiking trip, your new hiking boot must go through a break-in method so it can truly be yours in all sense. Breaking your new boots also gives you the chance to determine if you need to stretch your boots or not. However, if you are a novice hiker, you probably want to know do hiking boots stretch? Useful tips for the best fit will be revealed in this post.

Hiking boots stretching process

Once you realize that your new hiking boots will be much better if they are a bit bigger in size, you can return them, buy a new pair, or stretch your boots. The latter is best option, since it is quite easy to stretch hiking boots. Simply follow the following steps:

  • Get a plastic gallon-sized bag and pour in water amounting to one-third of the food storage bag. Remove the air from the plastic bag before you seal it. Just make sure that you only use the most durable plastic bag, so the water will not spill.
  • Insert the plastic bag with water into the section of your boot that you want to stretch. This task is seamless if you need the heel or toe or both to extend in size. But if want you want to stretch is in the calf portion, then what you need to do is fill the bottom of the boot with balled-up used papers. Using the balled papers can help you position the plastic bag properly.
  • Bring your boot to your fridge and put it in the freezer. Leave your boot to freeze for the whole night. Letting your boot sit for at least eight hours in the freezer freezes the water inside the plastic bag. And the iced water expands and that change causes your boot to stretch.
  • When morning comes, remove your boot from the freezer and let the ice thaw for 20 minutes. Remember never to remove the ice from your boot immediately after the time elapsed for freezing. Doing so could ruin your boot. Let it sit and gently remove the plastic bag once the ice is thawed.
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Additional methods for stretching

Aside from the old-time favorite freezer trick for stretching a new pair of boots, there are other methods as well in achieving your boot size preference.

Boot stretcher

A boot stretcher is a convenient and easy way to stretch your boots. You can buy one from any shoe store. The boot stretcher is capable of extending the size of your boots from ½ to 1 full size. If you want more than that, then it is better to return your new boots or buy a new pair. This tool comes in three varieties.

  • 1-way stretcher – this tool stretches the width of your boots only.
  • 2-way stretcher – this boot stretcher is designed to stretch both the length and width of your boots.
  • Boot-calf stretcher – this stretcher is specific for the calves’ portion of your boot. You can purchase it separately. But sometimes, a calf stretcher is combines with the other two types of boot stretchers.

This stretching tool is available in plastic and wood. The wood is great since it is durable and leaves a nice scent on your boot. The plastic is less expensive, and it is easier to bring with your anywhere. Also, be clear about what you want to purchase. Buy a boot stretcher, not a shoe stretcher. There is no long handle in a shoe stretcher, which will make it challenging for you to use.

It is ideal to purchase two boot stretchers at the same time. Take note that you have one set of boots that is actually equal to two individual boots. So unless you have all the time in the world to stretch each boots alone, it is recommended that you buy two tools.

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Leather-stretching spray

A leather-stretching spray is available in many shoe stores. All you have to do is spray this formula inside your shoe where you want the stretch to happen. Remember to wear your boot while wetness from the spray is still present in order to stretch your boot.

Alcohol + water

A ratio of 1:1 for alcohol and water is another solution for stretching your new boots. Put the mixture inside an empty spray bottle and spray the mixture inside your boots. Make sure that the inside of your boots are completely wet, and wear your boots until they are totally dry. Wearing your wet boots will ensure that your correct feet size is imprinted in your boots.

Leather conditioning cream

Completely submerge your new boots into a bucket of clean water, and let them be for five minutes. And then take out your boots and put them on your feet for 30 minutes. While you are waiting, apply a leather conditioning cream into your boots to retain their stretched size.

Concluding Thoughts

Stretching your new boots can be tricky and challenging, but it can be done. If you feel weird wearing wet boots and forming your feet to your boots, then you can always choose the freezer method. Just make sure to clean your freezer after.

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