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How To Widen Steel Toe Boots? 7 Hacks For A Great Fit

How To Widen Steel Toe Boots? 7 Hacks For A Great Fit

Even though you spend most of your days on your feet and comfort should be your top priority, work boots aren’t always the most comfortable footwear you can have. Because of that, knowing how to widen steel toe boots can make your work days a lot easier.

No matter the brand and quality of your work boots, it’s normal that they feel a bit stiff on your feet at first. The worst thing you can do is give up on them and throw them away after a few uses. Since you’re here, you’re already on the right track to enjoy your boots for a long time.

Steel toe boots are known for their durability, toughness, and ability to keep your feet safe. Because of that, breaking them in can be quite challenging. Luckily, there are some simple ways that can help you widen your pair without too much effort.

Work footwear that doesn’t fit you well can negatively affect your health and cause long-lasting problems. Therefore, it’s crucial that you make your boots as comfortable as possible.

There’s nothing worse than having to work a long day in brand-new boots that haven’t been broken in. Luckily, we’re here to help you learn how to widen steel toe boots, so this can become an issue of the past.

What are steel toe boots made of?

How To Widen Steel Toe Boots? 7 Hacks For A Great Fit

To find the right solution for how to widen steel toe boots, it’s important to know how they’re constructed and what they’re made of. As the name suggests, the toe box is made of strengthened steel.

This steel part of your boots wraps around your toes, and in some pairs goes beneath the balls of your feet. The steel is then covered with a layer of foam, protective material, and of course, leather.

Because of the steel in your shoes, they can be very challenging to widen. The steel protects the leather if you try to exert pressure from the inside, making it difficult to do any stretching. But it’s not impossible!

The only way you can widen steel toe boots is by doing it from within. You should focus on the insoles and the parts of the boot that don’t consist of steel. Luckily, there are some methods that can help you achieve this, and we’ll go through them together.

How to widen steel toe boots: 7 easy ways

There are quite a few answers to the question of how to widen steel toe boots. Of course, you can always use tools that are specifically made for this, but that’s not the only solution.

There isn’t one “right” way to widen your steel toe boots, but there are several methods that can help you achieve that goal. Let’s see what are some ways you can widen your steel toe footwear and mold them to fit your feet better.

1. Sometimes water can be just enough

Who would’ve thought that some H2O could help you widen your steel toe boots, but it’s the truth. The ice method has been used for quite some time now for various types of footwear, including work boots.

The whole process is pretty easy. Fill a small plastic bag with water and get as much excess air as you can out of it, before sealing. Slowly put the bag in the boot. Be careful not to pop the bag and soak your boots.

Once you place the bags in your boots, put them in the freezer overnight. As the water freezes, it will expand and push outwards. This is especially useful if your boots have some design flaws and one of their edges is bent inwards. Using the freezing water, you’ll be able to push these edges out.

This is also a great way to fix your boots if something heavy has fallen on top of them and warped the metal. Because the ice expands a lot, there’s a high possibility that the bags will pop, so don’t worry if your boots end up getting wet. Just make sure to let them air-dry once you’re happy with the results.

2. Use heat from your hairdryer

How To Widen Steel Toe Boots? 7 Hacks For A Great Fit

Another pretty effective way how to widen steel toe boots is by heating them. This method will make the leather softer and easier to stretch, allowing it to mold to your feet.

The fast and easy way to heat up your boots would be using a hairdryer. Although this might help you stretch them, there are some risks that come with this method. When using a hairdryer on your leather boots, it’s important not to go too close.

This can damage the leather permanently, leaving you with more problems than you started off with. On top of that, you should make sure to protect your feet from the heat too.

Start off by putting on two pairs of thick socks that will serve as a protective layer from the heat. After that, put on the boots you’d like to widen. Turn on your hairdryer on its highest setting, and start warming up your boots.

Your focus should mainly be on the part of the boot that creases or feels the most uncomfortable when you put it on. However, don’t ignore the rest of the shoe as well, especially the edges.

Make sure you hold the hairdryer about 5 inches away from the boot to avoid any possible damage. After you’ve done heating the boot for around a minute in each area, it should feel more comfortable and less stiff.

Try walking around in them to make them mold to your feet and stay that way. To finish off, apply leather conditioner or polish to avoid cracking after heat exposure, and to help keep the leather moisturized.

3. Oil is a good solution

One of the safest ways you can widen your work boots is by using oil. It’s a great way to soften and stretch the leather, without the risk of damaging it. It only takes 2 to 3 drops of oil of your choice to make a big difference in how boots feel on your feet.

The whole process is pretty easy. Simply soak a cotton ball or a paintbrush in some essential oil and rub it on the inside and outside of your boots. Unfortunately, it might not be as efficient as other methods simply because it targets leather only, but it’s worth a shot!

4. Widen your boots using a broom

Maybe you never thought that the answer to your question of how to widen steel toe boots is hiding in your closet, but using a broom is an efficient way to make your boots more comfortable.

You should start by covering your boots in a leather conditioner to prevent any possible tearing or damage, as well as help soften it. Next, insert the handle of your broom into the booth. Make sure there’s enough space for you to get some leverage on the protruding handle.

After that, start slowly pressing down the handle, so that it’s placed against the base of the boot. Move the handle around, bending and stretching the ankle of your boot. That way, you’ll help the upper stretch out, too. Try doing this for a minute before changing the placement of the handle.

After you’ve stretched every area of the boot, you can take it in your hand and start bending the soles. That way, you’ll help break them in even more, widening and stretching them until they’re flexible enough for you.

Try doing this for about 5 minutes. You can take a break and repeat the process a couple more times. When they’re ready, try the boots on and test how they feel. There should be at least some difference. If it’s enough, you can always repeat the process until they feel comfortable and loose enough.

5. Play it safe and use a stretching spray

How To Widen Steel Toe Boots? 7 Hacks For A Great Fit

The easiest way you can widen your boots is by using the tools and products made for that specific purpose. A stretching spray is always a good idea when you don’t know how to widen steel toe boots, although it might be a bit more expensive than the other methods we’ve mentioned.

The spray works by helping soften and loosen up the leather fibers. That, as a result, widens the area of your boots that otherwise feels stiff and uncomfortable. This method is especially efficient if you use it with other ones we’ve mentioned previously.

Using a stretching spray is a good idea for widening your boots but, since you’re dealing with steel toe shoes, it’s best to use it with other tools. These tools should help you stretch the booth from the inside, such as a broom or a boot stretcher.

If you don’t plan on using any other tools, then spray your boots before you head to work. That way, you’ll end up working in your pair the whole day, allowing it to mold to your feet while the leather is still loose.

6. Stretch the leather using rubbing alcohol

Sometimes, it’s enough to simply stretch the fabric of your boots and they’ll already feel a lot better on your feet. A good way to soften the leather on your work boots is by using rubbing alcohol. It’s a method that’s been used for decades to stretch leather footwear.

Just like using oil and stretching spray, this method is pretty simple, too. Start off by pouring some rubbing alcohol into a clean spray bottle. Cover the area where you’ll be doing your little DIY experiment so that the liquid doesn’t cover other items around you.

Next, start spraying your steel toe boots with rubbing alcohol until they’re completely covered. Next, while they’re still wet, put them on your feet and let them dry that way.

When they’re on, your boots will start molding to your feet, adapting to their shape. As they begin to dry, the rubbing alcohol will further stretch the fabric, helping it adapt to the figure of your foot. After some time, they should feel a lot more comfortable and less stiff.

If there are still some areas of your boot that don’t feel the best, don’t worry. You can repeat the process until you get the desired fit.

After you’re done and your boots feel right, you should give the leather some care. Rubbing alcohol can be a bit harsh on the material and too much of it can cause it to dry out and crack.

To prevent that from happening, use some leather conditioner or polish and generously cover the boots. That way, you’ll avoid cracking and the look of dried-out leather, making it possible for you to use them for a longer period of time.

7. A steel boot stretcher is always a good idea

How To Widen Steel Toe Boots? 7 Hacks For A Great Fit

Lastly, you can always play it safe and use a tool that’s made for this issue – a steel boot stretcher. If getting your expensive pair of steel toe boots soaking wet doesn’t sound good to you, then this might be the perfect solution.

A boot stretcher is a great tool that will help you achieve most of the things we’ve mentioned before but in one smooth push. Although it might be impossible to expand the metal box, the rest of your shoe will be a lot wider, making your boots more comfortable to wear.

Start off by using some leather conditioner and rubbing it all over your boot in circular motions. That way, you’ll protect the leather from being damaged and torn when you start stretching it. On top of that, it will help you keep the leather healthier for longer and improve its long-term quality.

If you have a two-way stretcher, it should expand outwards in both directions. Insert your shoe stretcher in the boot and start rotating it in a counterclockwise motion. Keep rotating the stretcher until it fits in the boot completely.

Make sure that the stretcher doesn’t move in the wrong direction, as that could lengthen the boots and make them narrower.

We recommend using steel booth stretchers, as they’re sturdier than wooden ones, making it possible for you to push them further and stretch your boots more. Make sure the stretcher is fully inside the boot and that it fits snugly.

Adjust the width of the stretcher to three or four more turns to stretch the boot out as much as possible. After that, simply leave the stretcher in place for 24 hours so that the boot adjusts to it.

Why do you need to widen your steel toe boots?

Okay, we know how to widen steel toe boots, but why do we need to do it? Ill-fitting footwear can cause a lot of issues and pain, especially if it’s used for work. Foot pains and scraping the nails against the boot are just some of them.

In more serious cases, your steel toe boots can smother your toes, making them numb and at risk of injury. On top of that, ill-fitting work boots can cause metatarsal fractures, which are hard to deal with.

To avoid these and many other foot-related issues, you need to stretch your steel toe boots so your feet have enough room to spread naturally. Not only will it feel more comfortable, but it will also provide you with ultimate protection.