How to Stretch Steel Toe Work Boots

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Last Updated on December 20, 2022 by Jack Sanders

Steel toe work boots are known not only for being extremely protective but also particularly stiff and uncomfortable the first few weeks after purchase.

This presents workers with a lot of issues aside discomfort, such as blisters, bunions and sore feet. Luckily for us, there are easy ways to stretch steel toe work boots.

This article will go about all the ways you can loosen up tight leather work boots. Let’s begin.

How to Stretch Steel Toe Work Boots

Again, this article will list all the methods to effectively stretch steel toe work boots.

work boots

Here is the list:

  1. Broomstick Method
  2. Wet Towel Method
  3. Bending Method
  4. Freezing Method
  5. Heating Method
  6. Boot Stretcher Method
  7. Stretching Spray Method
  8. Double Sock Method

1. Broomstick Method

The broomstick method consists in stretching out the leather in your steel toe work boots with a broomstick.

To begin, insert the broomstick end into the steel toe boot opening.

Once inside, you must repeatedly press the broomstick downwards and upwards to stretch the work boots as much as possible.

This will put strain on the leather uppers, causing the leather fibers to give way, making the work boots much more comfortable once on.

2. Wet Towel Method

The leather fibers in new work boots can be very stiff. A nice trick to make these fibers more “maleable” is by letting water hydrate them.

This is where the wet towel method comes into play.

This method requires soaking 4 or 5 small towels in water. After the towels have been soaked, spread them out over the work boots (both inside and outside).

After 30 minutes, when the leather fibers have been fully hydrated, remove all towels and pad the work boots with a dry rug to remove excess water.

Then put on your work boots and walk around for about 30 minutes. The steel toe boots will be able to stretch as a result of this.

3. Bending Method

Let’s get old school.

Wanna stretch out steel toe work boots? Just bend them.

Grab the work boots by the outsole and bend them inwards repeatedly. It will take some force at first, as the leather fibers will be very stiff.

However, once you do this 10 or 20 times it will get easier as the work boots will slowly stretch.

It does take a lot of force, so be prepared to get tired quickly!

4. Freezing Method

Most workers think this method is kind of crazy, and it is.

It consists in freezing, yeah, freezing your steel work boots to stretch them out.

The steps are easy:

  • Fill two small bags of water
  • Place each one inside the work boots
  • Put the work boots inside the freezer overnight
  • Take out the water-filled bags
  • Put on the frozen work boots
  • Wear the work boots around for an hour

You can repeat this process as many times as you consider them necessary.

5. Heating Method

Another great method to stretch out your steel toe work boots is by applying heat with a blow dryer.

It consists in holding the blow dryer about 3 inches from the leather and disperse the heat as much as you can all along the work boots.

This will make the leather fibers more flexible, allowing you to stretch them out once you put them on and you wear them around your house.

Make sure not to hold the blow dryer closer than 3 inches away from the boots so you don’t burn the work boots.

6. Boot Stretcher Method

If you’ve tried everything and are looking for new ways to stretch your work boots, consider using a boot stretcher.

This process requires buying a boot stretcher (which costs around $30) and stretching out the work boots.

To allow the boot stretcher to work its magic, place it inside the work boots and turn the handle clockwise.

This will gradually and forcefully stretch the leather fibers of the steel toe boots. But be careful not to break the boot, go slowly!

7. Stretching Spray Method

The stretching spray method, like the previous one, involves investing a few dollars in a stretching spray to stretch out your steel toe boots.

Stretching sprays are made of alcohol-based chemicals that hydrate the leather fibers and allow them to be stretched more easily when applied to leather work boots.

Simply spray the steel toe boots from about 4 inches away and allow the chemicals to do their work for about 15 minutes.

This will allow the leather to be nourished by the spray, which is essential for it to become more flexible.

8. Double Sock Method

Maybe you’re a simple guy like me who wants to stretch our your work boots by using things you got around the house.

Well, if that’s you, then you’ll love the double sock method. This method consists in putting two pairs of socks on and the steel toe boots over them and just wear the work boots around your house.

As a result, you’d be putting extra strain on the leather fibers in your steel toe work boots, causing them to stretch by force.

Why Stretch Steel Toe Boots?

You might be thinking: what’s the whole point of stretching steel toe steel toe work boots?

Well, there are various benefits related to stretching out your work boots.

Aching Feet

First of all, brand new steel toe boots tend to be highly uncomfortable as they are manufactured with leather fibers that are very stiff when they are new.

This is why, normally, brand new steel toe boots hurt a lot when you wear them the first few weeks.

Luckily, when you stretch out these work boots, that discomfort tends to go away very quickly.

Blisters & Bunions

Another reason why stretching out work boots is a good idea is to prevent the formation of blisters and bunions.

Blisters are small packets of fluid that form as a result of skin damage caused by repeated rubbing.

After stretching the work boots, the chances of getting blisters are reduced because the boots can be easily molded to your feet, preventing rubbing.

Bunions, on the other hand, are deformities that can occur when the big toe rubs against the next one. Unfortunately, this is a common issue for workers who wear brand new work boots without breaking them in.

Stretching out steel toe work boots may help prevent bunions by giving the toes more room to rest inside without being crammed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequent questions regarding stretching steel toe boots.

Why do my feet hurt with steel toe boots?

Steel toe boots can cause foot pain for a variety of reasons.

First, there’s a chance that the steel toe boot’s toe box is too narrow.

This is a common problem because toe caps normally reduce the space in the toe box area, cramming the toes together. This causes discomfort by pressing the toes together and can be remedied by stretching out the work boots to create more space.

Another reason your feet may hurt when wearing steel toe boots is that the leather in the work boots is too stiff, rubbing the feet and toes and causing pain and potential blisters.

Last but not least, working on your feet for 8 to 12 hours a day may be causing foot pain. Walking all day puts a lot of strain on your feet and joints, making them sore and leading to pain and other more serious problems (e.g. plantar fasciitis).

How do you break in steel toe boots faster?

I already made a step by step guide on how to break in work boots fast. But, I’ll give you a summary.

This are a few methods you can follow to break in your steel toe boots as soon as possible:

  • Rubbing alcohol method: Using rubbing alcohol to hydrate the leather fibers of your work boots to shorten the break in process is a nice trick I’ve been using for decades.
  • Domestic method: Before taking your new steel toe work boots to the work site, make sure to wear them around your house an hour or two for about 7 to 10 days. This will help make the break in process faster without hurting your feet.

How can I make my steel toe cap boots more comfortable?

There are many ways to make steel toe caps more comfortable.

You can do your best to break in and stretch the boots. That way, you’ll make sure that your feet stay as comfortable as possible.

Also, getting new footbeds with cushioning and ergonomic designs (e.g. Ortholite footbeds) is a great idea. These footbeds will reduce strain on the feet, preventing foot soreness and allowing the worker to concentrate on the task at hand.

    Author: Jack Sanders
    Hey there, I’m Jack, founder and editor in chief here at After my best friend spent hundreds of hours trying to convince me, I decided to take control of my life and finally got to make this site. I’m on a mission to share my insider tips with every man who has a skilled trade job.

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