How to Break in New Tall Boots?!

Discussion in 'Tack & Equipment' started by Royal_Alexia, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Royal_Alexia

    Royal_Alexia Senior Member

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    I got my first pair of ariat tall boots last year for my birthday. I've owned them for over a year now, and yesterday wore them outdoors for the first time. For 40 steps.

    The woman at the tack store told me they had to be REALLY tight, so tight they would hardly zip up when I bought them. I've tried just walking around to break them in, but they're sooo tight that they're painful and cut off my circulation.

    I desperately want to get them to the point where I can start showing in them this summer, but am scared that if I ride in them, I'll wear the black color off the inner calf. I also lose all feeling in my feet by the time I walk my horse the 40 paces to the outdoor ring, and the pain is such that I take them off before I ride (going back to my paddocks).

    How can I break them in so that they stretch, without it hurting so much? And do I need any sort of conditioner on them? Do I need to worry about my leathers rubbing? I just don't want to mess them up since they're expensive and still brand new, but also hate how much it hurts to wear them, and know it's a waste if I can't get them to fit right between now and when I start showing...

    ADVICE please!!! : )
     
  2. BNA526

    BNA526 Senior Member

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    With new tall boots I have always conditioned them, then wore them around the house. Or if you have stairs, this especially helps. You can stand on the edge of the steps and press your heel(s) down in the new boots to break them in to your heel flexing. I'd condition them real well, then wear them around the house for a couple hours while doing chores or something. Or like you're already doing, wear them around the barn.

    I've never heard that they are supposed to be that tight though, to where they cut off the circulation... That may be a little too tight, someone correct me if I'm wrong?
     
  3. EventerNic6187

    EventerNic6187 Senior Member+

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    good leather will stretch and form to your leg, so the woman at the tack store was correct that they should be tight, but if they're cutting off circulation, they're too small, not tight.

    I know this will seem scary to most people, especially with their first pair of tall boots, but fill them with warm water in the bathtub, let them sit a while (about 10 minutes or so), and then put them on & wear them around. The warm water will make the leather more soft & supple, and it will stretch & form a little more than just wearing them dry. Once they're dry make sure you condition them well. I've done this with numerous pairs of boots that were tight/stiff & it works well (& the boots are still in show condition years later... No damage done by the water.).

    ETA: Ariats hold up well IME... I've never had a problem with the dye rubbing off in the calf area. Just your normal wear, but nothing that would even be noticeable at a show.
     
  4. txgray

    txgray Senior Member

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    Go to walmart (or a shoe store) and invest a few bucks in stretch spray. Spray them inside and out all over the calf, put them on for an hour or two, and repeat until they loosen up a bit. Condition them a bit afterward, that will help too. It also is easier at first to do it at whatever time of day you're least "swollen" - for me it's first thing in the morning - so they zip up a bit easier.

    Seems like I am always in between sizes on boots so I end up buying the size down and use the stretch spray. Works really well and you end up with a great fitting boot.

    Why in the world do you think you're going to wear the black off the inside of the calf? If they're nice boots it takes a long time to wear them down that much. One thing you do have to be careful of with the Ariat brand and the calf being that tight - the zipper. They're notorious for busting.
     
  5. vxf111

    vxf111 Full Member

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    Bathtub method. I swear by it.
     
  6. EventerNic6187

    EventerNic6187 Senior Member+

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    Same here. My Ariat field boots were really tight at first, but I did the bathtub trick instead of the stretch spray (never heard of it, but now that I know, I'll have to keep it in mind)... Now they fit like a glove, and I get tons of compliments on how they fit my leg. I've even had people ask if they were customs!
     
  7. Surfinggetsmeup

    Surfinggetsmeup Senior Member

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    I also use the bathtub method and I love the results with my tall boots.
     
  8. Javanewt

    Javanewt Senior Member+

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    Just remember with either method, wear the boots until they are dry. Also, the spray stuff is just rubbing alcohol -- that's what Justin boots (in Fort Worth) used on my new pair of elk skin cowboy boots (20 years ago!).
     
  9. EventerNic6187

    EventerNic6187 Senior Member+

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    and make sure you wear breeches and socks that you'd normally wear under them while they're wet. Otherwise they still won't fit & you'll probably end up with a rash from having moisture up against your skin for that long.
     
  10. BNA526

    BNA526 Senior Member

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    Out of curiosity, how long does it take for the boots to dry? Is this an all day thing? I have two brand new pair of tall boots I'd like to break in, one for showing & one for schooling! But I've honestly always been terrified of the bathtub/water method! Wouldn't water dry out the leather if it were soaked in it? Should you condition the boots after soaking/wearing until dry?
     

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