How to Soften Leather Boots

by Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 28, 2017

Leather boots are high-quality footwear that should last the wearer many years. Unfortunately, when leather boots are brand new, they need to be broken in before they will be comfortable. The best recipe for softly worn leather boots is time and miles trod in the boots. The recommended time to allow leather boots to be softly broken in is between 80 and 100 hours of wear.

Wear your new boots as much as possible. Leather needs to learn your feet and conform to the unique shape and size for optimal softness. The only way to achieve this stretching is to wear the new boots as much as possible.

Spray the exterior of the boots with a half and half mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water. After lightly spraying the boots, rub them briskly with your bare hands to encourage the leather to soak up the alcohol mixture.

Keep the leather boots laced as snugly as possible. Be sure that the boots are tightly laced around the ankle and over the instep especially.

Apply a leather preservative liberally to the boots. Do not apply the preservative to the hardware areas of the boots, however, because this might lead to the lacing hardware becoming loose and falling out. Place a dime-size amount of the leather preservative in the palm of your hand. Rub it into either dry or slightly damp boots and work it in completely with your fingers. If desired, blow the boots with a hair dryer to dry them more quickly. After the preservative has dried, buff the boots with a clean dry rag. Apply two times for best results.


  • During the breaking-in time, it may ease your discomfort somewhat to wear foam inserts in the boots. They are readily available in drugstores and these might make the difference between sore feet and happier feet.

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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.