Tightening Leather Work Boots

Person wearing work boots in grass field

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A good pair of leather work boots are expensive to buy and often difficult to fit. It is easy to buy boots that fit in the store, but are loose when you start using them. Instead of fighting with the store to return the boots, you have a few options for tightening the leather work boots on your own.

Use the Laces to Tighten the Boots

The easiest way to tighten your leather work boots is to strategically tie your laces. Certain points along the laces work to control areas of the the boot. To tighten the boot in the heel, tug the laces at the places where the boot bends at the ankle. Wrap the laces in this area around the lacing prongs two times to ensure that they stay put. To tighten the boot at the ankle, lower calf and toes, tighten the laces over these areas. Use a surgeon's knot to ensure that the tightened area stays tight. The Great Outdoors website describes the surgeon's knot as crossing the laces three times between lacing prongs. Continue lacing the boots as normal until the work boot is completely laced up.

Add Pieces to the Loose Boots

Sometimes no amount of strategic lacing can fix a loose work boot. Steel toe leather work boots are an example. The laces can't tighten the toe area. You can still make this boot fit by placing a wad of wet tissue in the toe. Put your foot in to ensure the right fit. Add more tissue or remove it as needed. Let the tissue air dry. It makes for a tighter boot toe. Adding insoles to the heel can tighten the boot on your foot. Use the lacing methods along with the toe tissue and/or insoles to make the leather work boot fit your foot.

Taking Care When Using Water

Some people will tell you to wet the leather boot and dry it quickly with a blow dryer, oven or laundry dryer. Doing so places your boot at risk of cracking, tearing away from the soles and becoming misshapen, especially if there is a steel toe. The wet leather also hardens and becomes easily damaged. Odors are also an issue. Avoid using water to shrink the leather as it can ruin the work boots.

Keeping the Right Fit

Maintain the fit of your boots by keeping them cleaned and conditioned with leather conditioner. Allow wet work boots to air dry away from any direct heat source, including the sunlight. Replace your laces when they become frayed and wash them when they become caked with dirt, mud or grease.