How to Make Cowboy Boots Tighter Around Calf

You love the look of your cowboy boots and how comfortable they are to wear. There’s only one problem. The boots are too loose around your calves. While some boots may look great when they’re a little slouchy, this isn’t what you want from this pair.

Whether you’re wearing your cowboy boots for work or simply because you love the look and feel, one thing you don’t want is for there to be a lot of room around your calf. If you have this problem, here are a few tricks that will make cowboy boots tighter around the calf.

Tips on Making Cowboy Boots Tighter Around the Calf

How to Make Cowboy Boots Tighter Around CalfNot everyone’s calves are the same size and this can be a problem when you’re trying to find cowboy boots the fit. Shoe size differs, but your options are limited when it comes to calves. If you have any choices, it’s usually between “wide” or “slender” cut. Unfortunately, this often leaves people out the measures somewhere between the two options.

If you’re having this problem with your cowboy boots one of the following tips will get your footwear fitting perfectly.

Use Warm Water

This is a simple three-step method that only takes a few hours, though you want to do it when you don’t have to leave the house with the boots on.

  • The first step is to fill a bucket with warm water. The bucket must be large enough so you can completely immerse the boots. Let the cowboy soak in the water for one hour. You want to be sure that the boots have absorbed the water.
  • While the boots are soaking, do the same thing to a pair of old socks. While the age of the socks doesn’t matter, you do want to use a pair without holes.
  • After soaking the boots for an hour, put on the wet socks. Next, put the boots on. It will be uncomfortable wearing wet socks and boots but this step is necessary to form the boots to your calf size. It might also be difficult to get wet boots on over damp socks but some tugging and pulling will eventually get them on your feet.
  • Keep the boots and socks on until both are completely dry. Since your feet will be wet for a while, it’s best to do this on a day off.

The reason you must wear the boots until dry is to allow the leather to reform to your shape and size. The wet socks help the leather tighten into form as it dries. As uncomfortable as wet socks are it is a necessary step.

Add a Belt

If your cowboy boots are worn for fashion instead of work, a simple trick is to add a belt. It gives the boots a fresh look while also keeping the upper section molded to your calf.

To add a belt, put the boots on. With the center of the belt lower on the back of the boot, wrap it in a crisscross style around the shaft to the top. Fasten the belt and your boots are tight around your calves, and you also added a stylish accessory.

Since you will have to cut off any excess from the belt and possibly punch a new hole for the buckle, you probably won’t want to use your favorite one.

Go to a Professional

If using a belt isn’t practical and you don’t want to wear wet boots and socks for a few hours, a professional can alter the size. It won’t ruin the look of your cowboy boots, only improve the fit.

The professional will first remove the pull tabs from the boots. These are the tabs you use to pull the boots on. Once the tabs are removed, a “V” is cut out of the leather on the sides of the shaft. The amount of leather cut out depends on how tight the shafts need to be.

After the leather has been removed, the side seams are resewn together. The professionals use a zig-zag pattern to ensure the stitching is strong enough to weather daily wear and tear. The final step is to cover the stitching with a leather strip that matches the boot and the pull tabs are reattached.

When you get your cowboy boots back, it will be almost impossible to notice the small strip of leather that was added on.

Before you take your boots to a professional, you do want to have measurements of your calves taken. You must measure both calves, there can be some variations in circumference.


There are a couple of DIY tricks that can help shrink cowboy boots that are too big for your calves. Soaking the pair in water or adding a belt are a couple of options. You can also wear extra socks or always keep your pants tucked into the boots, but these potions aren’t always practical.

The best advice is to visit a professional cobbler. They have the skills, experience, and tools to do the job properly. When you get your boots back they will still look the same, only now they conform perfectly to your calves.