Boot stretching?
January 22, 2009 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever had tall boots stretched to fit?

Apparently even "wide-calf" boots are too narrow for my freakishly large calves. I found a pair that I like that are maybe 1/2 to 1 inch too small at the top. I have heard of people getting a shoemaker (cobbler?) to stretch boots to fit, but I don't know of anyone who has actually tried it or what the results are. Anyone? These were not cheap boots so I really don't want to ruin them for nothing.

Extra, super, mega bonus points if you can recommend someone in the DC/NoVA area.

(Or maybe I should just try to stretch them myself through wearing them?)
posted by JoanArkham to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
How wide are the calves? I only ask because I finally found some that fit my (extremely) wide calves and they are sold by calf measurements AND foot measurement.

That said, I ruined a pair of very expensive boots by taking them to a reputable cobbler for stretching. They ended up looking like I had a square block where my calf should be. Sigh.
posted by mynameisluka at 1:06 PM on January 22, 2009

Best answer: Any chance you’d be willing to have a shoe or leather repair person add a vent with some elastic instead? It can be done on the inner side of the leg to conceal the venting, and it seems like it would be harder to make the boots too loose doing it. I went to a shoe repair place planning to have some boots stretched (about as much as you need to have done), but the guy told me it would ruin the zipper and proposed vents with elastic instead. I don’t know if the guy just didn’t want to bother stretching them or something (he was a bit odd), but I’m happy with the results.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:15 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The size 7 is listed as being 16 inches, and I bought a size 10. I'm guessing it is about 18 inches, and I need 19 inches.

Thanks for the info...and sorry your boots were ruined!
posted by JoanArkham at 1:17 PM on January 22, 2009

Sorry to thread-jack, but mynameisluka, would you mind sharing the brand and style of the boots you found? I'm in the same boat here, and have been consistently disappointed by what are advertised as "wide" calves online (14 inches? Seriously??).
posted by Pomo at 1:33 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Meg, a vent might work. I'll keep that in mind.

Pomo, I found this site that sells boots by size and calf width, they just didn't have any styles that were what I was looking for.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite] has extra wide width high boots that stretch up to 20" and they're having a big sale right now. I have a couple of pairs from them (as well as freakishly large calves) and they fit well.
posted by Kimberly at 1:43 PM on January 22, 2009

Ayla Boots. I am obsessed with mine and am saving for MORE. They have widths up to 18 or 19 inches, I believe.

I've heard that Torrid and Duo Boots have cute wide-calved styles, too.
posted by mynameisluka at 1:45 PM on January 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

My friend used that leather stretching spray stuff to loosen her knee high boots up a bit. But you really have to be able to zip them all the way up and wear them with the spray stuff in order for it to work.
posted by whoaali at 2:03 PM on January 22, 2009

What a coincidence: I just bought leather boots yesterday and got the left shoe stretched on the spot.

The one thing I wished I specified is that I only needed the calve-part stretched and not the heel/toe. Also, don't worry: they don't stretch the leather like 2 sizes at once. Not even one size at once. They stretched the whole boot a tiny bit. I tried on the shoe and asked for more calve room. So the boot went back to the backroom and they stretched it a tiny bit more and it fit perfectly (little loose on the heel/toe part but the leather will mold itself to my foot in a week's worth of walking).

No idea where to get then stretched in DC but a good bet is to call wherever you bought your shoes to see if they can recommend a place. Otherwise, check out a high-end leather shoe store.

NB: I also have the "leather stretching spray' stuff but i use it only on my high heels to spray, for instance, both inside and outside of the area near my pinkie toe. It work well for small problems, but to strech a whole shoe I'd recommend you take the boots to a shop. And they shouldn't charge you for it either, btw. Just tell them that they're creating a satisfied customer. YMMV.
posted by ruelle at 2:47 PM on January 22, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Duoboots. I have a pair, they're great.

And they aren't actually wide-calf boots. They're custom calf, so whatever your calf size, you just measure it and order by that. They accomodate from 30 cm to 50 cm.
posted by nat at 3:58 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The MrsMoonPie had this done by a guy in DC recently--I'll get you his name and location tomorrow. If I forget, remind me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:46 PM on January 22, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all! Those Duoboots are soooo frikkin tempting, even with international shipping and a crappy dollar.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:26 PM on January 22, 2009

Afterthought: Apparently Ayla does custom work, as well.
posted by mynameisluka at 6:59 PM on January 22, 2009

Call a tack store (that sells horse riding equipment) with a repair guy and they will do this for you for $25 or so. Basically they spray the boots with the spray stuff (which is usually just alcohol) and then stretch them on a special boot stretcher. it's nice because it only stretches the part you need stretched, not the whole thing. On some dyed leather stretching can occasionally do funny things to the color so they can also put an elastic gusset in them if you'd prefer to go that way.
posted by fshgrl at 9:00 PM on January 22, 2009

I've had difficulty finding boots that fit my big calves too. Thank gods for Zappos. Several wide-calf models from the Fitzwell label have worked for me, and I really love these super-tall Catie boots by Type Z. Look at the comments on that link--if you've got a really wide calf, this is the boot for you.
posted by Sublimity at 10:49 PM on January 22, 2009

Best answer: The MrsMoonPie "HIGHLY recommends" these guys:

Corrective Shoe Repair
1502 21st St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 232-9749
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:29 PM on January 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you! I am still not sure if I have the guts to mess with these boots...they were kind of a splurge...but I'm saving that address for sure. (I have a beloved pair of 80s short boots that need new heels...)
posted by JoanArkham at 2:03 PM on January 23, 2009

Response by poster: OK, I chickened out on the boot stretching and bought a pair from Duo. And they fit! And look great! And were on sale!

Two thumbs up.

Meanwhile, I have another pair of shoes I need a strap lengthened on. I'm going to check out Corrective Shoe Repair for that one...
posted by JoanArkham at 2:06 PM on February 9, 2009

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