Heavy leather work boots starting to pinch
January 9, 2014 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I have heavy, lug-soled leather work boots which are top of the line work boots. They're great boots! I love them. However, over the last two years they have started to rub me in two painful ways. I'm not sure if there is anything I can do to repair this.

They pinch my ankle (the heel is curving in right at my Achilles tendon just above my heel and rubs hard enough to leave red marks). Additionally, the outside of the toe on each of the boots has pushed down in and also rubs against the tips of my middle toe. I've tried moisturizing the boots with mink oil and boot grease which helps a bit but no major result.

The manufacturer just resoled the boots (I only started to notice this issue after resoling, but it doesn't appear to be related to the resoling- the creases were already there before I sent them in) - they suggested I consider resoling them again but couldn't promise it would fix the problem.

Any suggestions? it sort of seems like I just need the boots to be slightly reshaped but I'm not sure how to do this. Would happily pay for this to get fixed, I love these boots - I just don't want to pay $275 for them to be resoled with no surety the problem will be fixed.

posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If your boots are held together by stitching rather than glue (ask the manufacturer if you're not sure), try this: Fill the boots with hot water. (Alternatively, immerse the boots in a hot bathtub.) Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then pour the water out. Then put on two pairs of socks and wear the boots until dry. Repeat as needed.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:37 AM on January 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: They are stitched heavy lug-soled work boots (White's). The method you describe is actually how I broke the boots in 10 years ago when I first purchased them (many resoles ago) but I'm not as sure how that would work on older boots.
posted by arnicae at 11:39 AM on January 9, 2014

I have found that dampening the problem section well (but not saturating it) with rubbing alcohol (from the inside, as it may damage the finish) and then wearing until dry will often stretch the leather into a more comfortable shape. I did this to some (also quite high-end) loafers that were horribly tight across the top of the foot and it did loosen them up. Rubbing alcohol works similarly to the shoe-stretching spray that some cobblers use. Also, in my case it did not damage the lining leather, possibly because it was not treated with a gloss finish.
posted by Frowner at 11:40 AM on January 9, 2014

Actually, if they're White's, I might go ahead and move on to the "saturate the leather" bit, since unless they're the newer more fashion-y styles and finishes, White's leather seems to be pretty dang robust.

I had to do this twice before my loafers fit right.
posted by Frowner at 11:42 AM on January 9, 2014

Also (sorry for the triple post) I don't think resoling is the solution anyway - maybe for the heel, if the cobbler were doing a really, really careful job to change the tension in the leather.

I think you need to work from the inside, not the outside - applying mink oil and so on is going to have the most effect on the surface of the leather.

Also, if nothing else works, call a leather specialist in your area - you might even want to check out any place that does BDSM leatherwork or caters to gay leather scenes. (One of our local places is actually a joint shoe repair/BDSM enterprise.) That person might have some specific ways of reshaping the leather.
posted by Frowner at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2014

Seconding Frowner's rubbing alcohol solution - I've gotten as much as a full size of extra room out of much-beloved, not-quite-comfortable-enough boots by soaking the shit out of the leather from the inside, then donning thick socks and walking around in them for a few hours.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2014

Have you gained weight over the past 10 years? It seems likely, and this will change the shape of your feet.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:35 PM on January 9, 2014

Response by poster: Oddly, I've weighed the same amount since I was 12, so no.
posted by arnicae at 12:38 PM on January 9, 2014

« Older Helping family with knee problems visit my home on...   |   When I was a kid, I wanted to run my own magazine... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.