Bathtub Method for Tall Boots

Like a lot of people, my calves are different sizes.  Ever since I got kicked in the knee by a different horse while cantering (have I shared that story?  It's a good one) and was not put on crutches for my recovery period, I've had one calf much bigger than the other.

Last year, I paid $50 on Ebay for nearly new Ariat Heritage boots to replace my seven year old Devon Aires.  I bought them in my half chap size, knowing that my half chaps took a painful, right leg-numbing year to stretch out.  I swore I would wear the Heritage boots a lot and break them in fast.

And then every night before a show I'd go "Crap...forgot again."  And I'd ride with one boot partially unzipped in the show, because I like ruining great pictures.  And I don't like my foot going numb.

Ruined.
But this time the night before the show, I had had enough.  I decided to try the bathtub method to stretch the right boot.

I filled a bathtub with warm water, and got into it wearing the boots, thicker socks than I normally wear, and show breeches, and submerged the boots.  I wasn't able to zip them at first, then I was and my foot went numb, then I unzipped them, then I zipped them again...and my foot didn't go numb.  I wore them until they were dry.

They really did stretch.  And I actually managed to get and keep them zipped for the duration of the show.

No white!

What the bathtub method does to them long term, I'm not sure, I don't think I'd do this with expensive boots, but when you're working with $50 eBay boots, anything goes.

Not a bad look for $50 boots, free breeches, and a $30 jacket.

24 comments:

  1. Glad the bathtub method seems to have worked for you, although submerging tall boots in water freaks me out a bit! Also, if you ever have to wear them unzipped at a show again, you can wear tall black socks and no one will be able to tell :)

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    1. It freaked me out too! I thought about the black sock thing, but I hate hate hate socks over breeches vs. under, and I had so little room in there I have to wear sheer socks (Ovation Slimliner) anyway, so it wouldn't have helped. Good thought though!

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  2. I'm still nervous to try this with my "custom" boots that make my feet go numb but I might have to bite the bullet and try it.

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    1. Oh I'd be a freaking basketcase doing it in those boots! The LaMundials?

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  3. As long as you condition them a little afterward, there aren't any long term effects that I've ever noticed. I've been doing the bathtub method forever and never had a problem. It works!

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    1. Good, thanks for that. I forgot to condition them but will do it this weekend!

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  4. I've done the method where you spray the insides (until they are soaked) with rubbing alcohol and do the same thing (thick socks/britches) and it works too!

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    1. Huh, I have not heard of that one. Good to know.

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  5. I second niamh with the isopropyl alcohol method!

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    1. Interesting, how have I never heard of this?

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  6. I have heard about the bathtub method, but was skeptical. Sounds good, though.

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    1. Yeah, I was too, but I had nothing to lose except $50!

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  7. I think I'd actually have to buy tall boots to start worrying about this.

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    1. Lol. Well, I should've done it with my half chaps too, but instead suffered through many a lesson with numb legs.

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  8. I'll have to try this when I get new tall boots.

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    1. Hopefully yours fit better than mine!

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  9. glad it worked! i had a pair of boots that i considered doing this to when i couldn't initially sell them... but actually my local saddler recommended just wetting from the ankle up (ie, dunking the boot upside down in a bucket or something), not the footbed. not sure it makes a huge difference tho

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    1. I didn't notice it in the footbed, honestly. I can see only wanting to do the uppers, maybe less sag in the ankle area?

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  10. I might need to do these with mine. Or you know, lose 10 lbs. that too.

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    1. Whew, you and me both. Not having a stove (and won't have one for months yet) I'm eating like entirely freezer meals in the microwave or walking to the bar. Blah.

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  11. Good know it works!! Was the whole boot submerged when you tried to zip it the first time? (ie do you get your breeches and socks wet too? Lol)

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    1. Haha, I sort of kneeled one leg at a time into the tub, so it was from the knee down, but yes breeches and socks got wet under the boots. It was not something I'd recommend doing in the winter!

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  12. I've used the bathtub method before. Also had my my la mundials sprayed down with a hose to create the same effect! They've all survived :)

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  13. I can totally fix all of your ruined pictures with Photoshop. Just sayin'

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