How to shrink boots?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by here_be_mike, Jan 18, 2008.

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  1. Hi all. Just got a new pair of cheap boots for work but as they are cheap and were breaking in horribly i slapped on a bit too much Neatsfoot oil to help it. As a result the flaps with the eyelets have essentially stretched, so even now when tightly laced the flaps touch yet dont hold the foot properly. Is there anyway to remove the oil from the material to allow it to shrink again so they fit? Thanks.
  2. I think the clue to this solution lies in the word "cheap."
    If you can afford it just buy another pair.
    It would take a lot of effort to sort them but a very quick way of shrinking leather (usually when you don't want to is with a gas burner/blowtorch as used in the beeswaxing process.
    Pack them with newspaper but not too tight as you want shrinkage then pass the flame over the area you want to shrink. Keep the flame moving and dont linger over one area for too long or you can distort the leather.
    Good luck with this. :D
  3. You have to remove the oil from the leather; leather contains a fair amount of oil and water which makes it supple but too much oil will wreck the fibre cohesion and allow stretch or even tearing.

    You have nothing to lose as they are probably wrecked so drop them in a bucket of boiled water with some washing up liquid for 10 minutes to remove some of the oil.

    Then dry them over about 3 days away from a direct heat source. After that try them on, if they remotely fit then polish and try them on, otherwise it is file 13 and buy another pair.

    Might work, might not based on the leather tanning regime, nothing to lose.
  4. Bin them

    End of
  5. Use vinegar to strip the oil but its the drying which shrinks the leather. The vinegar will make the leather more plyable than just using boiling water.

    Or you could wear thicker socks...
  6. Thanks for the info. I think ill go with butlers idea first as its really only the flaps with the eyelets that are the problem made worse by the fact i have narrow feet. Id rather spend a couple of quid on a blow torch if it will fix them as its only a matter of millimetres i need.
  7. Wash them in a washing machine - the detergent will remove the oil.

    Tumble them on a lowish heat. This will shrink them.

    Feed them something less pliant than Neatsfoot such as dubbin and this might work. Additionally or alternatively buy some sorbothane insoles (which I do for every pair of boots I have ever had) as these will be better than the stock insoles but also thicker. So there's less room in the boot so lacing them up will work again.