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Tall leather boots never seem to go out of style, but every boot doesn't fit every woman because of different calf sizes. Boots without zippers, such as riding-boot and cowboy styles, may require gradual stretching using rolls of newspaper, a purchased stretcher for boots, a padded piece of wood or a trip to a shoe-repair shop.

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Spray the interior of the boot with a leather-stretching spray. Test an area first to see if the leather color is affected. The spray loosens the fiber of the leather.

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Make a tight roll of newspapers that barely fits into the sprayed boot. Don't use color ads or the comics on the outer layer so the color doesn't transfer to the boot. Squeeze the newspaper roll into the boot shaft. The roll should be fat enough to strain the leather.

An alternative to newspapers is a thick wooden dowel or piece of wood covered with cloth or towels. The wood bundle should be big enough to strain the leather.

Use a thin plastic bag to help slide in these stretchers.

Let the boot dry for a day or two.

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Repeat the process two or three times with increasingly fatter rolls of newspaper or covered pieces of wood. If the boot has a shaped calf, squeeze a chunk of wood into that area. Wrap the wood well in cloth so you don't make a dent or hole in the leather.

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After the boots are stretched a bit, squeeze into them and wear them around the house to continue the stretching. Wear nylon knee-highs with a slippery finish to help you get into the boots.


A manufactured shaft stretcher can cost $100 to $200. The stretcher can be adjusted gradually to expand the boot about an inch.

A shoe-repair shop can stretch the boot or offer an alternative such as adding an elastic gusset.

High-end shoe sellers will stretch the boots for you.

About the Author

Theresa Kwiatkowski

Theresa Kwiatkowski started her career in 1973 and has been a newspaper reporter, copy editor and managing editor. She was a copy editor at the "Chicago Tribune" and taught at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Marquette University.