Caiman boots are eye-catching cowboy boots that are tremendously durable. But that doesn’t mean they stretch very well. Overdo it and the leather will tear.
So, what should you do when it comes to how to stretch caiman boots?
From double socks, steam to submerging in water, there are lots of ways you can stretch caiman boots. But the safest method would be to use a boot stretcher as caiman skin is prone to tearing because of the bony structure of the leather.
As you can see, there’s not much of an explanation here. That’s why I’ve made an entire article for this purpose. Let’s start, shall we?
Here's What to Expect
Will Caiman Leather Stretch?
Caimans are a close cousin of alligators. So, it’s not unnatural to think the leather might be tough. While they are smaller in size, they are crocodilians.
That said, will caiman leather stretch?
Caiman leather has calcium deposits inside the scales, giving it its iconic look. But this bony layer makes it hard for caiman leather to stretch. It’s not impossible but compared to cowhide, it won’t stretch or flex that much even after years of usage.
However, that doesn’t mean it won’t get over the breaking period. Like every other cowboy boot, these also become more comfortable over a period of time.
But if you want to stretch them a size or two, that’s going to be impossible.
The bottom line? Get the right-sized caiman boot on the first try.
Is Caiman Leather Durable? Will It Survive Stretching?
While a lot of exotic skins aren’t that durable, caiman leather isn’t on that list. But that also means breaking in the boots is going to be even harder. You need to apply more pressure and take drastic measures.
So, is caiman leather durable? And will it survive the stretching process?
Caiman leather is one of the most durable leather used in the fashion industry. The primary reason behind this is the distinct patterned scales. Even after going through a rigorous dyeing process, the scales stay intact.
Thus, it’s safe to say that caiman cowboy boots will survive most stretching. But you should be extra careful when putting in excess pressure.
Sure they get extra durability because of the bony structure and calcium rivets. But that also means the leather is more prone to stress tears. Whatever you do, make sure you know the limit of the leather.
And if you don’t have enough confidence to do it, take it to a cobbler. A professional will do a much better job anyway.
How to Stretch Caiman Boots?
When it comes to stretching or breaking in cowboy boots, the internet has got a lot to say. But you can’t follow everything it suggests without the risk of ruining the boots.
I mean, caiman boots are expensive. No one wants to destroy them just for the sake of stretching.
That said, here are 5 methods on how to stretch caiman boots.
Keep in mind, the first 4 methods are somewhat DIY. If you want a surefire, quick method, method 5 is the one to go for.
Method 1: Wear Double Socks
- Not that messy
- It’s rather easy to do
- There’s a chance of the leather drying out
- Working with steam isn’t that comfortable unless you have a garment steamer
- Takes some time to dry
Everyone has spare socks. Just wear two wool socks with your caiman boots on and walk around in the house.
The pressure from the two thick wool socks is perfect for stretching the toe box area of the boots. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
You’ll need to do this plenty of times to get the desired result. If you have no problem dumping the socks, you can apply a layer of mink oil inside to get better results.
However, don’t try on more than two socks on each foot. Prolonged pressure on your feet can result in unwanted blisters.
Method 2: Apply Steam to the Boots
Along with your cobbler, many people will never suggest you make your caiman boots go through this process. But if you do it right, there won’t be any damage.
Nevertheless, don’t say that I didn’t forget to mention the risks-
Step 1: Apply Steam for 20 Seconds
If you have a garments steamer, good for you. If not, a kettle full of boiling water works too. You’ll just have a hard time directing the steam.
Turn the boots upside down and direct the steam inside the boots for about 30 seconds. For regular animal skin, 20 seconds would’ve been enough.
Step 2: Re-do Step-1 If the Leather Is Still Firm
Move the steam away from yourself. I can’t say this enough but make sure you’re extra careful when you’re around steam.
Now, check whether the leather has become soft or not. Caiman leather is never going to be that soft. If it’s softer than the original feel, you’re good to go.
If not, you need to apply steam again for another 20 seconds.
Step 3: Put on the Boots When They’re Warm
After a while, the boots are going to become warm. Once they reach that stage, put on the boots with a pair of thick wool socks. You can do one better by wearing two pairs of socks.
Once they’re on, walk around the house. Do some stuff. Pass some time.
Step 4: Don’t Take Them off Until They’re Dry
Well, that might be too much. Some people might catch a cold. But whatever you do, don’t take off the boots until the leather has cooled off.
If you think of speeding up the drying process, think again. It’s not like those won’t work but the leather will lose its integrity in the process.
It’s totally okay if you want to dry the boots naturally. After what they went through, there’s no doubt they’ll need to dry overnight.
Step 5: Condition the Boots Once They’re Fully Dry
Your caiman boots have gone through a lot. The least you can do is condition these exotic boots. The conditioner will bring back the moisture it has lost during the steaming process.
If you want to go deep on how to care for caiman boots, I’ve got just the thing for you. Follow my tips and your boots are going to stay pristine all the time.
Method 3: Submerging in Water
- No cost
- Stretches very well
- A lot of people gave positive feedback
- The leather loses a lot of its moisture or integrity
- Quite messy
- The boots will take a LONG time to dry
- Submerging an expensive pair of exotic boots in water is quite scary
I know it sounds ridiculous and it is. But many people have said they’ve done it and the results don’t say otherwise.
Be that as it may, no one wants to put in an expensive pair of caiman boots in water. But if there’s no other way, these are the steps of how to break in caiman boots-
Step 1: Submerge the Caiman Boots in a Bathtub or Bucket
First off, fill a bucket or bathtub with water. Make sure there’s enough to submerge the boots while it’s standing.
Now, submerge the boots in the water. But remember not to let any water get inside the boots.
Step 2: Pull out the Boots Once the Insoles are Slightly Wet
After a while, you’ll feel that the insoles are a bit wet. That’s when you pull them out of the water.
Step 3: Walk Around with the Boots Till They’re Close to Dry or Dry
Get your thick wool socks and put on the boots. You can even wear a plastic bag over the socks. This way you’ll avoid the gross feeling of walking in wet boots.
Step 4: Condition the Boots
Once the caiman boots are fully dried, don’t forget to condition them. Submerging in water did a number on those boots. Unless you want tears in the leather, conditioning(multiple times) is the only way to go.
Method 4: Put in Frozen Water Bag
- You don’t have to do any of the stretchings(passive)
- You have to do it a couple of times to get any results
- Takes a lot of time
- You’re putting your expensive pair of boots in the freezer
- Only good for the toe box area
If you already didn’t know, water expands when it turns into ice. It’s nothing but simple physics but you can very well use it to stretch your caiman boots.
Step 1: Fill a Gallon-size Sealable Bag with Water
You’d want the bags to be half full or even ¾ full would do the job. But not any more or less than that.
Step 2: Insert the Sealed Water Bag in the Boots
Before you insert the bag in the boots, double-check whether the bag is properly sealed or not.
Apart from that, remember that the air there is in the bag, the better the stretching will be.
Finally, put the bag in the toe box. Ensure that the bag reaches the end of the boots.
Additionally, you can put in some newspapers to seal the deal. That way the bags won’t wobble.
Step 3: Thaw the Ice-bag Before Removing and Re-do If Necessary
Be gentle when removing the bag of ice. Chances are the stretch won’t be that significant. But you can always do it again as the process is fairly stress-free.
Method 5: Use a Cowboy Boot Stretcher
- Works fast
- Stretches passively
- Full control over how the boot stretches
- Stretching plugs help to stretch specific areas
- Not messy at all
- The initial cost of a boot stretcher
- Not that good at stretching toe box
Using boot stretchers is and will always be my favorite method of stretching cowboy boots. These things create no mess and they work crazy-fast compared to other methods.
Most importantly, you can wear your boots right after the stretching is done as there’s no drying process. Here’s how to do it-
Step 1: Apply Shoe Stretch Spray
It might seem like an optional method. But it’s not. Especially, if you want optimum results.
So, spray a good amount of shoe stretch spray inside the boots. You can also use a cloth or rag for the job.
Step 2: Insert Plug If Necessary
Step 3: Put in the Toe Block
Putting in the toe block is easy. But don’t get carried away. Check properly and see if it has reached the end of the toe box or not.
Step 4: Adjust the Handle Clockwise for Stretching
Start turning the handle clockwise to stretch the caiman boots. Once it’s snug enough, turn it 2-3 times more for ideal results.
Step 5: Keep Them Like That for 6-8 Hours
Overnight you’ll notice that boots are fully stretched out. Time to remove the boot stretcher.
To do so, turn the handle counterclockwise and it’ll be done before you know it.
This ends here. I hope I could give you everything you needed to know on how to stretch caiman boots. If you ask me, I’ll always go for method 5.
Sure it costs some money. But caiman boots aren’t cheap either. If you can spend that much on a pair of boots, you can spend some more to bring it into shape.
Richard is the Head of Content here at Bootpedia. It’s not like he dedicated his entire life towards boots but he did work at multiple footwear stores for over 7 years. Anything that’s posted here is double-checked by him. So, don’t worry about getting the wrong info off the internet.