How to stretch rubber boots

How To Stretch Rain Boots

In this article we show several ways that you can stretch rubber rain boots. The methods are all relatively safe to do and shouldn’t cause any damage to the boots as long as you follow the instructions carefully. However, It is strongly recommend that you only use these stretching methods on rubber boots that you can afford to wreck!

Reasons for stretching rain boots to make them bigger

Here are some reasons that you might want to stretch your rain boots so they are bigger:

  • Kids boots – Children have a habit of growing, which means that the kid’s rain boots you got them six months ago no longer fit. Rather than going out and buying a replacement pair, you can try stretching the boots to make them last longer and save you money
  • Boots Shrink – Boots that are made from natural rubber can shrink overtime due to certain environmental conditions. For example, boots that have been stored in a dry warm location for a long period of time can shrink in size slightly.
  • Body changes – Its an unfortunate fact of life, that as we get older many of us put on a few extra pounds. Which means that boots we once managed to easily slip on, become tight, especially around the calves and ankles.
  • 2nd hand boots – Getting a pair of second hand boots is one way to help reduce the impact of waste on the environment. If the 2nd hand boots are too tight, then stretching them might be a quick and easy option to make them usable

Methods to stretch rubber boots

Important: all of the methods described below, will only work with rubber boots. Many cheaper boots are made from plastic (PVC) and will split if you try stretching them.

Ice Stretching Rubber Boots

This method requires a plastic freezer bag to be filled with water (make sure there is no air in the bag) and inserted into the area of the boot that requires stretching. Put the wellie boots in the freezer and leave them for 24 hours. The water will expand as it freezes and stretch the boots.

Wear In New Rubber Boots

It’s quite common for new rubber boots to feel a bit tight and uncomfortable when you first wear them. The best thing to do is to wear them about the house for a few days before going outside. If your new boots still feel tight and inflexible after wearing them at home, you might want to return them and exchange for a bigger size.

Hair Dryer Rubber Boot Stretching

Expand rubber boots with a hairdryer

Firstly pack the inside of the boots with a material like newspaper. Then get a hair dryer and set it to full heat and slowly move it back and forth over the area of the boots that is to be stretched. The rubber will slowly start to expand, as it does make sure you keep the newspaper tightly compacted to force the boots to stretch.

As the boots start to cool they will start to shrink slightly, so make sure you leave the newspaper in the boots until they have completely cooled. Repeat the process as required.

Take Rubber Boots To The Cobblers

If you don’t fancy stretching the boots yourself, then get a pro to do it for you. Cobblers have access to special machinery and chemicals which can be used to stretch rubber boots. It might even be possible to get the boots resoled at a larger size!

Boot Stretcher

A device called a boot stretcher can be purchased, the device is designed to either stretch the boots long ways (toe to heel) or widen the shaft. It is also possible to buy a boot stretcher that will also widen boots, but they are generally less effective.

To use a boot stretcher, simply insert it in to the rain boots and adjust the tightener so it is difficult to adjust further. Wait 5 minutes and then try a adjust the tightener a bit more. It is then best to leave the wellies over night with the stretcher in. You can keep repeating the process until the boots stretch to the size you want.

Rubber boot strecther

Boot Stretcher 

Stretching Rubber Boots Questions & Answers

Should you buy rubber boots a size larger?

No, you should buy rubber boots that are your normal shoe size. However, many rubber boot manufacturers do not do half sizes. If you are normally a half size the recommendation is to go the next size up.

Can i stretch new rubber boots?

Yes, but it is not recommended as the stretching methods have the potential to permanently damage the rubber that the boots are made from. If you have a pair of new boots that are too small, the best option is to exchange them for a larger size.

What can i do if my rubber boots are too large?

The best option to get large boots to fit, is to insert an insole. 

How much bigger can i make my rubber boots?

It depends greatly on the boots. Some rubber boots simply can’t be stretched, whilst other boots can be stretched considerably.

Will new rubber boots stretch on their own?

Yes, most new rubber boots will stretch slightly after the first few times of wearing them. The manufactures take this into account when sizing the boots.

Do new rubber boots shrink?

No, new rubber boots should not shrink, usually they expand slightly.


Richard Cutts

Richard Cutts

I've been working with rubber boots (aka rain boots, wellies) in one way or another, since 2009. So, i've seen a lot of wellington boots in my time. I create most of the content for the website, which i hope you find useful.


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