Guide to Cowboy Boot Modifications

Can you modify cowboy boots? Yes, you can! From color modifications to sizing and zippers, discover how you can truly make your boots your own.

How to modify your cowboy boots:
0:22 - Easy Maintenance
0:57 - Scuffs & Scrapes
1:17 - Deep Cuts
1:37 - Edge Dressing
2:23 - Color Mods
3:41 - Shape Mods
4:40 - Size Mods
4:55 - Custom Orthotics
5:17 - Fit Is Too Large
5:36 - Heel Is Loose
5:57 - Fit Is Too Small

7:24 - Resoling
7:46 - Rubber Soles
8:12 - Sole Saver
8:32 - Heel Height Change
9:08 - Add A Zipper

Easy Maintenance

A great aspect of cowboy boots is that you do basic touch-ups yourself. For stray threads, get a lighter out and just burn them down. If you've got some loose embroidery, you can put the flame on that too, and tighten it up. Most of the thread used on the boots is going to be nylon-based, similar to the kind used on sails, which means when you get heat near it, you kind of shrink up and pull in.

Scuffs, Scrapes & Deep Cuts

You can also fix any scuffs and scrapes that may happen by applying a quality polish or Chisos leather conditioner to the area. Simply apply a light amount of conditioner then buff out the affected spot but be careful not to use too much pressure, which can remove the leather dye.

If you get a deep cut, a cobbler is probably going to superglue the leather back together and then use leather balm to smooth it out. This is also an easy fix you can try at home.

Edge Dressing

When going through life, the dye along the edge of a boot's sole on the edge is often rubbed away or gets knocked off, revealing the natural tone underneath. A basic edge dressing can be applied to the boot's sole to restore the color back to how it looked brand new.

Color Mods

In the opposite direction of touching up a damaged dye spot, you can actually reveal more of the natural leather tone to the sole by stripping away the color. Commonly a Dremel or sandpaper is used to return the natural look to the leather, which looks pretty good, especially with dark leather.

Another example of color modification done by some folks in the Chisos community is dying the color of their tan roughout boots. Changing the color of our brown or black leather boots can be done by using a rag and leather balm s pressure, and you can pull some of that dark dye off to lighten the boot. The inverse is also true, a dark polish to the surface layer will darken the overall color of the boot.

When experimenting with color change, always be sure to test a small area of your boot first. Most leather polishes should be formulated for cow hides but it is wise to start any modifications with a small area before proceeding to entire pair of boots.

Shape Mods

The Chisos No. 2 is designed as a modified, medium square toe, but some people prefer a somewhat flat, French toe look. To achieve this, you can smash the toe box down and compress the area to get the look that you want.

Another modification we often get questions about is how to get a boot shaft to fit better under ‘modern jeans.’ A suggestion we give is to take a page from bull riders and use a bootstrap to cinch down that boot shaft to fit tighter around your calf underneath straight-leg jeans. Other options include using Velcro straps, a shoelace, or even use a zip tie to help give more options with the type of pants you can wear with your boots.

Using Custom Orthotics

Every pair of Chisos boots include proprietary removable comfort insoles which can accommodate adding your own custom orthotics to the boot. So if you've got something that's from your doctor that you want to use, Chisos are already sized to fit that addition.

Fit is Too Large

If your boots feel too loose, you can try adding a very thin insole underneath the Chisos insole. Start by pulling out the thick insole and replacing it with the thin one. Then, put the Chisos insole back on top. If the front part of your foot feels fine, but your heel slips and feels loose, you can cut the thinner insole and just have a section for the heel. Or you can add heel insoles only that are like a half. This will lift the rear part of your foot so that it fits tighter against the vamp, but leaves plenty of room for your toes in the front part of your foot.

Fit is Too Small

If your boots are too small, try wearing two pairs of socks for a couple of hours around the house to loosen them up. Another old trick is to shove a baseball down under the vent overnight to stretch the leather. You can also get a cedar boot tree and wrap tape around it to make it fit larger into the boot.

Repairs and Resoles

For more complicated modifications, you can take your boots to a cobbler. Your Chisos boots are made to be repaired, and the leather soles will eventually wear through. The cobbler can pull off the old sole and replace it with a new one, and you can choose between a leather or rubber sole. Adding a rubber sole saver will also provide extra grip and make the leather sole last longer.

Change the Heel Height

If you want to change the height of the heel, the cobbler can peel away some of the layers of the heel stack and put the heel cap back on. However, keep in mind that this will change the dynamics of the boot and may affect the arch support and angle.

Adding a zipper

If you're having trouble getting your boots on, you can add a zipper to make it easier. This can also make the shaft more narrow if you want to fit under modern jeans.

Share Your Mods With Us!

Remember, when you modify your Chisos boots, you're making them your own. Share your modifications with the community in our Facebook group and let's celebrate how unique and personalized each pair of boots can become.

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