Question for The Boot Guy: I bought a pair of Ariat “Dixie” boots about 6 months ago. I normally wear a size 9AA, but since narrow women’s Western boots are impossible to find, I planned to wear these boots in a 9B (the narrowest width I could get) with heavy socks. I can’t, however, make the boots fit comfortably by wearing thick socks. My foot still slides forward (possibly made worse by the height of the heel) making the boots uncomfortable, which eventually causes me to have pain/cramps in my feet, making it virtually impossible to wear the boots. I can’t return them because of the time factor. Is there any way the boots could be altered so as to be narrower, or is there anything I could do to make them wearable? I can’t really afford to have a pair of boots in my closet, which are like new that I can’t even wear. Please help!
We can help! If your boots are too big there are a number of solutions to your problem. Let me give you a few ideas to try. The right solutions depends on what spot of your boots is too loose. So I’ll list the solutions and describe what area they tighten.
You mentioned trying socks to tighten up your boots. That is usually the first solution to try. But this may cause problem of making the toes of the boot too tight. One solution is to wear boot socks like, Justin Boot Socks. These socks are made with thicker heels and thinner toes. They will tighten up the heel and take out heel slip.
Another popular solution is to add an extra pair of cushion insoles. They will tighten up the whole boot. So, insoles may give you the same problem as extra socks and make the toes too tight.
So what can be done to tighten up the boot and not make the toes too tight. I have three things for you to try.
One. Add an arch cookie or a ¾ length arch support. An arch cookie is an arch that is shaped like a D and is glued in your boot in the arch area. It tightens the instep of your boot and helps keep your foot from sliding forward. A ¾ length arch support does the same, but also takes up more room since it is an arch and a 3/4 length insoles too. But by not going the full length of the boot, these supports don’t tighten the toes.
Two. Put a “Tongue Pad” in the top of the boot in the area where the tongue of a shoe would rest on your foot. This method tightens up the arch, keeps you from slipping forward and make the heel tighter.
Third. Put a leather back in the boot. See this other article I wrote about heel backs here. This is a great solution if the boot fits pretty good but the heel slipping a lot. Heel slipping can cause a shearing motion in the heel that can cause blisters. Leather heel backs or heel counters can be made of various thicknesses of leather, depending on how loose the boots are.
I suppose there is a fourth answer too. That would be a combination of any of the above answers.