So, you pick up a new pair off boots, try them on, and they are just too tight. One of the worst feelings in the world! What to do now?
Well, first thing is first: loosen the laces. This is probably the most basic answer you will ever read, but all too often players get a little frustrated with their new pick-up and fail to address the simple solution. Every time I try on a pair of Puma evoSPEED boots, I go through that “these boots are not going to fit” moment. But then I remember, “maybe I should loosen the laces.” I had a similar experience with the new Vapor XI.
By loosening the laces, I don’t just mean the top few notches. You need to loosen all the way down to the bottom eyelet, using every inch of the lace available. Then, work on slipping your feet in and adjusting the tongue (where applicable). This will give you the largest fit and allow you to motion the upper right in around your forefoot.
Next up, try stuffing the inside of the boot to help the materials stretch. You can go two ways here; use some newspaper or pick up a shoe horn. Whichever way you go, be careful not to put too much pressure on the upper. You don’t want to compromise durability or damage any stitching. Gently stuff, putting mild pressure against the walls of the boot.
Then there is the shower technique, where you soak the boots in warm water. This is only effective when it comes to leather boots, where the structure of the leather softens as the hot water penetrates the walls. To make it work most effectively, you’ll need to wear the boots in the water. Your foot shape will help naturally mold the material. This is a technique that has been used for a long time, but I don’t recommend it as much anymore as it tends to reduce durability properties of the boot, weakening the strength of the lacing used.
Ultimately, you don’t want to wear a boot that is not comfortable. If they are genuinely too tight and you don’t feel right wearing them, switch for a larger size. There is nothing worse than blistering or having foot cramps as you play. You really can’t excel unless you are confident in your boots.
But as per above, before you look to change them out, take 2 minutes and try LOOSEN THOSE LACES!