Some outfits just call for a stylish pair of boots!
But the confidence you get from looking good can quickly disappear when your boots are rubbing painfully on your calf… Leading to an unpleasant outing instead of the fun time you’d hoped for.
So figuring out how to stop boots from rubbing your calf could be one of the most valuable things you learn! These tips and tricks aren’t complicated, so you should be able to find something to help here.
Keep in mind that not all of them will work for everyone. You may need to experiment to find the best thing for you.
But once you figure it out, you can look forward to wearing your favorite boots as often as you like without pain or discomfort!
How Should Boots Fit?
It’s important to make sure your boots fit right. You should be able to fit a single finger into the boot between the material and the calf.
If you can fit more than one finger in, the boot fits too large around the calf. But if you can’t fit a single finger in, the calf size of the boot is too small.
Why Is It Important to Get a Good Fit Around the Calf?
The wrong fit around your calf can lead to several different, unpleasant effects. If the collar of the boot is too big, you might find that water splashes in or flaps around, especially if you’re walking fast.
On the other hand, if your boots are too small around the calf, the biggest problem you’ll find is chafing. When boots rub against your calf when you walk, it can cause pain, and discomfort, and even leave raw patches or cause blisters.
This can also leave you with a different gait as you try to alleviate pressure on the calf. It can cause pressure on different parts of your foot or leg, causing pain even in places other than your calf.
How to Stop Boots from Rubbing Your Calf
Regardless of what kind of boot you have, here are some ideas to help you stop your boots from rubbing your calf.
1. Wear the Boots In
If you’re struggling with a pair of new boots rubbing on your calves, you may need to wear them a little. They may be stiff and haven’t yet molded to the shape of your calf, and simply wearing them can help to eliminate this problem.
This is especially important for leather boots to help them soften and mold to your calf shape, but it is essential for all types of boots.
You should wear them for at least a few hours around the house before walking long distances in the boots. It’s a good idea to wear them for about an hour, for a few days. Then, increase it to two hours, and so on. You will need to be walking around in them for this to work well.
You can also wear thick socks during this process to help stretch the top slightly as you break them in. After about a week or two, you should notice that the boots don’t hurt anymore when you wear them. Mission accomplished!
2. Size Your Boots Correctly
Buying the wrong size boots is a common reason for them to hurt your calf. It’s important to check that the boots fit you on your feet and the calf.
This can be difficult for those who happen to have larger calves. You may have to shop a little to find a pair of boots that fit below and above. Remember, you should be able to fit a single finger into the booth between the material and your calf.
3. Get Boots With a Collar
Instead of buying a boot with the material directly against your calf, consider buying one with a built-in collar. That means it has a layer of softer, more comfortable material around the cuff, which shouldn’t chafe.
Alternatively, you can make your own boot collar. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is to stick moleskin around the inside edge of the boot, as it’s soft and easy to work with.
If you don’t have moleskin, you can always use an old pair of socks. Cut the top cuff off the socks and stick it inside the boots, so that the soft sock lies against your calf instead of the boot material.
In winter, you can always wear long socks and roll them over the top of the boot to form a collar. However, this can be uncomfortable as it can close the natural gap between the boot and your leg.
4. Use an Insole
In some cases, wearing boots that aren’t snug around your foot can cause the shaft of the boot to wobble when you walk, rubbing on your calf. If this is your issue, you can add an insole to the boot to make it fit better, preventing chafing.
The extra material under your foot can elevate your foot, lowering the collar on your calf. This can immediately take care of the chafing, or it might be easier to fix it from there.
5. Try Boot Cuffs
Instead of modifying your actual boots, you can try boot cuffs. These are basically like socks for your calves! Similar to leg warmers, they fit over your legs and provide a barrier between the boot and your leg.
They can be warm in summer weather, so they may be a better solution for winter boots. We like these ones, or you can even knit your own if you’re so inclined!
It’s important to know that if your boots are rubbing because they’re too tight at the top, this method may not help. It will make the boots tighter, which could end up making the problem worse.
6. Reduce Sweating
If your boots only chafe when you start sweating more, the solution may not have anything to do with your boots at all! Instead, it might be more worthwhile to focus on reducing the sweating.
Applying talcum powder to your calves and behind your knees before you go out may absorb sweat and help to stop chafing. Just remember that if you’re wearing dark pants, it may leave marks!
7. Use Anti-Chafing Products
You can also try anti-chafing products that you rub onto your skin. You can get sticks like Body Glide, which effectively lubricates the area and reduces friction between your skin and the boot.
There are various other types available, but when you choose one that’s in roll-on form, it’s easy to carry with you wherever you go and reapply it when you need. A good alternative that’s also quite affordable is petroleum jelly!
8. Buy a Wide-Calf Boot
If your calves aren’t likely to fit into a normal-sized boot, you can opt for a wide-calf boot. You may find them called “extended calf boots”, which are explicitly made with extra space in the calf.
Other good options include boots with elastic goring that can stretch or zippered boots. You can also buy a zipper extender if you need them to be even wider. Of course, this is a good option if you’re looking for boots to fit your calves, but it doesn’t help if you have existing boots that you’re trying to wear without pain!
How to Prevent Calf Rubbing In Specific Boots
Cowboy boots tend to be made of leather. It’s essential to break them in properly, as the leather will mold to the shape of your feet and legs the more you wear them.
Start by wearing them for an hour or so at a time, and over a week or so, gradually increase the amount of time you wear them in one go. Keep in mind that it can take up to two weeks to break them in properly!
If you’ve put in the effort to break your boots in and they’re still chafing, you may want to take some extra measures to soften the leather. You can find leather conditioners online, which should be able to soften the leather so it stops rubbing against your skin.
Keep in mind that some leather conditioners can change the color of your boots slightly. Do some research to find one that works for you!
There are various ways to soften the rubber, which may make it easier for the rubber to mold to the shape of your calves. One of the easiest ways is to heat up the cuff of the boot with a hair dryer before you put them on to wear them.
There are various other ways to stretch rubber boots, but most involve stretching the bottom of the shoe, not the cuff.
If the boots are rubbing when you walk due to the movement of the boot, then it may be a better choice to use a boot cuff or make a collar.
In most cases, the hiking boot won’t be high enough to rub on your calf but will instead rub on the Achilles tendon. This can be just as painful, though, if not more so!
There are a few ways to prevent this chafing from happening. If you’re wearing long pants, you can tuck them into your boots. This could also help to stop debris from getting into your boots!
You could also reassess the way you lace your boots. Using a different lacing technique could take that pressure off your Achilles.
If your feet move around in your shoes and lead to the back of the boot bumping uncomfortably, then a heel grip is the best way to fix it. This is a piece of soft padding that you stick to the shoe’s inner heel counter, which stops your foot from sliding.
You could also use a tongue pad or an insole to serve the same purpose. Keep in mind that if your boots are leather, they’re likely to have mesh inside them, so it may not be effective to try softening the leather.