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How to Eliminate or Reduce Chafing (Rubbing) of Boot Shafts on Legs

Every now-and-then, men may feel chafing or rubbing on their legs from the shafts of cowboy boots. There are four things to do in order to eliminate or reduce this problem.

1. Closely examine the inside of the boot shafts where the chafing or rubbing sensation is felt. If there are any loose threads or unfinished ends of leather, try to cut them off or you cannot cut them, melt them. Yeah, melt. Boot threads made of nylon will melt when exposed to a flame. Take the boots and a lighter outdoors (never do this indoors!) to a clear area. Light the lighter and carefully wave the end of the flame near the threads to melt them. Be careful not to get the flame too close to the leather, because it will cause leather to discolor and to shrink (in the area directly exposed to flame.) Also take care not to burn the threads completely through – if that happens, the boot may begin to fall apart.

After the threads are melted, carefully pull or break off the melted ends to smooth them out. Then proceed with the next step.

2. Get some medium (100 grit) sandpaper and rub it on the offending loose threads, beading, or ends-of-leather. Essentially, “sand down” the parts that are causing the rubbing. After all areas are sanded that were causing the problem, gently wipe the areas that were sanded with a damp cloth, then pull the boots on to check if the problem has gone away. If not, repeat the process until the problem is resolved.

3. In cases where it is not possible to melt or sand an offending area to smoothness – such as where a boot pull attaches to the inside of a boot – then get some regular masking tape (“paper tape”) and carefully place the tape over the offending area. Usually that works, but not always. Tape also has to be replaced from time to time, as it is not a permanent fix.

4. Consider using a professional boot stretcher (or bring the boots to a cobbler) to stretch the boot shafts slowly over time. Usually, if boot shafts can be stretched even 1/4“ (6mm), it may eliminate the problem because the area that was rubbing is no longer close to the legs.

It does not seem to matter if the boots are made by an expensive custom one-of-a-kind bootmaker, a commercial mass-production vendor, or where in the world the boots are made. Sometimes there may be loose threads, beading, or bits of leather that will rub on your legs. It is fairly easy to resolve yourself with a bit of ingenuity and tactics as described above.

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chafing.txt · Last modified: 2011/12/22 20:57 by bhd