I fully broke in a pair of tall boots ~3 years ago and they fit perfectly. I took a break from riding for a year and I’m ready to get back into it, but I can no longer zip the boots all the way up my calves. The boots are still in very good condition so I can’t justify buying a new pair, and they have a zipper so I can’t get them stretched out either. Any tips on stretching them out? Is there any chance they shrunk after not being used for a year? Thanks
They may have, especially if they weren’t worn at all and/or didn’t have boot trees in. It’s just as likely that, after a year of not riding, your leg musculature has changed. Spray the inside of the boots (lining side) with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water until very moist. Try zipping with a string through the zipper pull while lying on your back, leg straight up at a 90-degree angle to the floor (or have someone else zipper them for you while you’re standing). Wear until dry. Then wear some more. Then wash a horse in the wash rack with them on. Repeat ad nauseum. The moisture and warmth of your body should help them stretch and mold to your leg.
This, plus do it first thing in the morning. Your legs will swell some during the day. If that doesn’t work, have a cobbler insert an elastic gusset on the inside.
You actually can get them professionally stretched a little bit.
I had a pair of boot that I bought while training for a half marathon, I still run, but not as far so put on about 5lbs. I was able to zip them up still but they would unzip as I rode. At that point the boots were 4 years old and were for schooling so I took them in to have the zippers replaced. She said the zippers were fine, stretched them a teeny bit (took about a week), and they were perfect after.
Our local cobbler shop can stretch boots - I’m sure it’s common enough you’d be able to find a person local to you that can as well. I’ve also seen riders take their boots to get an elastic panel sewn into the back.