Our Explorer is designed to be waterproof - and so HAS a gusset instead of elasticated panelling. The Explorer is available in Narrow, Standard and Sporting Fit - the Calf Width for all can be found on the “view Size Guide”. We've made the calf sizes a little different from the Regina - so do check!
The gusset and rear of the Explorer should be pulled fully towards the front of the leg, and then properly folded back over onto itself, so that it lies as flat as possible against the calf. This ensures that bunched leather in the gusset doesn’t interfere with zipping the boots up (and giving an incorrect impression about the fit of the boot in the calf).
With the gusset folded correctly back on itself, put your weight through the heel of the foot, and bring the zip up as far as possible - holding the front and rear leather panels/ zips closer together, taking pressure off the zip and teeth.
(Using the D-ring to pull or force the leather closer together may lead to the boot giving an incorrect impression of fitting, and excessive tightness, and potentially pull the teeth out of alignment which can result in breakages).
For many people the boot will fit straight away, however, others may need to let the leather soften and stretch slightly. Get the zip up as high as possible, then wear the boots around the house or performing basic household activities to allow the leather to wear in.
As with all leather products, the leather may feel a little firm to start with. Body heat and pressure will ensure that leather will stretch (only if and where required) and give to ensure a comfortable fit in the calf. Once the leather has been worn in, repeat the process with the zip until it is secure all the way up the leg.
Once the boot is completely zipped up, it will stretch only as much as required over time, making successive wears easier and more comfortable.
A little extra explanation
Leather and Suede (being natural products) have an inherent stretch within them that will become apparent with wear. By wearing the boots around the house or whilst doing basic activities, the suede and leather will begin to soften and stretch (thanks to body heat and pressure). Prolonged use and wear will make this much easier over time - Persevere!
Don't worry - the boots will only stretch as much as required (where pressure is being applied). Leather will eventually stretch to the same degree as suede, but will take a little longer, and feel firmer/ tighter to start.