Ok, you said no cheating...
I was searching for help with new boots
I definitely recommend the bathtub method! I broke in my new custom boots this way. I actually freaked out a little bit when I got them, thinking I had gained a ton of weight, or my feet had swollen or something. But then I bathtubbed them, wore them until the dried, and they fit like GLOVES now. Boots that I thought I would hate, I now love dearly.
Same here! I used the bathtub method on a pair of Ariat Crowne Pros, and it was the best thing I could have done. I thought it sounded crazy to submerge new, expensive boots in water, but it really did work. I put on breeches, socks, and boots. Then got in a tub half-filled with warm water. I knelt down in the tub so the boots were completely covered but my butt did not get wet. I sat that way for about 20-30 seconds. Then I wore them all day -- and I do mean all day, I think I had them on for 14 hours -- so they would completely dry on me. After this, the next few times I wore them, I sprayed the inside calf area with a solution of half alcohol, half water right before putting them on.
When I first bought these boots, they were so tight I could feel my calf throbbing when I had them fully zipped. I thought for sure the folks in the tack store were wrong, and I should have gotten the full calf instead of the regular. But after the bathtub thing and the alcohol/water, they fit like a pair of custom boots.