I discovered that trick by accident at a Civil War re-enactment, we had to walk through a creek as we “retreated early in one of the battles, did not have a chance to get my brogans off for about 6 hours after that, so they had dried nicely. Next morning I noticed they were a LOT more comfortable, and this was a pair of shoes I had been wearing at least 1 full weekend a month for the previous 3 years. Since then I have soaked all of my leather re-enacting footwear and dried them on my feet, since it is extremely hard to find my correct size in reproduction footwear (so far all I have found is custom made soft leather shoes, nothing suitable for longer marches and rough use). I just get the smallest size that come close to the width of my foot and stretch them, for everyday wear I have been using a cheap pair of side zip boots, the Brazos side zips that Academy sports carries in my size(11 EEEE US size, actually my foot length is a 10.5 and off the chart in standard widths, but that is close enough to be comfortable) for $30, I get about 6 months out of them before my feet start to hurt from the wear on the soles. I got about a year out of a $120 pair of Magnum boots that were basically the same style, but for the same money I can get 4 pairs that will last me 2 years instead of 1 pair that lasts 1 year.
I do replace the laces with paracord, otherwise I snap at least 1 lace after about 4 months, my current laces have been moved to their 3rd pair of boots now with no real signs of wear after 14 months.