Tail index estimation depends for its accuracy on a precise choice of the sample fraction, i.e., the number of extreme order statistics on which the estimation is based. A complete solution to the sample fraction selection is given by means of a two-step subsample bootstrap method. This method adaptively determines the sample fraction that minimizes the asymptotic mean-squared error. Unlike previous methods, prior knowledge of the second-order parameter is not required. In addition, we are able to dispense with the need for a prior estimate of the tail index which already converges roughly at the optimal rate. The only arbitrary choice of parameters is the number of Monte Carlo replications.