Are your heels slipping out of your shoes or your toes sliding forward? We’ve all encountered this problem before—in the excitement of finding an amazing pair of shoes, you’ve purchased the wrong size for your feet. You may be wondering how to make big shoes fit you properly, so you can enjoy your new footwear.
Apart from being uncomfortable, shoes that are too big can cause blisters, arch pain, and other painful issues with the feet. You may have started looking for shoe inserts or thought about how you can shrink your shoes. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. We have some solutions to help you out.
How Can You Make Your Big Shoes Smaller?
It’s quite common to have a pair of shoes lying in your closet that are too big, or perhaps you want to borrow a pair from a friend but they are a little large. It could be that your shoes have loosened up after too much wear, or perhaps they don’t fit you right during the winter time since feet get smaller in the cold. Whatever the case may be, we’re here to help you out and get them to be snug and comfortable again.
We’re going to start off with some simpler methods to get your shoes to fit right and then if you’re really having trouble making them comfortable, we’re going to move on to some different adjustments you can do.
1. Pile on the Socks
The first and foremost technique that you can try to make your shoes fit better when they are too loose is to start out by wearing an extra pair of socks. Or a single pair of socks that’s a bit thicker than usual which will fill out all the empty space.
This is the easiest and cheapest method you can try to solve the problem. Everyone has a bunch of pairs of socks in their sock drawer, so there’s no need to go out of your way for this method.
This is a great option for anyone that’s trying to fix their boots or their athletic shoes, since those are the two types of shoes where you’re required to wear socks.
Unfortunately, this solution might not be such a good idea for other pairs of shoes, especially open ones where socks aren’t necessary. Additionally, if the weather is warm and you put on two pairs of socks, your feet will end up sweaty. And in the end, you might even end up stinking up the shoes.
2. Fill the Empty Space
If you’re in a hurry and have no time to fuss around to get the shoes to fit you perfectly, you can always try this method. All you need to do is get some toilet paper, cotton pads, tissue paper, or even an old rag to stick into the empty space at the tip of the shoe.
This is especially great if your foot keeps sliding between the back and the front of the shoes when you wear them, and it’s an easy fix when you’re in a pinch.
This method is great when you have a pair of flats that don’t fit too well, boots with extra space, or even close-toed heels since you can’t see the extra paper in the toes.
However, make sure you’re not constantly stuffing up your shoes with extra material you have lying around your home and that you take it out immediately after you take your shoes off. Any material is going to get uncomfortable and smelly pretty fast.
3. Invest in Insoles
A top choice many people use is shoe inserts for shoes that are too big. This is a great way to fill out some space evenly across the shoe and add some extra support for your feet.
Remember that the pair of insoles that you get are not for life and you’ll need to replace them at some point. If you’re looking for longevity, we’d recommend avoiding gel or latex foam insoles.
Both of these materials tend to deteriorate quickly if you’re using them often. Sure, they may seem ideal to you when your feet are hurting, but once the material inside breaks down there will barely be any cushioning between your foot and the shoe, leaving you back where you started.
Instead of these two options, try going for an insole that’s made out of Poron which is long-lasting. This is typically used in orthotics, so it’s durable and comfortable. The best part of this method is that since you’re using insoles, you can put them in any shoe.
This video shows how to use insoles with heel liners to make big shoes fit smaller.
4. Use Ball of Foot Cushions
If you find that adding a full insole to the bottom of your shoes is a bit uncomfortable, or that it makes the shoe too small, then this is the perfect solution for you.
You can use a special cushion that’s designed to be placed at the ball of your foot inside the shoe, to make it more comfortable and better fitting. It’s made for shoes that are just a tad too big for you when putting a full insole makes them uncomfortable. These types of cushions can come in different colors, shapes, and sizes and are perfect for any ill-fitting flats or high heels.
5. Stick in Heel Strips
Another option for a shoe that’s only slightly too big is to add a different type of cushion. These are similar to the cushions we mentioned before that are placed at the ball of your foot, only these ones are usually placed right above the heel when a shoe feels uncomfortable. However, because these strips are smaller and have an adhesive side, you can put them anywhere in the shoe.
We’d recommend that before you stick them inside and try wearing them to see how comfortable they feel on your feet. That’s because they may cause blisters if you put them in a bad position. These strips are great for any type of shoe since they’re small but can fill up any space that feels loose.
6. Make the Shoes Smaller
If you have some extra time and you’d really like your shoes to fit right without filling them with various things, we’d recommend that you try to shrink them.
This is a relatively simple process in terms of the ingredients you’ll need. But you will need to be careful not to damage the shoes themselves. Here’s how to make shoes smaller by shrinking:
- First, you’ll need to know the material of the shoes and check if you can use water on them.
- Then get them wet. If you’re trying this with a pair of athletic or casual shoes, you can go ahead and give them a soak in water. But when it comes to suede or leather shoes, you’ll need to get a spray bottle.
- After you get the shoes all wet, you can start drying them. If the sun is out, you can leave them out to dry. If not, you’ll need to use a hairdryer on the lowest setting. And make sure you’re not holding it too close to the shoes because that can cause damage.
- Once they’re completely dry, see if they fit better. If they don’t, repeat this process until they do. And for a really perfect fit, we have a pro tip for you: if you dry them while wearing them, they will constrict around the shape of your feet.
- The final step for shoes made from suede and leather is to use a condition kit on them.
Check out this video to see the method in action.
7. Tighten with Elastic Bands
If you have some experience with sewing, this technique will be perfect for you. All you need to do is get some very strong elastic bands and stitch them on the inside of the back of the shoes. This will pull the material together, thus giving you a tighter fit. Here’s the method:
- First of all, stretch the band to keep it tight and secure it in place with some safety pins.
- Then you can sew everything in place and remove all of the safety pins.
- When the elastic band is in place, it will constrict back to its original form while pulling the material of the shoe together.
8. Ask a Professional
If none of these methods end up working for you and your loose shoes, ask a shoe repair professional or a cobbler. Look up where the one that’s nearest to you is located and make sure the service is within your budget. While back in the day this used to be a common profession, these days, the rates and prices are higher for skilled work.
You also might not want to do this for an old pair of casual shoes you barely wear. Instead, this is the best method for a nice pair of shoes that you treasure.
In an ideal situation, you’d be wearing a pair of shoes that fit you perfectly. But if that’s not the case, after following the suggestions and tips we mentioned earlier, don’t forget to pay attention to the details below.
If you’re wearing a pair of shoes that are bigger than you’re used to, you’re also not going to be used to their length. That means it’s important to properly pick your feet up while you’re walking so that you don’t trip.
Keeping a good posture is very important when you’re wearing shoes too big for your feet. If you don’t, wearing the wrong shoe size can lead to problems with your gait and, of course, your posture.
If you have shoes that are more than a couple of sizes bigger than what you’re used to, none of these tips are really going to help to get them to the right size. Instead of risking any possible injuries, just replace the pair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Better to Buy a Pair of Shoes That’s Bigger or Smaller Than Your Regular Size?
If you’re looking to buy a pair that’s different from your size, you should always aim for a bigger size. But do note that you should only go for half a size bigger and not more, as otherwise, it could lead to injury.
How Much Room Should There Be at the End of a Shoe?
With any pair of shoes, you should try fitting the width of your thumb between the end of the shoe and your toes. If it doesn’t fit, they are too tight, and if there’s too much space, they are too big.
Should You Even Get Shoes That Are Too Big for Your Feet?
It’s not recommended that you get any other size of shoes than your own, as this can lead to getting sores, cuts, blisters, and even ankle injuries if you wear shoes too big.
Big Shoes to Fill
In conclusion, the next time you stumble upon a pair of shoes that are big and you’re wondering how to make big shoes fit you, you’ll know what to do with our guide. Whether you’ll try to make them smaller with our suggested methods or you’ll try filling out the empty space, it’s up to you.
And if all else fails, you can always ask a professional. Don’t forget to let us know in the comments below if you’ve tried any of these methods and tell us which one was the most efficient one for you.