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how to make shoes smaller? Full Guide

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Everybody knows the feeling: you spot the perfect pair of shoes and go to try them on, but they’re just too big. Whether they’re oversized in one just giant overall or specific area, there are plenty of tricks you can apply to wear big shoes without looking silly.

We’ve all been there:

That classic shoe that no longer fits so perfectly. Yes, traumatic stuff here, people! And it can occur for so many reasons, not excluding indulging in your ideal shoe at the cost of the right size!

So if you’re looking for some shoe replacement hacks on how to make shoes smaller or how to get big shoes fit, here are six free to nearly inexpensive solutions to contact your boots fit better.

I am looking for the opposite solution of how to create big shoes fit, possible? Please, Check out my new post on how to draw shoes.

I have many heels, flats, and sneakers that have gotten bigger because of wearing; Feeling we have ‘Run out of gas’ emotionally in the winter months of the year. And it’s always better for you to have shoes that fit with loose-fitting shoes.

how to make shoes smaller

Seldom I need to make shoes smaller in width, sometimes in length. Some boots that are sizeable all-around need both narrowing & shortening. 

The better description is that there are so many simply accessible, low-cost methods & shoe accessories to fix this little footwear problem, no matter what type of footwear you need to make fit you a little smaller! These involve shoe inserts for shoes that are too big & some surprisingly simple solutions such as socks!

It’s excellent news for those of you who can’t find tiny enough shoes for small feet. 

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How To Make Shoes Smaller: 6 Ways

1. Ball of Foot Cushions

Sandals, flats or pumps, foot cushion balls are common fit insole types to shorten my summer shoes. The toe straps of the shoes will elevate your heel slightly to keep your heel straight and add extra filling and grip under the ball of the foot.

Ball of Foot Cushions prevents toes from slipping & sliding in your shoes when the warmer temperatures. This type of half insole works excellent in flats, sandals, heels & dress shoes.

There are two qualities of a ball of foot insoles that I personally & recommend using:

These are thicker than standard half insoles, textured to grip and slippery, reusable, washable, and the adhesive surface won’t damage the inside of your shoe. These come with a six-month guarantee! The wrong side is that they are sweating on your feet. Best applied on bare feet.

  • Genuine Leather half insoles from Pedag

The best breathable alternative to gel insoles is a leather insole. Thinner than the gel balls of the foot cushions, these are meant to make the shoes a little bit shorter, add traction under the toes, and won’t cause your feet to sweat. These are great devices for how big shoes can fit!

TIP! Ball of foot cushions makes shoes even smaller when applied with heel liners, which leads me to my next thing on the list.

2. Heel Liners for Shoes

Back of heel inserts, or Heel liners for shoes, are three strips that secure onto the middle back of the heel of your shoe. Excellent to shorten the shoe’s length, prevent heels from slipping out of shoes, improve comfort, & prevent blisters. That does a lot for such a short strip!

These come in more materials, including gel, fabric & unique latex-free materials. I found these nifty heel liner-meets-insoles that will help get shoes even smaller in & around the back of the shoe! Check it out & many other top-rated heel inserts below:

3. Full-Size Insoles

Insoles to create shoes smaller are a personal fave & easy go-to to make shoes fit smaller. Full-size insoles are a great solution to an all-around bigger shoe. Many branded & non-branded options exist in so many sizes, shapes, yes & materials, colors!

You can find more generic insoles, but I prefer ones that cater to the specific type of shoe you’re trying to “shrink.” You can find insoles for flat & heeled dress shoes, sock absorbing ones for even flip-flop sandals & sneakers.

Full-Size Insoles

You can get gels like Dr. School’s Dreamwalk insoles. Or you can choose leather insoles, such as paddle insoles for heels or paddle insoles for flats. These I highly recommend for daily use as they are breathable (great for summer!).

Some of my fave brands include Dr. Shoals, Pedag, Embrace My Heels, and Hotter Shoes, but many non-branded insoles work well.

4. Shoe Fillers

If closed-toe shoes are too long for your feet, why not add toes that act as shoe fillers? Great for shortening the length of the shoes, you can pair this foot cushion with a ball for a tight fit on the front of the shoe. Or combo them with heel liners to make shoe lengths even shorter!

The two shoe fillers I have personally verified and reviewed are the Caesars (ASS recently came up with a Caesar Dup, BTW!) And the Schulex “Make MM Fit”. Both brands updated their products in 2018, so I recommend using their new and improved inserts!

Both brands offer three sizes of inserts to get big shoes fit smaller that are washable, durable & a much more enjoyable alternative to stuffing cotton in the tips of your shoes! Both can only be applied in closed-toe shoes.

5. Shoe Tongue Pads

If you’re not one of the short-sleeved or arched ones, you’re probably not very familiar with shoe tongue pads. These aren’t the sexiest shoe accessories. But they work miracles!

Great for sneakers, oxfords, loafers, and more, the tongue pad is a dense felt-like material that sticks to the inside of the shoe’s “tongue.”

The tongue is the strip of material you get under your shoes’ laces and works excellent for narrowing wide shoes. You can get it in various forms from eBay and Amazon.

Shoe Tongue Pads
Image : Amazon

6. Socks & Footies

If you’re wearing long trousers and flared jeans, why not opt for something already in your closet? Yes, socks are the sixth item on how to make shoes smaller! You can either wear your socks every day, or if you don’t get your socks peeking out of your shoes instead, footwear is your best option.

Footies come in many styles & colors, and if you get the right ones for your shoes, no one, including you, will notice them.

Socks & Footies
Image : Amazon

Keysocks are great knee-high no-show socks for flats & heels to wear underpants. You can see my full review of Keysocks here! They now come in many more colors & prints too. 

How to wear huge shoes

Easier Methods

Wear thick socks. The easiest thing you can do to create a pair of shoes with a loose-fitting pair of shoes a great fit is to “bulk up” your dog socks with thick sheets. You can even wear 2 or 3 pairs of socks on top of each other – the denser the filling, the tighter your feet will fit in the shoe.

  • Best for: Athletic shoes, boots.
  • Notes: This can be a difficult choice in hot weather, particularly if you tend to get sweaty feet.

Stuff the toes of your shoes. Under pressure, you can use the cheap, waterproofing element to fill the space in the tips of your shoes. Stuffing the toes of your boots is an excellent choice if you start walking from the front to the back of your shoes. Also, it’s something you can do anyplace.

  • Best for: flats, boots, close-toed heels.
  • Notes: Not an exceptional choice for athletic situations or long walks; “Filler” material can be coarse and brutal with heavy use.

Use an insole. An insole is a soft pad that provides cushions and support to the shoes under your feet. Insoles are often designed to help with feeling discomfort and problems. However, these are very easy to take extra loose space in shoes. Insoles are reasonably cheap in most places where shoes are sold.

Best: Most shoes (including heels and open-toe shoes).

Notes: If you can, make them easy to wear before buying any insoles. Like well-known brands like Dr. Shoal and Foot Petals, famous brands offer convenient, durable insoles, but any quality insole brand should work. High-end insoles can run for 50 or more, but the line offers support and comfort.

Use ball-of-foot pads. Sometimes, adding “full” insoles to shoe sets makes them uncomfortable or surprising to wear. Fortunately, other, smaller cushioning devices are usually sold alongside insoles. A supportive device for enormous shoes is a partial pad that sits directly under the ball of your foot. These distinctive, very tight-looking tight-looking pads provide a thin layer of friction and support. Making it perfect for somewhat larger heels but become uncomfortable when wearing full insoles.

  • Best for: Heels, flats
  • Notes: These usually come in many colors, so you can try to pick a pad that’s in a color that celebrates your shoes if you want.

Use a set of heel strips. Another “partial” padding option with insoles and ball-of-pads is thin strips of padding, sometimes known as heel strips or heel grips. As their name implies, these adhesive pads are often used to make shoe pads with uncomfortable, pinching heels. Still, their stripe-like design means you can place them anywhere on the shoe to get extra space for that clear pair of shoes that nothing else will work.

  • Best for: Most shoes, unusually tight pairs of heels.
  • Notes: Try these on before wearing them, and be aware that some users report blisters after use.

More Involved Methods

Try to narrow the shoes with water. For some shoes, you can consider lowering the shoes by wetting and then air-drying with permission. Adequately covered, it will withstand a better deal of adverse conditions. However, it is valuable to note that it carries a small risk of damage to your shoes, so always check the care tag inside the shoe before opening. See below.


  • Wet your shoes first. For leather or side shoes, use a spray bottle. For casual/active shoes, soak the shoes in water.
  • Let the shoes dry in the sun. If it is not sunny, use a hairdryer in “low” settings. Be careful not to hold the hairdresser too close to the shoe. Some fabrics like polyester come in contact with burning and melting.
  • Try these on when your shoes are dry. If they are still too big, you need to repeat this process a few times. If you are concerned about your shoes shrinking too small, let them dry on your feet so they can form around them with reduction.
  • After drying, wear fine suede or leather shoes. Conditioner kits are usually sold in shoe stores and rarely in drug stores.

Use an elastic band to limit the shoe. This technique is effective if you have some experience in sewing. Stitching elastic bands on the inside of your boot will make them stiffer together. All you need is a short elastic band for each shoe, a needle, and a thread. Use a relatively robust set of bands if possible.

  • Stretch the elastic strip along the middle of the back of the shoe. A good spot for this is the middle of the heel, but any open area will work.
  • Sew the band in place, keeping the flexible tight as you go. Safety pins can help here.
  • Loosen the band. When you let go, the flexible band will draw in the material of the shoe. This should give it a “smaller” fit.
  • You can use design this with the pool shrinking method or one of the tricks above if required.

See a cobbler or shoe repair professional. When all else fails, get opinions from others. Once knew cobblers were, but they are somewhat rare today. But, the internet can make them a few easier to find. For example, a Google Maps or Yelp search should yield at least a few results in a large city.

  • Best for High-quality, expensive shoes; treasured heirlooms.
  • Notes: The cobbler services are often expensive, so try to reserve them for shoes worth it. The nicest pair of formal shoes you own are an excellent choice to bring to a cobbler. Your daily tennis shoes are not.

Things to Remember

Try to maintain your posture after wearing large size shoes. Remember that no matter what you do with the inside of your shoes, they will still be the same size on the outside. This, unfortunately, can sometimes cause posture and gait problems. When you are wearing oversized shoes, it is essential to maintain good posture to compensate for your “big” feet. Check out our posture article for a better selection of tips and pointers.

A few general points include:[3]

1. Stand up straight. Point your head and chest up and fresh. Pull your shoulders back somewhat to align your arms.

2. Use heel-to-toe movement. Start each step by keeping your heel down in front of you, then rolling your arches, balls, and toes. Finally, start!

3. Try to remove your abs and glutes lightly as you walk. These supporting fibers help keep your spine straight and well-supported.

Be careful of tripping over your toes. More giant shoes are slightly longer than the way you usually wear them. This means that it is extra essential to lift your hips off the ground as you walk. If you let your foot pull, it is easy to catch the toe of your shoe on the floor. It can cause tripping or stumble, so be aware of this common problem.

Do not wear shoes suitable for long walks. There is no interest in what solutions you are using for your enormous shoes; almost nothing provides shoe support that includes appropriately. Try to avoid using massive shoes for long treks like day trips and hikes, and slipping around you while walking will save you from the discomfort of swelling, cuts, and sores.

  • More importantly, you’ll also reduce your chance of injury. Ankle injuries are more likely in shoes that are too big. This is especially true in athletic situations.

Replace shoes that are significantly larger than you used to be.

This may seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning: the above strategies will only go so far. If your shoes are one or two sizes larger than your standard shoe size, no amount of padding will help. Wearing a pair of new shoes does not take the risk of pain and injury. In this case, you may want to switch to an older, worn-out pair of shoes that is a much better choice than even a pair that is much larger.

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