Many of us have been through traumatic times in our lives; like when that perfect shoe didn’t fit us that perfectly anymore. Either because that shoe has become larger due to wear or our feet were puffy (for various reasons, such as after a pregnancy) at the time of purchase or simply because we bought our dream shoe a size up (or two), bottom line is we ended up with shoes that are big for us. This may mean that we walk and our feet slip out of them affecting our swagger. No doubt, we no longer feel as comfortable in them as we wanted and should. Sounds like your case?
Instead of throwing them away with a broken heart, there are some shoe repair hacks and shoe accessories you could consider that won’t cost a month’s paycheck and make your shoes fit much better. You could visit Amazon and get most of them under $10 or Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto if you are more of an in-store shopper. However, if you do find another source that sells these items cheaper, let us know!
1. Insoles (full size)
Full-size insoles are an excellent solution if your shoe is bigger all around, both length and width. Depending on your personal preferences and type of shoe, you will find many products, both branded and non-branded insoles, in a great variety of materials, sizes, shapes, and, of course, colors so that you can pick the perfect one for your needs.
Although there is a plethora of more generic insoles with the distinct flat, cut-to-size pattern, it’s much more preferable to choose the ones that are designed to address the specific type of shoe you want to make somewhat smaller. This means that you can find insoles for heeled and flat shoes, sneakers, and even flip-flop sandals. Also, there are shock-absorbing insoles (see Dr. Scholl’s products) that allow your feet to fit better in a large shoe and make walking feeling like stepping on clouds at the same time.
2. Half Insoles
Ball of foot cushions is a marvelous option for flats, dress shoes, heels and summer sandals. They will support your foot and keep it in a slightly higher position so that the straps can do their job well (meaning, keep the foot in place). Besides that, and equally important, they will add extra grip and padding under the ball of the feet, which, in turns, will help prevent your toes from sliding and slipping in the shoes, especially during the summer months, when we tend to sweat more.
You will find them in many different types but there are two we strongly recommend:
(1) Gel ball of foot cushions (i.e. Dr Scholl’s), which are reusable, textured to prevent slipping, thicker than the half insole we usually find in the current market, washable, and have a sticky surface that will also help protect the inside of the shoe, without damaging its surface. Plus, you get them with a 6-month guarantee. To avoid making your feet sweaty when you wear them, we suggest you use gel ball of foot cushions on bare feet.
(2) Genuine leather half insoles which are perfect for those that don’t fancy gel insole for some reason. Genuine leather insoles are breathable and thinner than their gel counterparts. However, they work just as well with the gel ones and can make a shoe just a tad smaller (not as small as you can get them with gel insoles, though). On top of that, they don’t cause your feet to sweat and add needed traction under the toes so that they don’t slip and slide. We have tried one from Pedag, and feel totally happy with the results so thought we’d share the news!
3. Heel Liners
Image from: AliExpress
If you combine gel or genuine leather insoles with heel liners, results will be amazing. You may hear them referred to as back of heel inserts, too. Heel liners are straps of various dimensions that secure onto the inside of the back of the heel. You can wear them if your flats are digging into the backs of your feet and want a comfy, life-saving solution or with a pair of high heels that ran big and you want to prevent your feet from sliding off. You can secure the feet, prevent heels from slipping out of the shoe, and shorten the length of the shoe. Plus, heel liners help prevent blisters. You will find them in many materials, from silicone and gel to latex and fabric to choose from. We just found these Massage Heel Liner Gel Pads, as well as these silicone high heel cushion pads that will deliver even better results when it comes to making your shoes smaller. However, there is a plethora of similar products out there so feel free to do your own research for the perfect heel liner!
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4. Shoe Fillers
Image from: Perfection
Toe inserts will make a bog difference in the way you wear your shoes if they are far too long for your feet. They will help shorten the length of the shoes, and you can always pair them with ball of foot cushions if you feel that your foot is not as tightly fit in the front of the shoe. You may even use shoe fillers in combination with heel liners and significantly shorten the length of the shoe. That said, shoe fillers cannot be used with an open-toe shoe, for obvious reasons.
When it comes to suggesting some products that we have tried and were satisfied with results, we’d probably say that the shoe fillers from Shoolex were pretty good (they come in 3 sizes: Small, Medium, and Large and cost slightly over $15). Plus, they are durable and washable.
Image from: amazon.ca
Not many people know about them, but the ones that do are definitely those with a low arch or instep. Shoe tongue pads are used for several reasons. However, the most common is to prevent heel slippage by snugging-up a loose-fitting enclosed shoe (i.e. sneakers and oxfords). The great thing about them is that they can be used in many different types of shoes, are comfy and economical, and can be applied in just a few seconds. What they actually do is gently push the foot back in the shoe and can also help reduce or even completely eliminate any discomfort on the ankle or foot caused by the tongue of a shoe. Particularly effective in making loose-fitting shoes around the heel and ankle smaller. If you wear them with your running shoes, you will notice that the toes do not jam against the end of the shoes, which will be a great relief indeed!
You just remove the cover of the adhesive backing and place it on the underside of the shoe’s tongue (the material under the shoes’ laces), slightly lower down the tongue and toward your toes to have the intended effect. Finally, you can use them for either both or just the left or right shoe. We found some great ones at My Foot Shop.
If you are planning to wear something long (i.e. flared jeans), why not consider socks? Yeap, sometimes, the solution to a problem comes from the simplest of things; things we can find in our closet, in this case! Footies (hidden socks) that won’t peek out from your shoes or your everyday socks will do a great job narrowing a wide shoe. They come in several colors and styles to choose the one that suits you the most. Get the right ones and nobody will know you are wearing them! You may want to try knee-high no show socks (i.e. Keysocks) or calf-high footies under your pants.
A fast alternative to all that is take your shoes to a professional that fixes shoes (aka cobbler), who will insert a heel grip, heel liner, tongue pad or insole padding (or a combination of all that) under the shoe’s lining. It will cost you more than just opting for the 5 other solutions mentioned above, but it will a one-off deal and significantly less time-consuming, especially for shoes you wear often, if you don’t want to spend time cleaning and replacing the shoe fillers or inserts every single day.
With loose-fitting shoes, your swagger will change and taking a stroll may result in a sprain or trip that could cause an injury. Although it’s much more preferable to buy the right shoe size for your feet, how can you resist the dream shoe if it’s slightly bigger than your feet! We totally understand the feeling and despite the fact that there are no magic formulas and solutions to make a shoe smaller, there are inexpensive hacks that can definitely help! Just identify what exactly needs to be done (i.e. narrow or shorten the shoe or maybe both?) and seek the corresponding solution.
Speaking of hacks, have you tried something else to make your shoes tighter?