How To Make Big Shoes Fit : The #1 Method That Works [2024]

Written By Mahia

Most of us have that one pair of new shoes that have been sitting in the corner of the closet for months. Maybe you ordered the wrong size, or maybe there was only one pair of your favorite brand shoes in the store, but that was larger than your feet.

And who wants to wear a shoe which slips out of your heels frequently. Moreover, wearing unfit shoes can give your feet swelling, blisters.

Having shoes larger than your feet size doesn’t mean they are of no use, or you will throw them away. May sound peculiar, but you can make your larger shoes fit your feet size.

The purpose of this article is to let you go through all the simple yet useful hacks that you can use to make your big shoes fit. Then why waste time? Gather all your large size shoes and make yourself a cobbler for a

Simple and Fast Ways To Make Big Shoes Smaller

Apart from buying wrong-sized shoes, wearing a pair of shoes for a long time often makes them loose and makes your feet slide from forward. As a result, you feel uncomfortable in those shoes; there is always a risk of slipping the feet and tumbling. How embarrassing it will be when you are walking in the crowd, and suddenly one of the shoes comes out of your feet, and you fall flat on your face!

The process to make the larger shoes smaller and to be comfortable in them is not rocket science that you cannot do. The methods are easy, and the result is very useful. I tried to include all the most accessible ways, follow all of them, and make the large size shoes perfectly wearable. So keep reading.


In a hurry? Check out my new post on Clean White Mesh Shoes.

Method 1: Put On Socks

The most hassle-free trick to make large shoes fit is to wear socks. Put up an extra pair of socks on your regular socks or wear a pair of thick socks. Wearing thick socks eats up the extra space that a large shoe has. If you don’t have thick shoes, instead, you can try wearing two to three socks one over another; this will also ensure the shoes are not too loose. The thicker the cushioning, the more securely your feet will behold in the shoes. Socks also give protection to your feet and provide a firm grip which prevents any slipping.

However, there is a drawback to wearing thick socks or layering your feet with multiple socks. In hot and humid weather, wearing double or triple layer socks can make your feet sweaty, and sweat starts making your feet stink.

If you want to mend your athletic shoes or boots, then this method is worth trying because these particular shoes need socks to wear. The sock method is only for those shoes which require wearing socks; you can’t apply this method on sandals, unfortunately.

Method 2: Usage Of An Insole

You can use a removable shoe insert to fill up the space that your shoes have. Those who are not familiar with a shoe insert, shoe inserts are also known as an insole or inner sole of the shoe, which holds up the feet’ bottom. Insoles are mostly used in orthotics to support the foot and to have comfortable wear.

The insole is usually made from a cellulose paperboard or synthetic board and fastens to the shoes’ upper part. Adding insoles to the large size shoes will occupy the extra space and make them fit perfectly to your feet. If your shoes are too big, you can add more than one insole to get the extra hold. Also, insoles give your feet additional support, make sure your feet are in its place, and give you a comfortable and snug fit.

Insoles are suitable for most of the shoes, and as it is removable, you can put in any shoes you like. You can find insoles in any shoe store; also, they are very inexpensive.

Method 3: Fill Up The Vacant Area

It is the cheapest and easiest method so far. Stuff anything you want inside the shoes to fill up space. Anything as in you can stuff toilet tissue, newspaper, cotton balls, or old tattered cloth inside the shoes’ head.

This method is preferable for shoes like closed-toe heels, flats, or boots. Big shoes in which your feet keep slipping to and fro, this trick is perfect for those shoes. The stuffing will make the shoes tighter and ensure your foot doesn’t slide much.

As it is a temporary solution, do not try this method for sporting situations or a long walk. Also, do not try to stuff whatever you want inside the shoes, add materials that will keep your feet comfortable, and don’t prick your toes and heel if your schedule is for a day-long try to avoid this method after a certain time, your feet will sweat. Your feet will have an unpleasant smell.

But before that, go through our epic guide how to Clean The Soles of Dance Shoes.

Method 4: Wear A Ball Of Foot Pad

This method is the alternative to insoles. If you find using a full insole uncomfortable, you can use a cushioning tool instead. A cushioning device works the same as an insole, but cushions are smaller in size. The cushion is made to be placed under the ball of your feet (ball is the section of the sole between the toes and arch) to give them a firm grip, support the feet by providing a little friction and give your shoes a perfect fitting.

You can wear cushion pads in flats and heels. There is a variation in sizes, shapes, and colors; you can choose any pad matching your heel color or shape.

Method 5: Use Heel Strips


This heel strip works the same as the cushion pads that are used in the ball of the foot. The softly padded heel strips are placed above the heel, which gives you comfortable wear as the heel strips are small in size and have a gluey back so you can attach them anywhere in the shoes.

Heel strips take up the extra space of the shoes ensuring a proper fit. You can use these strips in almost every shoe.

Some of you may have swelling or blisters if you do not place the strips in the right position. It is better to wear them to check if you feel comfortable or not before attaching them in the shoes.

Method 6: Use Elastic Bands

This method will be tough for you to apply if you have no idea how to stitch, you can ask your mom or any friend to help you. You can get a tighter fit of your large shoes by sewing the elastic band inside the shoes.

Below are the steps of how to use elastic bands to make big shoes fit:

  1. Elongate the elastic band and attach it with some safety pins inside the heel or place where you feel the shoe is loose.
  2. Keeping the elastic secured, stitch the band in place, and remove the safety pins.
  3. When the elastic band is in the position while pulling the shoe’s material together, it will contract back to its initial shape.

Method 7: Shrink The Shoes

It is a full-proof process. Instead of stuffing your shoes with random items, I would suggest you follow the process of shrinking shoes. You just need to invest a bit of your time and energy.

Follow all the steps carefully to prevent damaging the shoes:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s label to ensure the material of the shoes and whether you can use water on it or not.
  2. If you own a suede or leather shoes, take a spray bottle, fill it with water, and spray in the shoes evenly. But if you want to shrink a pair of athlete shoes, then dip it in a bucket of water as athlete shoes are sturdy and thick.
  3. After the shoes are completely wet, it’s time to dry them. You can leave the shoes in the sunlight, or you can use a hairdryer with a low temperature. When using a hairdryer in the shoes, keep it at least 2-3 meters away from the shoes. If the dryer is too close, you can burn the shoes due to excessive heat.
  4. Check the fitting of the shoes once they are thoroughly dried. If you still feel the shoes are loose, repeat the same process one more time or until you get the exact fitting. You can dry the boots while wearing; this gives a perfect fitting and tightens around your foot shape.
  5. Bring back the shoes’ moisture and prevent excess dryness; try to use a leather conditioner after the shoes are dried. But do this step only if your shoes are made from suede or leather.

Take Expert Help

I don’t have enough time, or if you don’t want to waste your energy, making your shoes smaller, you can take professional help. Cobblers are experts in this field; you can ask them where you want to make them. They can do this in no time.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Try to maintain a good posture when you are wearing large size shoes. If you don’t do this, you will face difficulties walking in the wrong size shoes.
  • All the methods described earlier will be applicable only for shoes that are 1-2 inches larger than your feet size. But if the shoes are excessively large, then none of the above methods will work. Go to the shoe store and get the shoes replaced according to your feet size.
  • For the daylong walk, I would suggest you not wear large size shoes. You will not get the proper fitting and comfort that you will get from a correctly fitted shoe. Wearing big shoes for a day-long can give you ankle injuries, swelling, and blisters on your feet. So it is always recommended to buy a shoe that offers a snug fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wear shoes one size bigger?

No, you should not wear shoes that are one size big, wear shoes that fit your feet perfectly and gives you a snug fit rather than your toe sliding forward of your shoes frequently. Wearing too big shoes feels uncomfortable, but health risks like you can get foot blisters, swellings, hammertoes, or injure your ankle.

Are shoes better tight or loose?

1/8 inch of movement is natural, but you can feel like much more. When the shoes break in slowly, loose slipping in the heels will not cause any swellings or blisters. But if you wear shoes that are too small in size and very much tight-fitted, then the shoes will rub the foot’s skin often and cause blisters. Before purchasing the shoes, wear the shoes and walk around in them to ensure a perfect fitting. Shoes should not be too tight or too loose; rather, it should be snugly fit.

How much room should there be at the end of a shoe?

To check the fitting with any pair of shoes, put your thumb between the end of your shoes and toes. If the thumb doesn’t fit or the thumb feels too tight, you must assume the size is small. And if there is way too much space around your thumb, the shoes are very large.


Returning a wrong size shoe is a bit of a hassle; instead, you can try making the big shoe smaller. In this article, you will find all the possible techniques needed to make a large shoe small. But keep in mind this article will be of no use if you have purchased a giant size shoe. All these methods will work only if the shoe size is 2-3 inches bigger.

Do let us know which technique helped you in achieving a smaller shoe. We love to hear from our readers.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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