How to Make Big Shoes Fit?

What do you do when you discover your preferred shoes are bigger than your feet?

How do you make the best out of an awkward situation where the perfect shoe for a particular event or a pair you borrowed from a friend or relative is not your exact shoe size?

You've got two choices:

One. Waste valuable time looking for an alternative (like returning the pair of shoes to the store).

Two. Become creative by making the pair fit and serve your purpose.

Sit back and relax; we've got the most creative hacks to help you get that shoe to fit like a second skin if you don't want your feet to be swimming in your shoes.

Whether you want to reduce the size in length or width, our time-tested tips revealed below will help you make that oversized pair fit true to size.

1. Stuffing the Toes of Your Shoes

Stuffing the Toes of Your Shoes

Since the advent of footwear, one of the simplest methods of making big shoes fit – especially for growing toddlers – is to insert folded tissue papers, cotton balls, or thin rags into space at the tips of the shoes.

That's as simple as it can ever get – and adults can use the same method too!

Stuffing helps to stop the feet from sliding forward or backward as you walk around.

For your close-toed heels, boots, and flats, it is easy to stuff soft items, and you are ready to go.

It is not advisable as a quick fix for athletes when training and competing, however.

Similarly, do not use this method if you are going for long walks or plan to repeat the process very often, considering that the materials will eventually break down and will no longer provide the desired comfort.

2. Wearing Thick Socks

Wearing Thick Socks

Contrary to the method above, this hack is preferred when wearing oversized boots or when training and competing in athletic shoes that do not fit correctly.

It involves putting on thick socks or even multiple pairs of socks to boost the padding.

These layers of soft socks will combine to give you a snug and secured fit.

But then, there is a downside to this.

You will end up with sweaty feet during intense workout sessions or if used in warm weather. You can try sweaty feet shoes that made to control sweat to keep your feet cool and fresh

3. Using an Insole

Dr. Scholl’s TRI-COMFORT Insoles

To ensure you maintain the right posture when walking and reduce discomfort from a loose shoe, inserts (made with gel or foam) will come in handy.

Insoles (or inserts) are soft pads placed underneath the foot to offer proper support and cushioning.

A big pair of open-toed shoes or heels will feel more comfortable on your feet if you add an insole to it.

Apart from filling up the extra space, insoles offer optimal support and comfort to the arch, heel, and the ball of the foot to keep you going all day.

These pieces can also be ideal and suitable for your casual, dress, and comfortable work shoes.

Highly recommended in this regard is the famous Dr. Scholl’s TRI-COMFORT Insoles brand.

4. Using the Ball of Foot Pads

Using the Ball of Foot Pads

If you are one of those that do not like the feel of full insoles when wearing flats or heels, you can opt for partial pads or heel cushioning.

Unlike inserts that cover the whole range of the sole, these will be directly placed on the balls of the heels, leaving you ample room to wiggle about towards the toe area.

Footpads likewise provide a thin layer of support and prevent friction if the shoe heels are not your size, and you do not want the uncomfortable feel of insoles.

With the Ball of Foot Pads, you'll be able to choose different colors that match your shoes since they are available in different colors.

Similar to footpads are fillers, also known as heel grips, placed on the heel areas to prevent pinching and chafing of the foot.

Another option in this regard is arch pads that support the arch but do not take much space.

The little room arch pads take within the shoe makes them ideal for high heels and dress shoes.

5. Using of Shoe Tongue Pads

7 Pairs of Felt Tongue Pads

A fantastic piece of accessories that you can use to make your shoe fit to size is a shoe tongue pad.

The tongue is a strip of material under the laces of shoes that traditionally makes a wide shoe feel narrow. The tongue pad, on the other hand, is a thick material attached to the inner part of the shoe tongue and complements its function.

Though they are typically used by people that have a low arch or instep, you too can insert it into your loafers, sneakers, and oxfords.

It is available in different sizes, such as the 7 Pairs of Felt Tongue Pads Cushion for Shoes, Size Large.

It is a unisex shoe saver that will balance all forms of looseness in your footwear without making you feel uncomfortable.

Best of all, it is easy to apply and remove without leaving traces on your shoe.

6. Visit a Shoe Repair Professional or Cobbler

Visit a Shoe Repair Professional/Cobbler

When saddled with a big-size shoe and you have exhausted all options of reducing it to fit your feet, you should take it to someone that builds or repairs shoes.

Let the professionals deal with the fitting issue to help you avoid damaging the shoe.

They will add permanent custom inserts, heel grip or liner, and tongue pad under the lining of the shoe to make it fit you better.

This is the best advice for people who inherit shoes as heirlooms or whose oversized pair of shoes have sentimental or historical values attached to them.

The same advice goes to people whose shoes are of high-quality and equally expensive.

True, a professional cobbler's services do not come cheap, but it will be worth your while – and expense.

Non-conventional Methods of Making Your Big Shoes Fit

1. Shrinking the Shoes With Water

​For your big-size leather and fabric shoes proving other methods ineffective, this is an easy way to make it fit your feet like a second skin.

However, you must find out if you can apply water on the material before you go ahead with it.

Whereas there are shoes that the size gets reduced by wetting and air-drying, some require special care in applying water, so you don’t damage your shoes.

Use a spray bottle or damp cloth to get your suede or leather shoes wet while, on the other hand, you can soak your athletic/casual shoes in water.

You can sun-dry, but if no sun, dry with a hairdryer on a low-heat setting placed about 15 cm away from the shoe.

This will ensure you do not burn or melt the fabric.

For some shoes, nonetheless, you have to repeat the process multiple times before you get the right fit.

The moment you get your preferred size, you need to treat the leather or suede shoe with a leather conditioner to ensure they stay that way and last long.

2. Using of Elastic Band

Using of Elastic Band

Before you can attempt this method, you need to have a bit of experience with thread and needle.

It involves sewing elastic bands into the inner edges of your shoes to pull it together and get a snug fit.

The steps to get it right are not difficult.

The elastic band should be stretched along the inside of the heel.

Ensure you sew the band in tightly.

When you release the band, it will pull the material together so you can get that snug and secured fit.

Why is It Not Advisable to Wear Big Shoes?

As much as we are giving you tips on how to keep your big shoes and still get to wear them, It is essential to note that it is not advisable to be a habitual buyer of big shoes, given the adverse effect they have on your physical well-being eventually.

Most people that wear big-size shoes end up with the following foot conditions:

  • Blisters
  • Hammertoes
  • Calluses
  • Arch pain
  • Swellings
  • Back problems
  • Nail injury

Given that you have to stay healthy to be able to move around, wearing the right size of shoes is vital to remain functional.

To prevent any of the above, you should choose any of the steps above to make your big shoes fit better always.

Why It is Crucial to Avoid Big-sized Pair of Shoes?

If you end up with no choice but to wear a big-sized pair of shoes (even after padding or stuffing it), ensure you do not walk in it for an extended period.

Remember also that your stride when walking with an extra-size shoe will be different compared to your regular fitted shoes.

Wrong strides may make you prone to twisting your ankle or stubbing your feet, given that the shoe will feel loose on your feet.

When you plan on taking a walk around places with unsure footholds or towards an incline, you need to be careful because your feet can slide within the shoes at any time, which can make you stumble and fall.

Also, you must maintain a good posture always, so you don't have issues with your gait.

With this in mind, you should not go more than a size or two up to help prevent injuring your ankle, knee, and lower back.


While trying out different ways to make your big-size shoe fit correctly, be careful so that the processes or items used will not weaken your shoe or damage it irrevocably.

Although we do not advocate that you buy a big-sized shoe at any time, but when left with no choice than to wear one, rely on these inexpensive ways to still make them fit – and get value for your money.

Adhering strictly to any of these tips will save you time and money until you shop for your perfect street size.

Robert Hallman

Robert is a sports enthusiast, writer, blogger & chief editor at Sportsly.NET. He hailed from Big Lake, Texas. He also loves to play all types of exotic games, test different kinds of sports gear.

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