How to Make Shoes Smaller? – 7 Helpful Tips!

Have you bought new footwear, but when you wear them, they slip out? Are you looking for safe ways to reduce the size of your shoes to have a perfect fit?

While you walk in too big shoes, your heels come out, which causes discomfort. Many accidents have happened due to wearing large-sized footwear. Therefore, you must look for shoe repair hacks to make them smaller.

After purchasing big shoes, sometimes you can’t change them because some shoe stores have no return policy, so you will have to make their size smaller.

I have worked in the footwear industry for many years, so I know useful tips to fix this issue. In this article, I will tell you how to make shoes smaller and give some helpful tips.

how to make shoes smaller

How to Make Shoes Smaller?

  1. Keep heel liners at the back of the shoes if they are bigger from the rear.
  2. Putting extra insoles helps a lot in making large footwear smaller.
  3. Shoe tongue pads also make a tight fitting on your foot.
  4. Thick socks with heavy patterns are handy to overcome this problem.
  5. You can use the ball of foot cushions for high heels or other footwear where putting full insole is impossible.
  6. If the toe box is too large, shoe fillers help a lot.
  7. You can also shrink the shoes by putting them in water.

Is this Possible to Get the Shoes Smaller?

Some shoes are large in length, and some have greater width; I have experienced both problems and know effective ways to fix them. However, when they are large from every side, they require both shortening and thinning.

Luckily, there are many easy, simple, and cost-effective ways and cheap shoe repair items to fix this shoe problem. You can make every type of footwear smaller.

For shoes that are too big, I mostly use shoe inserts and thick socks; they come in handy to overcome this problem. These strategies assist those greatly who find no footwear according to their foot size due to extremely small feet.

The shoe-repairing accessories are very cheap and accessible everywhere, so you will not find it difficult to buy them.

Ways to Make Shoes Smaller

When the size of my shoes is too large, I bring them to the store from where I have bought them and change them. However, this policy is not applicable in every store, so I use the following methods to make them smaller.

1. Heel Liner for too Big Shoes

Heel liners are easily available in the market, which is 3 inches strips. They are placed at the back of the shoes on the inner side.

They are used for shortening the shoe size and holding the feet properly inside the footwear. Also, they increase comfort and protect our feet from skin problems.

Thus, you will wonder if a little strip can do so many things. These shoe hacks are available in different materials such as fabric, gel, and latex-free stuff.

I have found these small heel liners useful in making my shoes small around the back. They are also a great solution for extremely large open-toe heels, especially when they are bigger length-wise.

2. Insoles to Make Shoes Smaller

Insoles are the best choice to make your shoes smaller. They are a great solution when the footwear is large from all sides. Close-toe dress shoes like loafers, oxford, sneakers, and boots can easily be made smaller using insoles.

These shoe inserts are available in different materials, sizes, colors, and shapes. Moreover, branded and non-branded options are also available.

Many unique inserts, such as flat or cut-to-size, are also available, but I prefer ones that correctly fit the shoes that you will make smaller.

Insoles are available for all types of footwear, for example, when you have flat or heeled dress shoes. Also, you can easily find sock-absorbing ones for flip-flip sandals and sneakers.

I recommend gel insoles if you have to make your footwear smaller as well as make them comfortable too. For flat ones, leather inserts are the best.

I suggest using shoe pads for everyday use because they are breathable and comfortable. They are an excellent choice for summer. Insoles of some brands are highly popular, but some non-branded ones are also very efficient.

3. Shoe Cushion for Tongues to Make Footwear Smaller

People who have suffered the problem of low instep or arch will be aware of the shoe tongue pads. They are small in size but work amazingly.

They are great for footwear like loafers, oxfords, and sneakers. These pads are made from thick materials and placed on the shoes’ inner side under the tongue.

We know that the tongue is the strip located under the shoe’s laces; it is a great tool to make bigger footwear smaller.

4. Use Thick Socks Before Wearing Shoes that Are Too Big

The problem of too big shoes can be fixed by wearing thick socks. This straightforward method works efficiently for sneakers, boots, and different closed footwear.

When I purchased my booties, they looked so lovely underfoot, but after walking for a while, they rubbed the back of my heels, making my foot sore. Wearing thick socks has helped me a lot in protecting my feet.

I find heavily-patterned socks the best because they are thicker and slightly more padded. The reason is that, from the inner side, there are extra threads of the designs, which make them padded.

I always keep extra socks with different thicknesses to wear different footwear, which is a very useful tip. For sneakers, cushioned sports socks are great; they make loose booties tighter.

Textured socks are the best choice for open shoes where they are visible. Highly patterned ones are thicker, so they are more padded.

Most people prefer wearing two thick ones to overcome the problem of big shoes. However, I don’t recommend this because it causes restlessness due to too restrictive and compressed feelings.

They also cause your foot to sweat too much, so you will get a fungal problem that is hard to cure. Thus, wear only one pair of thicker socks with bigger shoes and use ones made of wool, cotton, and bamboo. Prevent your feet from sweating!

5. Adding a Ball of Foot Cushions for Shoes Too Big

In some shoes, it is not possible to put full insoles so the ball of foot cushions is ideal for them; they are also called half insoles. For example, lady’s high heels, loafers, and pumps.

It provides padding to the forefoot, filling the space at the toe. Also, it protects the foot from slipping and prevent sliding forward.

Furthermore, this cushion protects your feet from hurting whether you walk, run, or stand for a long hectic day.

Follow the steps below to wear the ball of foot cushions in your shoes.

  • Take out the thin protection layer from the back of the ball.
  • Put it on the shoe; it will be stuck to it. Now, wear the footwear.
  • When you walk, it will be adjusted, and after a while, you will feel right.

6. Shoe Fillers to Make Shoes Smaller

Instead of shoe fillers, most people use rags, paper, or cotton balls to fill the large space at the toe-box of the shoes. But I recommend shoe fillers for this purpose because they are made from soft material which doesn’t hurt your forefoot.

They are made from memory foam which fills the extra room in the toe-box to make the large-sized footwear smaller. Both males and females can use them, and your feet will not hurt due to their softness and comfort.

Use the following guidelines before using the shoe fillers.

  • Select the shoe filler according to the size of your shoes because they come in various sizes.
  • In rare cases, both feet have different sizes, so you select each shoe filler according to each foot’s size.
  • You can use scissors to make the shoe filler according to your foot’s size.
  • Don’t forget to clean them if they get dirty; otherwise, the hard dirt residues will not be removed and will become smelly.

7. Shrink the Shoes in Water to Make Smaller

If your too-big footwear is made from materials like fabric, leather, or suede, it will be suitable to shrink them in water.

The steps to shrink the shoes in water are given below.

  • Wet the leather or suede shoes using a spray bottle; however, if they are casual or athletic, do soak them in water.
  • Now dry them in a dryer or in sunlight. Make sure the dryer’s temperature is not set high because it will ruin the shoes. I don’t recommend drying them in sunlight because they discolor and wear out the footwear.
  • Once they are dried, wear them and check them by walking. Still, if they are big, repeat the steps until you get the required size.
  • When leather or suede shoes get dry, polish them to protect their surface.

Guidelines to Wear Large Shoes

Follow a few simple tips to wear large-sized shoes.

Maintain Posture

Even if you have converted your large-sized footwear into smaller ones using the methods given in this article, you can get posture problems due to walking in them.

Its reason is that the shoes will become smaller from the inside but still big from the outer side. Thus, it is very necessary to monitor your posture.

Strengthen your Shoulders

You must lift your head, strengthen your shoulders, and look straight while walking.

Move from the Heel

When you are walking, make sure you are moving from the heel, then use the base of the foot to move.

Keep More Tension on the Backside and Abdomen Muscles

At the time of walking, you must put all the pressure on the muscles of the gluteal (muscles of posterior thigh and hip) and abdomen. It helps a lot in keeping your spine straight and holding it upright.

Take higher Steps

When purchasing large shoes, you must remember that they have more room than the normal shoes you wear. So, you must move your legs higher while taking steps at the time of walking.

If you don’t follow this rule, you may fall or hit a pebble or other object lying on the floor. Also, you must not take anything while walking.

Avoid Using Them for Long Walks

Even if you make your bigger shoes smaller using the techniques given in this guide, they should not be used for long walks. It is because they will not be as comfortable as wearing your normal shoes of the proper size.

Thus, if you travel long distances by walking, you must not use big shoes; they may cause foot injuries and pain. Playing sports in large shoes also makes your foot wounds because the ankles continuously undergo inconvenience.

Leave the Shoes that are Too Big

The techniques in this article are for shoes that are not too much large. You must not wear extremely large footwear. These shoe-shortening methods are for slightly large shoes.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

How to Make Shoes Smaller that Are Too Big?

If the shoes are made of leather or suede, you can shrink them by applying water spray; however, if they are made from water-resistant materials, they can be shrunk by soaking them in water.

If You Wear Too Large Shoes, What Will Happen?

Wearing bigger shoes will make our walk strange and unnatural. Therefore, our feet can be at risk of serious problems.

Without Insoles, What Is the Procedure to Make Shoes Smaller?

You can make your bigger shoes smaller using many techniques.

  • Using thick socks
  • With shoe tongue pads
  • Heel grips are very useful
  • Inserts for toe-box
  • Ball of foot cushions

Naturally, Can I Decrease the Size of My Shoes?

The natural way to reduce the size of your shoes is to put them in the sunlight after soaking them in water for 10 – 15 minutes. But this method is not recommended because sunlight can discolor or wear out the footwear.

Is It Possible to Shrink Shoes by Drying Them in The Dryer?

If you have to make canvas shoes smaller or any footwear that can withstand water, put them in water and leave them. 10 – 15 minutes later, take them out and put them in the dryer in a low heat setting.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes this situation occurs that after buying the shoes, we find them big when we check them. The best solution to fix this issue is to bring them back and change them, but this is not possible every time, and you have to consider ways to make them smaller.

Luckily, many useful techniques are given in this article that will help you make your large-size shoes smaller with simple and easy-to-use accessories. They are not so costly and easily accessible.

Daniel Robert is a shoe lover who enjoys writing about all kinds of footwear, including sneakers, Crocs, Vans, and more. He shares his vast knowledge on, a website dedicated to helping people find the perfect pair of shoes. With years of experience and a passion for all things shoe-related, Daniel's easy-to-understand advice has helped countless people make confident and stylish choices.

Leave a Comment