How to Wear Shoes That Are Too Big for Your Feet

Ill-fitting shoes have always been a big no for me. If they’re too big, they just might make it hard for you to walk properly. And if the pair you wear feels rather too small, it may press hard against your feet and cause injuries.

But can you really make big shoes fit without trying so hard?

Yes you can.

So in this guide, you’ll learn how to wear shoes that are to big so that you can walk safely without compromising your natural gait – or putting your feet at risk.

Let’s get started. 

8 Ways to Make Big Shoes Smaller So They Fit Right

You always want to wear shoes that fit 100% of the time. But if you happen to have purchased loose shoes willingly or by error, here are 8 ways to fit in the pair and get by just fine.

1. Wear Thick Socks

Socks always have a way with shoes. In fact, wearing thick socks is one of the simplest ways to break into new shoes fast.

And when it comes to making big shoes fit, using a thick pair of socks is definitely one of the oldest tricks in the book.

At the very least, they fix loose shoes by filling up the free space, eventually leaving you comfortable and stable enough to walk for short as well as long distances.

If you don't have thick socks, consider putting on two or three pairs at the same time to build a dense layer.

Start with two pairs first, then keep an eye on the fitting. If two pairs aren’t enough, add one more. This should fix your loose sneakers without heating up your feet.

2. Fill up the Extra Space

A convenient way to reduce the size of your shoes is by stuffing up materials inside. You know, filling up the massive space at the toe front, or sizing up the back heel.

However, you can't just put anything in the shoes because some materials are dangerous to wear in the first place. Try using something like toilet paper, cotton balls, or shoe fillers.

The only downside to it is that you'll have to replace the materials inside with new ones frequently. That way, you won't suffer from common foot problems.

Remember, the best candidates to stuff up with things like toilet paper and cotton balls are boots, flats, or closed-toe heels. Any other type of footwear requires more permanent solutions like the ones discussed below.

3. Buying Insoles for Big Shoes

An insole is like the bread and butter of a shoe. It cushions your feet and provides arch support when walking.

But there's more to it than that.

Custom size insoles occupy a big chunk of the free space in your big shoes. That way, your feet won’t move and generate friction as you walk.

Moreover, you can use them with any type of oversize footwear, including open toe shoes and heels.

Picking insoles for big shoes isn’t difficult at all. First, choose a pair that fits right. Second, make sure the quality of the material is spot on so that you can use the inserts long term.

Like shoes, though, even inserts have their expiry time. So when your pair starts to wear out, and they will, it may be time to retire the inserts and get a new pair for your big sneakers.

4. Use Ball of Foot Inserts

Let's face it:

Sometimes wearing full insoles can be too much. So what’s the other option on the table?

You guessed it.

You can wear partial pads. And no, I don’t mean the ordinary ones. I’m talking about the ones that can easily cushion the ball of your feet.

The pad goes right under the arch of your foot, keeping you comfortable in shoes that are too big.

5. Try Heel Grips

You can also use heel grips if you intent to wear shoes that are rather loose for your feet. In fact, they’re quite handy if your footwear is uncomfortable around the heel area.

Let me explain:

When you wear shoes that don’t fit as expected, you're likely to feel a pinch or an irritation around the heel. It's a sign that you need to insert some partial pads in that loose region to help you minimize the contact.

This is where heel grips come in.

Before you use them, though, try them on for a few minutes, usually in the house. That way, you’ll get a firsthand experience on what to expect. 

6. Shrink Your Big Shoes

You can make bigger shoes fit by shrinking them, but this fix actually requires some bit of work.

First, you need to decide whether you are okay risking the quality of your shoe, because materials like leather and suede don’t often react well to water.

On a second thought, you don’t risk destroying your shoes if you shrink them right.

Start by knowing the type of material used to design your shoes.

Take leather shoes, for example. In this case, the right approach would be to use a spray bottle to control the water coming into contact while making sure you hit every part of each shoe using the spray gun.

You can then dry the shoes under hot sun or use a faster option like a hair dryer.

One your leather shoes dry, put them on and walk in them to determine how they feel.

If they still feel loose, repeat the exact same process, but this time wear the shoes and let them dry on your feet. This way, they'll curve around the size of your feet with ease.

Lastly, you can apply conditioning oil if you’re dealing with leather or suede shoes.

7. Use Elastic Bands

A more hands-on approach involves using a needle and a piece of thread. All you need are basic sewing skills to pull this off.

Plus it’s a one-time thing, because sewing up the elastic bands inside the big shoes is a permanent way to tighten them. 

  • Use small pins to hold the band and stretch it across the lose area of the shoes
  • Sew the band while making sure to keep it tight
  • When it's in place, ease your grip and let the band pull the material together.

These three steps should be enough to shrink your shoes.

8. Take Them to a Cobbler 

If any of the techniques that I’ve mentioned above seems like a bit of a stretch to you, there's a plan B.

Take your big shoes to a cobbler.

Let me say this:

Cobblers they have solutions to even the toughest shoe problems that you can possibly imagine. So when it comes to the art of shrinking shoes, they’re the miracle workers who can fix your big shoes so they fit well.

Finding a pro shoe fixer isn’t something I’ll teach you. After all, there’s always one near you. All you have to do is to take your pair of shoes to them and they’ll do the rest of the work for you.

When to Avoid Wearing Shoes That Are Too Big

There’s no better way to say this:

Wearing big shoes is straight out a very bad idea. That’s why I’ve shared at least 8 ways to fix your pair so it fits right.

Except that’s not all there is to it.

While you can get away with loose shoes, there’s always going to come times when shoe size mistakes come back to you.

So if you want to keep your feet and legs safe for the longest time possible, it’s ideal to know when not to wear shoes that are too big.

Avoid big shoes:

If You Plan to Walk for a Long Distance 

Picture your day before you decide to wear oversize shoes. Estimate how long you expect to walk, especially if you expect to be too busy to stop.

Avoid big shoes at all cost if you expect to walk for a long distance. That’s because walking in big shoes for an extended period is linked to discomforts. And it may even cause injuries like blisters and sore spots.

If You’re Going for a Run or a Hike

Intense activities like hiking or running are not for too big shoes. In fact, oversize shoes don’t have the balance, comfort, and support that you need to run or hike.

So don’t wear shoes that don’t fit your feet. It’s that simple.

When Traversing Through Rocky Trails

You should also avoid rocky areas where you are likely to trip and fall when wearing big shoes.

However, if you must wear them, try taking each step with your foot entirely off from the ground. That way, you're less likely to trip.

When Walking Up and Down a Staircase

Avoid wearing heels that are too big if you spend a lot of time juggling between different floors in a building.

Wear shoes that fit and feel comfortable instead.

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