How To Make Shoes Smaller For All Foot Sizes

big shoe - How to make shoes smaller

We’re all guilty of it: either you picked up some shoes from the store because you couldn’t resist the style or ordered some online. But they’re too large to fit your feet, and you don’t want to give them back! And now you are looking how to make shoes smaller. 

No worries! This ‘shoes too big hack' article is here to cut down on your panic levels and get you to complete your dream outfit with the perfect pair of shoes.

First off, before we get into the making shoes smaller section, let’s see if we can prevent a shopping disaster where you end up with shoes that are too large.


When you’re shopping, make sure you walk around in the shoes you’re planning to buy before you purchase them. If your feet are slipping and sliding even a bit (whether up and down or side to side), the shoes are either too large or too wide for you.

If you’re wearing heels and your feet are slipping out, those are too large as well. You shouldn’t have to curl your toes in to hold on to the shoe; it should be a snug fit. When you’re seated, there should be a tiny gap in front of your big toe.

too big - How to make shoes smaller

Before you walk around, make sure you’ve laced up or strapped on fully if the shoes have laces or straps. Also, if you think that the extra space can be padded with socks, then you’ll be okay buying shoes in a larger size.

However, if the shoes are leather, you should avoid getting them in too large a size, because they can get looser with wear. Now, you must be wondering how to make your shoe smaller. Let’s get into it!

How to make a shoe smaller?

Reducing shoe size will be child’s play by the time you’ve been through these hacks. 

1. Insoles

Insoles are a great choice when it comes to tightening up shoes, as you probably know already. You can buy them full-size in many shapes and colors, and you can shop for ones specifically for the type of shoe that needs tightening. You can even get them for sandals!

2. Toe inserts

These toe inserts are ideal for closed shoes. If you’ve got a pair of heels that are just a bit lose, you can slip these in for some extra traction. 

3. Heel liners

These are also called heel inserts, and they’re strips that will keep the back of the heel stuck to your shoe. This makes shoes smaller and prevents you from getting blisters on your feet! As heel liners come in many different materials, you can get what works for you or go best with your type of shoe.

4. Ball of foot insoles

When it comes to how to make shoes tighter, we can’t forget these. These ball insoles will give your feet a bit of height while also adding comfort and padding. As the name suggests, they generally fit into the lower half of your shoe area and are about half the size of a full-size insole. 

5. Miscellaneous methods

In a pinch, you can always go for socks or stuffing your shoes with some fabric. You can also visit a cobbler and see if anything can be done about the shoes. And finally, if the shoes are of a shrinkable material, wash them, turn on the hairdryer, and see if you can shave a couple of inches off that way!


When it comes to sneakers, you might need a slightly different approach. If none of the above methods has worked, tongue pads should work a charm. Tongue pads are usually made of thick material; they’re basically shoe inserts to make shoes smaller but ideal for closed shoes. Make sure you get some comfy ones, though!

Socks will also work well for tightening up sneakers. If you’re buying them online, check sizes carefully. Different brands might have different sizing charts, so try to compare as best you can and make an educated guess. If it’s possible to drop into the store before you place an order, that’s even better.


1. Can I use insoles to make shoes tighter?

Insoles are definitely the go-to when it comes to making shoes tighter. They’re a very popular choice, and shoe stores, online shops, and supermarkets should give you your pick. Your feet may have to adjust to them at first, but they won’t be painful.

If you happen to have flat or high arches, you’re probably used to wearing insoles already! So give them a shot before you go to a cobbler or chuck the shoes away in desperation.

2. How To Make Shoes Smaller Without Insoles?

High heels too big and insoles just not cutting it? Well, you can use any of the hacks we’ve mentioned here: even try a mix and match! For example, a ball of foot insoles and heel liners can be used together.

Socks are always a great last-minute option as well. You can also try the shrinkage method. 

3. How To Make Big Heels Fit?

Heel inserts or heel liners are a good choice here. You won’t slip as much if you try these out. You can also try a shoe filler, which works like a shoe insert. It goes in the toe box area.

If you’re desperate, pull on some wet socks and then wear your large heels. You have to continue this process for a few days to see shrinkage.

4. Can I Wear Socks If The Boots Are Big?

Yes, socks are a great option, particularly if you don’t have time to fuss about inserts. Say you’re going to a party or you’re going to the bar with friends.

Just pull on some socks, and you should be good to go! You can also try paper towels or cotton. However, if your shoes are much larger than your feet, this might not work as effectively. 


Now you’re the expert on how to make shoes tighter. If you’ve got any abandoned heels or cool Reeboks lying around in your closet, buy some insoles or inserts and get started! If the size gap isn’t too large, you might have some wearable shoes by the end of it.

And if not, don’t lose hope! Try the shrinkage method, or just take the shoes along to a cobbler and see what they suggest. You never know, you might end up wearing your dream shoes after all!

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