How to Make Shoes Smaller? 8 Useful Tips


Loose shoes can be impossible to snug into and, in most cases; you won’t be able to use them. So today, I’ll give you some tips on how to make shoes smaller — just the right fit. Some of the methods I will be sharing with you are accessible while others can be a bit out there. But regardless, they all have the same problem-solving goal.


Make your shoes smaller by trying out these easy hacks

  1. Using water
    • Cold Water
    • Leather Conditioner
    • Blow Dryer (Optional)
  2. Stitching an Elastic Band
  3. Stuffing toe area
    • Paper Towels or tissue paper can do the job
    • Cotton Balls or any cotton pads that are available
  4. Wear thick socks, footies, or even knee-high ones depending on your shoe type.
  5. Shoe accessories like;
    • Cushion ball
    • Shoe Filler
    • Shoe Pad
    • Heel Grip
  6. Replacing the insoles
  7. Return and Exchange Policy
  8. Look for a Professional Cobbler

Are Your Shoes Too Big or Loose?

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Shoes often fit us differently depending on the season, and even our mood can affect their fit. One day they’re too tight, and the next they’re slightly too loose. If you find that your shoes are loose, it could be due to several different reasons. 

Your shoes might have stretched out from wear or because of the weather. Or it is the wrong size shoe that can be also due to poor sizing or because you simply bought the wrong shoe for your needs. 

It’s also likely that you don’t know what your true shoe size is. Your feet could also be two entirely different sizes, just like mine are – and I’m not alone! 

It’s not uncommon for people to wear shoes that don’t fit exactly right. It’s pretty common.

That’s why a shoe brand like Nike launched a scanner called Nike Fit. It is an app to know your right shoe size for different styles of shoes.

But since most brands have universal sizes and don’t offer the same privilege. It is up to you to look for the right shoes and choose the best fit. And you don’t always pick the right one. It can end up larger than you expected. 

How to Make Shoes Smaller

So, here are simple hacks and tricks you can try to help you on how to make shoes smaller without insoles;

Use Water & Leather Honey Conditioner

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Make your boots FIT BETTER with these comfort hacks by Unisport (YouTube)

Shrink-to-fit easily helps you on how to make shoes smaller. If you’re wondering how to make big shoes smaller, this method also solves it.

All you need to do is wet the shoes down with cold water, place them on a flat surface, and apply some leather honey conditioner. Let ’em dry under the sun or use a blow dryer to fasten the process and then try them on for size.

If not done properly, you might damage your shoes. Shoes have multiple materials that need extra care when trying out this process.

Your suede and leather shoes for example are wet with a spray bottle. While you might need to soak both athletic and casual shoes in water. Doing so makes the shoe more pliable.

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To ensure a snug fit, repeat the steps above several times. 

Alternatively, try drying the shoes while wearing them to avoid over-shrinking. 

After the shoes have dried, lightly condition them by rubbing in a small amount of leather honey conditioner. You can also try using a suede eraser to remove any scuff marks.

Stitch an Elastic Band

If you have the skills, you can make this by hand. If not, you can lay back and let the experts do it. 

Now, if you want to learn how to make shoes a size smaller, this “stretchable” method is worth trying. You can start by gluing an elastic band (or two) to the heel of your shoe. Let it dry overnight or until completely set.

Once it’s glued, you may not want to remove the band; if you do, any stretch will ruin your shoes. You can now wear your new shoes with the elastic band, and over time they will automatically shrink to your feet. 

Using elastic bands is one of the cheapest alternatives. It is a perfect fit too without using insoles.

Stuff the Toe Area

How To Make Big Shoes Fit Smaller! *Top 10 Home Guide* by Michigan Foot Doctors (YouTube) 

If you’re running late for work and don’t want to take the time to deal with making your shoes smaller, try this DIY trick. This should help you on how to make shoes look smaller.

Just put a bit of toilet paper, some cotton pads, or even an old rug into the shoe tip. This will act as temporary filler between your foot and the material inside so it can make your shoes fit you.

As these are only brief remedies, you might end up stuffing your shoes every hour or so depending on your activities. 

Like if for example, you’re running all day thus making your feet sweaty. You don’t want your shoes to get soak and worse, with the tissue paper all curled up inside. That would be dreadfully uncomfortable. 

Wear Thick Socks

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How SHOES Should Fit | 7 PRO Tips For A COMFORTABLE Fit by Your Average Gent (YouTube)

Another easy way that will help you on how to make shoes smaller is to wear thick socks. 

Other than being simple and effective, is that socks are available hanging somewhere or folded in your drawers. It will act as a toe cushion and the thick spandex material will make your shoes smaller.

You can also fold the tip of your socks like a tortilla wrap at the back of your toes using the top fabric. So now you can reduce the visible space between your feet and the shoe itself making your shoes fit perfectly.

You can stock on and wear your everyday socks or footies if you want your shoes to look like they’re half a size smaller. It might peek through when you wear shoes that have wider openings but you can always tuck it in and no one will notice.

Use Shoe Accessories

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Best Ball of Foot Cushions 2020 by Quality Products Reviews (YouTube)

Shoe accessories like cushion balls and inserts are the perfect alternative. They’re especially useful when you find insoles overly bulky or uncomfortable. 

If you’re still trying to figure out how to make shoes smaller, using the shoe accessories below might just help.

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To give your favorite pair of shoes not just a little extra lift and height but added layer to make your shoes smaller, try using a ball of foot cushion

They will prop your feet a little higher so that the shoe’s upper straps keep your foot in place. The cushions also add extra padding and grip under the balls of the feet. And that makes it fit comfortably.

Okay, so, here’s also how to make big shoes smaller — Shoe Fillers!

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Shoolex (Amazon)

Shoe fillers are this little product that fits like an insert into your big shoes. They’re another way that will make your shoes fit properly. They prevent heel slippage as well.  

You may use the Shoolex Big Shoe Filler. The double-layer design of Shoolex Big Shoe Filler is soft and makes your shoes smaller. These two qualities are necessary to make sure your toes feel like it’s in a sinkhole into the sole with ease. And with every use, the dual-layer adapts to the shape of your shoe to make it fit naturally.

Another accessory you can try is a Shoe pad or also called a tongue pad. It is a thick felt-like material that sticks onto the inside part of the shoe. Its sole purpose is to cover the gap between the shoe and sock, preventing irritation and rubbing. It also adds a layer to make your shoes fit snugger and make your shoes narrower.

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Tongue Pads Review | Natural Footgear by Natural Footgear (YouTube)

Dr. Scholl’s Foam Heel liners are also a simple solution for the discomfort and slippage caused by ill-fitting and wider shoes. With only an inch or two of extra material, heel liners can add grip and makes shoes look smaller.

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How To Make Big Shoes Fit Smaller! by WeAreTheTrend (YouTube)

Heel liners are an excellent aid most especially for open-toe shoes that are larger. It fills the open space inside of a pair of open-toe shoes and makes the shoe fit more comfortably. 

Replace the Insoles

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4 Ways to Make Your Dress Shoes Fit Tighter & How to Get Rid of Heel Slip by Gent’s Lounge (YouTube)

The insole is a small cushion found inside shoes that provides warmth, support, and comfort. In some cases, insoles are from specialized materials such as gel and leather.

Their purpose is to provide relief from bad posture problems as well as discomforts. But they also serve to take up some more space in larger shoes. That’s also how to make shoes smaller.

But insoles won’t last forever. If you’re aiming for longevity, I don’t recommend gel types or foam insoles made with latex. Why? Because foam and other heat-sensitive materials like gel are easily degraded by frequent use. 

While they provide great comfort and added space to make your shoes smaller, their cushioning quickly breaks down if your feet get a lot of use. You might need to buy another pair within a short time.

When shopping for insole replacement, try the insoles made of Poron, which is a lot more durable. This material uses orthotics, so it’s comfortable and lasts long.

If you find this type of insole too firm for your tastes, you can still use them to make your shoes smaller in any footwear you have.

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Return and Exchange

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You can opt to return your larger shoes and exchange them with the right size of the shoe. Some companies offer this type of privilege for a certain amount of time like 30 days from the date of purchase for example.

In some cases, it may not be possible to exchange them. That leaves you with a pair of shoes that you love but aren’t the right fit for your foot. It might end up sitting in your shoe closet while covered in dust because you can’t use it anytime soon.

Ask for Professional Help

Back when custom insoles and pads were not yet sold, you pay a visit to your local cobblers. They add padding to your shoes to make them fit better and be more comfortable. 

You can also ask to replace your shoe linings with insole padding, heel liners, tongue pads, or heel grips. And if nothing works out for you, you may want to look at professional shoe repair services. 

While skilled cobblers have seen a decline in demand in recent years, they are still around. They can quickly fix what ails you and any shoe-related dilemmas you have.

But, of course, you might want to prepare on shelling out some extra cash, as the rates have seen a hike. It pays to have the expertise when it comes to shoes.

Keep in mind that getting your shoes resoled can be a big investment. And you want to make sure that your new soles last long, so make sure to bring in a pair of newer shoes for the repair. This way, you’ll get the most wear possible out of both pairs. You can also be sure that the job’s done right by a professional.


You’ve heard the saying: “a shoe that fits is a shoe that’s in style”. In the end, we can’t do much about changing our feet, but we can help them look and feel great. 

The key to this is always buying the right shoe size for your foot. Shoes that are too tight or too large will not only be uncomfortable. Wearing bigger shoes will also make you look baggy and unprofessional!

But as we all know, nothing is perfect. And this goes for shoes and feet, too. Sometimes you may run into an issue with your shoe’s fit — they may be too big, or too small. You might just don’t have the right shoe size that’s available in the market.

Temporary fixes are a great way to make shoes fit better. It’s as simple as stuffing the toe box with a paper towel or cotton balls. And even extra fabrics will do but mind you, this can only last for hours or a day.

Shoe accessories are an excellent option too. If you invest in a few convenient accessories, you can reduce the possibility of injury. Buying the right accessories makes your shoes feel tighter. 

You might want to try stocking up on some shoe inserts or heel grips now!

You can always try to return and exchange your shoes. Although some have return policies, other companies don’t. So, you might want to consider those options above if this policy is not available for you.

As for professional help, it will be lasting when you experience problems with your shoes. They have access to all the tools and experience required to help you with footwear issues. 

Like how to make shoes smaller, tighter, or loosen up. The hefty sum will be worth it once you walk comfortably in well-fitted shoes.

So, try the methods I’ve shared with you above if you don’t know how to make shoes smaller. I’m sure one or two should fix it. And don’t forget to comment on which method worked for you below.

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