How to Tell if Shoes are Too Big

Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly isn’t comfortable. Some people get the wrong impression and think that bigger shoes are comfier. This is not true, as larger shoes will quickly start to cause pain.

So, how can you tell if your shoes are too big? Take a walk in them. Your shoe should be snug around your foot, with no unnecessary wiggle room. If you’re curling your toes to lift it or dragging it along behind you, it’s not fitting correctly.


The reason why it’s so hard to find the right pair of shoes is that shoe sizes don’t tell you height and width. Just the length. So while you might measure your feet and think they’re a size 9, you could be a size 10.5 or 11. All of which can cause problems when shopping for shoes online.

It’s important to do your research before purchasing shoes especially online. Also, consider checking out shoe size chart guides. These will help you find the perfect size shoe for you. 

 Anyway, here are some signs on how to tell if shoes are too big:

Method 1: Precise Shoe Measurement

A good foot measurement is essential for buying a great pair of shoes as it allows you to accurately assess the size range that you need to be within. By having the right size, your shoes will fit and perform optimally.

Check Shoe Size

Here’s my first tip on how to tell if shoes are too big.

How do you know the size of the shoes? Check its label. It is usually on the inside of the shoe, often near the sole, near the tongue, or at the heel.

how to tell if shoes are too big
How To Read Tags Inside Nike / Jordan Sneakers by Hes Kicks (YouTube)

If you’re having problems determining the width, here’s a quick hack. You can place your foot on a piece of paper and trace around it with a pen or pencil; then measure the line. 

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How to Measure Your Foot Size at Home [Perfect Width & Length 2021]
by Michigan Foot Doctors (YouTube)

For women’s sizes, especially on how to tell if your dress shoes are too big. You can check if the distance between your pinkie toe and your heart is eight inches or less, you have narrow feet.

Stop guessing your shoe size! You can also use a foot measuring device. By taking precise measurements of your feet as well as noting their width and length, this device gives you a more accurate fit than traditional methods of shoe measurement. 

The device is available for purchase for less than $25, and it comes in one-size-fits-all sizes to suit children, women, and men. On how to tell if shoes are too big, that should help you.

Using your index Finger

Some people use their index fingers to check if shoes fit properly or not, but you can use that same technique to see if a shoe is too big for your foot.

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You have to slide your finger into the shoe when you try it on. If you can put in two or three fingers without any resistance, then the shoe is too big.

Method 2: Style Preference

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There are many different kinds of shoes in the world. There are tennis shoes, running shoes, and hiking shoes, even special types of footwear for specific kinds of dancing. 

Do your feet feel more comfortable in some kinds of shoes than others? You should pick the type that feels best to your feet!

Method 3: Stretch your Feet

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Another tip on how to tell if shoes are too big is to try stretching your toes up to the front of the shoe. If you can reach the front of the shoe, it means it’s too big. For a snug fit, you need a shoe that’s just large enough for you to wiggle just your toes inside.

After stretching, to avoid buying an ill-fitting pair of shoes, another way is to check the tip of your thumb against the tip of the shoe’s toe. If there’s enough space for your thumb to fit inside the shoe, it’s a sign that you have a well-fitting pair.

Method 4: Walk Around with Shoes

A common mistake that buyers make is to push through purchase after finding a seemingly perfect shoe. Remember, though, that even the best-looking shoe can be terrible if it doesn’t fit properly. 

Here’s another tip on how to tell if shoes are too big.

Before checking out, walk around and get a feel for the shoe — does it feel too loose or too tight in any way? Never hesitate to try on a size bigger or smaller to ensure a proper fit.

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Things you might want to consider:


To ensure a happy experience, it’s best to buy comfortable shoes. You should be able to comfortably move your toes when you try them on. Your foot shouldn’t slide around inside the shoe, but it also shouldn’t have so much room that it touches the sides of your foot either. The sole should not rub against your heel.

When it comes to running shoes, fit goes beyond the size of your feet. Heel-to-toe drop, toe box roominess, and arch support all factor into a shoe’s comfort and your risk for injury.

The comfort of a shoe is its most important feature. You’re unlikely to wear a pair of shoes you don’t find comfortable, so it’s best to shop for shoes after trying them on in the store.


When buying closed shoes you should make sure there is enough space for your toes to wiggle. On how to tell if your dress shoes are too big like high heel shoes, your longest toe should stay next to the shoe not pressed against the leather. 

To check if your pair of tennis shoes, hiking shoes, running shoes, or any athletic shoes fit properly, put on your favorite pair of socks. Then push your foot forward into the shoe, while at the same time pushing down the back of the shoe with your other hand.

A well-fitting shoe helps you walk with comfort and ease.

Loose On Your Foot

So it’s also important to know how to tell if your athletic shoes are too big. Why?

When you wear shoes that are too big, you end up tripping more often on uneven surfaces, making a sound like a kicked can. The embarrassment! The inconvenience! Keep yourself safe and hassle-free with the right pair of shoes for your feet.

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If you cannot wear shoes a size larger than yours, you will have to try to hold your shoes from the inside with your toes. This may result in blisters on the toes or back pain. Therefore, never wear bigger shoes!

By the way, speaking of blisters, it often happens when shoes rub the back of your ankle. We also did a post on how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle. You might want to check that out just in case.

Easy to Stumble

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If you are wearing shoes that are too big, you will end up stumbling with every step. If this happens to you, be sure that you switch out those shoes for some that fit your feet. While walking in shoes too big for your feet may cause slippage too, it might turn into a significant injury.

If you wear bigger shoes to climb the stairs, you may put your ankle back in a non-stop rubbing with the shoe neck. This may cause skin wounds or even watery corns.

If you wear shoes that fit, you can walk without worrying about slipping on irregular surfaces and falling. It is especially dangerous for people with balance issues. Especially while climbing steep stairs.

Footwear Hurts Foot

Another sign to tell your shoes are too big is it creates pressure points — areas where your toes, heel, or foot, in general, may pinch. 

Furthermore, the rubbing of the shoe against your skin can cause burning or blisters. This is also how to tell if tennis shoes are too big.

Method 5: Lace It up Overlapping Laces

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Here’s another tip on how to tell if shoes are too big!

When lacing your shoes, you can tell that your shoes are too big if you have to continuously pull the laces to get them tight enough. When your foot slides or moves around in your shoe, it is likely too wide.

Method 6: Pay Attention to Heels

When you take a look at the heel of the shoe, you’ll see that it should fit nicely into the back of your foot; if it does not, then you need to remove a half size.

The shoes with the ideal fit won’t fall off. With no pressure and no risk of the heel falling out, you’re free to walk as you please — hands-free.

Method 7: Shoes Wider Than Feet 

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Even with the same length measurements as your foot, if the shoes are more comprehensive than the feet, it will be very difficult for you to wear them. The reason is that the shoes are wider than the feet.

To determine whether your shoe is wider, you can check if the boot is sliding side to side when you walk or stand. Because heels slide towards the outer side of a shoe and put on the outside. You’ll find that there’s more space on the outer side of the shoe than the inner side.

We all have different shaped feet, but for a shoe to fit well, it needs to be snug. To check out if a pair is a right fit, we recommend placing the shoe on your foot and pressing down on the toe box (the end of your shoe). The toe box should not give too much — if that’s the case, then this might not be the right size for you.

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Use the same process you do when trying on dress shoes: sit down and slide the shoe onto your foot. If you can put your toes inside the toe box without forcing them, but still feel that there’s enough room for your feet to fit comfortably, then it’s a good shoe.

And if you’re wondering how to tell if hiking shoes are too big, what we’ve just discussed can also help you in that matter.

Method 8: Shoe Wrinkles

Shoes that are too big aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re ugly. Whichever way you bend your foot when walking or running, it makes an imprint. 

In bigger shoes, you can see wrinkles. In other words, if a shoe fits well, you won’t be able to notice any ugly lines on the surface. That’s how to tell if shoes are too big.

Method 9: Stretch Factor

Even when you think you’ve made the best choice, things can still go wrong. For instance, your running shoes could be perfectly fine for a few weeks. 

You did what you needed to do, and they felt comfortable during your runs. But then one day you noticed that they had become loose. It was then that you will realize that the stretch factor was a problem.

How to Tell if Running Shoes are Too Big

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Check these additional signs on how to tell if running shoes are too big.

1. When you’re walking or running uphill, your heel might slip out of the shoe — requiring you to adjust your gait while you continue to run. This is dangerous because it can cause sprained ankles.

2. You’ve just finished a long run, and your ankles, calves, and arches are feeling it. You’re probably feeling the burn in your Achilles tendon as well. Improper flex point alignment can lead to Plantar Fasciitis, Arch Pain, Achilles-Tendon Strain, and more. 

We recommend using the Brannock Device, you can set your own foot’s flex point. You can also align it with a shoe’s midsole to prevent injury and improve your gait and stride.

3. Numbed or Strained Top Your Foot

The fit on a shoe is key. The upper material shouldn’t be baggy and the laces should create a continuous knot that doesn’t allow the shoe to shift while you’re running.

4. If you’re running and suddenly experience a sharp pain in your foot that won’t go away. Then you’ve probably developed a stress fracture due to shoes that are too big. 

Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone that make up your skeleton. They are mostly caused by overuse or too much pressure on a bone that the body can’t handle. So that’s also how to tell if shoes are too big.


Hopefully, you enjoyed reading the different methods available that allow you to know if your shoe is too big. You can now verify the size of a shoe before buying with confidence.

Everyone knows the importance of wearing shoes that fit well. This is true for tennis shoes, running shoes, and even sandals. If you wear a shoe that’s too big, your foot has to work harder and your posture changes. The result? You can’t move as fast and look less professional in your dress shoes.

I hope this article was informative and useful for you. Please don’t hesitate to comment down below if there’s anything else I can help you with. And share the article with your friends and family, so everybody can learn how to tell if shoes are too big.