How to Tell If Your Shoes are Too Big or Small & How to Solve them?

how to tell if shoes are too big or too smallDo you know how to express your opinion if your shoes are too big or too small? Shoe size only counts the length of your shoe. And the shoe-size number is numerical. It usually does not count the width and height of the shoe.

You know that you’re a size 11. But that’s not the whole story. You get confused when it comes to buying a new pair of shoes in the store at the same size. If you don’t check the toe box, you don’t know the boots’ width or height, your shoes will not be properly fit. Heel slip is another thing to consider. Many people ignore the initial discomfort while wearing shoes. So it is often tough to find out the correct size. If you buy your shoes online, you will face an even tougher situation.

How to tell if your shoes are too big or too small?

If your boots are too big, your feet will frequently slip while walking. You will also feel wiggly when you lift your feet.

Shoe room Trial

The easiest way to check your shoe size is to give them a trial in the showroom. You can walk or short run around the store to be sure if they fit you.

Check your shoelaces

If you try sneakers or dress shoes, notice your laces at the first look. If you tie your shoelaces tightly and fill still comfortable, they are likely to be extra wide for you.

Try finger test in the back of your heel

There is another way to check your shoe width. When you put on your dress shoes, put one finger just behind your heel. If your toes are still untouched with the end of the shoes, your shoes are likely to be too big for you. If your toes feel tight and you feel discomfort after putting that one finger behind your heel, your shoes will be too small for you. There will be less room in your shoes. To find the correct fit, the gap between your toes and shoe edge should not be more than 1 cm.

Check your shoes with a walk test

You can check your shoe size while walking. If your feet move back and forth while walking, the shoes are too long for you. If they move side by side while walking, the shoes are likely to be wide for you.

If your shoes are downsized in length but wide in size, you may face pain or injuries in your toes while walking.

If you feel your shoes heel slightly big, you can use heel grips to your back. It will give you extra cushioning and a snug fit.

Good fit shoes can provide you sufficient comfortability in your toe area. If your shoes fit your feet snugly, it will give you proper ankle support and prevent your feet from sliding.

But many people still feel stiff in their foot while wearing brand new boots, which have zero slip, particularly have stiff soles. You can use little heel slippage if you feel very stiff in your toe area.

The Health Consequences of the Wrong Boot Size

A wrong boot size can be dangerous. If you wear a pair of short boots, it can cause various health problems like bunions and blisters in toes.

If you wear too-big shoes, you will not get proper arch support. It’ll also cause inflammation, plantar fasciitis, etc.

What kind of Problems arises for too much slippage?

Now the question is, What kind of problems arises when your boot has too much heel slippage?

  • You can not tie your laces tightly. To avoid this, push back your heel and lace tightly.
  • The boots aren’t broken in. If your boots’ heel slippage is not severe, it will go away with time.
  • Your boots are too long for your feet. You can either return your boots or insert heel grips.
  • Your boots are too high. If you think it is a big problem, you can return it. The other solution is to insert a tongue pad to increase your feet’ height, which will be adjusted with boots.

What to look for when buying new shoes?

The Flex Point

Every boot has a common breakpoint where it bends. The breakpoint is at the end of the stitched toe box or your toes start point. Your boots must flex where your foot does. If your boots have the wrong flex point, your feet won’t be adjusted. As a result, your boots will slide and forth while walking. The toe box will also begin to pinch on your toes.

The Heel

You can also look at your heel while purchasing your shoes or boot. Do you need a heel slip? If you wear the right size shoes, your boot will not slip. Even then, you may need a little heel slip, which is like a quarter to half an inch. It is acceptable for well-made boots.


Width is the most underrated issue for most people. But in reality, it is most important. Many people start to wear a slightly tight boot, hoping to stretch them with time. But it is an entirely wrong concept. Most of the boots stretch out about only one millimeter, which is very minimal. You can not consider that as it won’t affect so much. Ultimately, your boots will not stretch out later. Tight boots will give your feet painful discomfort. So make sure the boots are correctly fitted and comfortable enough from the beginning.

Most manufacturer brand has designed their boots in different size and widths. You can choose boots size from narrow feet and wide feet beside the regular ones. There are many sizes available like AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE.

Toe box room

If your boot has some extra room in your toe box, let it be. Excessive toe box size will not create any problem if your boot flex points and heels are okay. But small toe boxes will create problems. Your toes need sufficient room in the toe box. A small toe box grips your toes so tight that your toes get immovable. As a result, your feet get swollen day by day. You cannot walk freely with a small toe box. Make sure the width of your thumb does fit between the tip and shoe edge.

Arch Support 

People with low arch need high arch support. If you have flat feet, you also need high arch support. Very few boots come with high arch support and if you need that, you can check it out in the showroom or online. Most boots have no arch support. In that case, you can use orthodontic insoles to mitigate that problem.

How Boots Should Fit?

Your feet are supposed to feel snug in your boots. Make sure it is not too tight. The heel is likely to slip a little for brand new boots and it decreases day by day.

Your toe box must have some extra room in the toe box so that you will stretch and curl your toe comfortably. Furthermore, if you run regularly, your toes should not touch at the end of the shoe. Running with small shoes can damage your toenails.

The balls of your feet must sit on the widest part of your boot as they’re the widest part of your feet.

What to Do If your shoes are too big?

The most basic thing you can do is replace it or return it or recycle it. However, not everyone can afford it. That’s why I will tell you some easy tricks to shorten the gap between your toe and toe box.

Wear Thick Socks

Wear thick socks while wearing boots. It will provide extra padding in your heels and toe areas. It will also fill the gap between your toes and the edge of the shoes. If you’re allergic to cotton, don’ try this. Your feet may bleed after wearing normal thick cotton socks for the first time. So we suggest you go for wool or nylon socks which are thick as well as comfortable.

Break in the Shoes

Break-in shoes are a good option. If you have no alternatives, you can try this. Walk with your shoes in your home. Once you get used to it, you can easily balance your shoes while walking. It will teach you how to prevent heel slippage. Before wearing oversized shoes, you have to check some minor things which will prevent you from danger. Make sure you tie your shoelaces tightly in a proper way. If you have strap shoes, make sure you can strap in.

Get Packing

Insert some soft tissues at the end of your toe box. Insert it until the gap is at a minimal level. Make sure you can move your toes easily inside the boot. You can use toilet paper, thin rag, or anything you feel comfortable instead of tissues. It works great on flat  and closed-toe shoes. I advise you not to use it on running or athletic shoes.

Use Insoles

If you feel your shoes’ height is too high, You can use insoles to adjust the height. It’s a kind of soft pad which provides cushioning support inside your shoes. It also reduces discomfort. If you decide to use insoles, I will recommend you to use silicone insoles. It enhances comfortability as well as removes extra pressure from your feet.


Some people don’t feel comfortable in full insoles. If you are one of them, you can use footpads. But what is it and how it helps? Well, Foot Pads are one kind of small pads that sit under the balls of your feet. They won’t give equal support like insoles, but provides friction and gives you good support. It is good to use in slightly large shoes.

Heel Strips

You can use the heel strips to the back of your heels. Though the name is heel strips, you can also use them around your toes or your feet’ balls. It helps to prevent the injury caused by rubbing against your heel.

Final Words

Of course, it is always the best option to choose the boots that fit you quite well. However, you have no reason to be disappointed if your boots are not the right size for you. I have discussed many ways for you on how to fit your boots properly. You can try any one of them which is perfect for you. You just need to do extensive research before applying any method.

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