Are your shoes too small? How to know and what to do
Many people wear ill-fitting shoes. Studies have found that roughly 2/3 of the population use shoes that are too narrow. Ill-fitting shoes can cause a lot of problems with your feet. There are a couple things you should look out for when you’re purchasing. Additionally, there are some solutions that can help with the problem.
Many things can fit the definition of an ill-fitting or small shoe. The toe-box can be too small or not high enough. Sometimes the shoe is not not big enough length-wise and will be too tight. Maybe the shape of the shoe doesn’t conform to the foot well. Poorly fitting high heels can be a huge issues because the large amount of weight that they can place on the foot.
Everyone knows to buy shoes that fit. It sounds simple, but sometimes it’s not always easy. Here are some pointers on how to tell if you’re making a bad decision by purchasing them and some things you can do help.
The shoe industry has a standardized shoe size system. However, remember it only takes into account the length of your foot. Width is not examined. So if you have narrow or wide feet, you could end up with blisters or bunions.
Additionally, many shoes sell out quickly. Lets say you go into your favorite store and there’s a must-have shoe at a discounted price. However, the size is slightly off. Do you buy it? Additionally, shoe sizing is not always clear cut. Different brands and even different shoes fit differently.
How to Examine
To examine whether the shoes fit, start with the laces. If they only feel right if you tie them on extra tight, there’s a good chance that the shoes are too wide.
It should be easy to tell if your shoes are too tight. Your toes might be too cramped or the shoe will rub against your heels, causing discomfort. It might even lead to cuts or scars. You might not even be able to put them on. However, this might be the case where you have to “break in” the shoe (often with leather goods).
Another method is the finger test. It’s quite basic but is very accurate. While wearing the shoe, try putting a finger at the end. If you can fit more than one finger in the heel, the shoes are too long.
Next comes the walking test. Unfortunately, if you bought your shoes online, the only way you can do this is when your shoes arrive. If you buy your shoes from a web retailer like Zappos or Amazon, be sure to keep the box so you can make an easy return if you need to.
While walking, if your feet shift around too much, the shoes are too big. Seeing the shoes on your feet, it might be tempting to purchase them. But just imagine if you were walking around with the shoes for a couple hours. Wouldn’t it be uncomfortable with your feet moving around so much? You might even be at risk of falling.
Things You Can Do if Shoe is Too Small
Some of you are fashionistas and must get the shoe even if it doesn’t fit like a glove. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to make it fit better. Some of them might require additional materials but many of the methods can be done with everyday items.
- If your shoes are slightly too big, you can try adding heel grips to the back. This are quite cheap and you can find them at most shoe retailers. They might look funny at first but this can be a great strategy. Alternatively, gel-adhesive slings will keep things in place.
- “Break it in”. You can loosen up the shoe. As previously mentioned, this is a common issue with leather goods. Try wearing them for a few minutes and walk around the house. Each time you do this, make your trip longer. The shoes will soften up eventually. Before you do this though, make sure you are well rested. Tight leather shoes can be painful sometimes and you should take it easy. If they’re new, try to walk on carpeted surfaces so you can return them if you need to.
- Use thick socks and put on the shoes. Use a hair dryer on tight areas for half a minute. Use only medium heat, use rotating motion so you don’t burn out the leather. Leather moisturizer and conditioner can be used if you choose this method.
- This method is a bit creative and really works best on non-leather shoes. Take a zip-loc bag and fill it partially with clean water. Close it. Put the bag in the shoe near the tight spots. During the night after a couple of hours, the water will become ice and expand. This will stretch the shoes around the tight spots.
- Purchase an adjustable shoe tree. This is easy to do and can be used to expand both the width and length of the shoe. With plugs you can even target the issue areas with pinpointed accuracy. Be sure to rotate the handle of the tree every half day to maximize the stretching until you get the size you want.
- Shoe Sprays and Liquids. There is a huge amount of sprays and liquids available that will stretch shoe materials. This includes not only leather but fabric and vinyl as well. You can spray on the tight areas and then put on a wear the shoes. You can use an adjustable shoe stretcher. This device will assist you in getting your shoe the length and with you desire.
- Shoe Repair Professional Service
This is probably the most expensive option available. Depending on how busy the professional is, there might be a wait. But they’ll have the machinery and training to alter the shoe. Overtime, you can take your shoe back for repairs and make it last longer. Unfortunately, due to the modern economy, shoe repairmen are becoming more rare.
It’s important to not wear shoes that are too small. You risk pain and injury. If you have shoes that are not large enough, use a method to get the shoe to conform to your feet.