There’s lots of information about stretching your shoes if they’re too narrow for your feet. But what happens when it’s the other way around—when your feet are too narrow for your shoes?
Those with narrow feet can have difficulty finding shoes that fit comfortably. We’ve put together some methods to make wide shoes fit narrow feet so that you can minimize discomfort and increase your safety when wearing them.
How To Tell If Your Shoes Are Too Wide
How wide is too wide? If your shoe slips off your feet when it’s not laced up, that’s a sign of a too-wide shoe. It’s also too wide for your foot if the strips containing the eyelets overlap on top of your foot.
If you notice that your toes curl when you walk to keep your feet still inside your shoes, it’s also an indication that there’s too much space in your shoes. You might notice that your feet are moving side-to-side when you walk.
How to Make Wide Shoes Fit Narrow Feet
You can lace your shoes in a special way to tighten the fit of your foot. It’s quite easy to do once you know how.
Lace the shoelaces through the two holes furthest away from where you tie them. Run each end of the lace to the next eyelet on the same side, and from there, criss-cross them to the other side.
Then, crisscross them again, but skip an eyelet in between. This might look strange, but nobody’s going to notice, and it can significantly improve the fit of your too-wide shoes on narrow feet.
You might need to adjust it slightly depending on how many eyelets your shoes have, but the video below will give you a good idea of how it looks in practice.
Shrink The Upper
Depending on what the upper of your shoe is made of, you might be able to shrink the upper to fit better on your foot. For leather shoes, you can dab them with water on the areas you want to shrink and let them dry naturally, which should shrink them enough to create a tighter fit.
You can also place vinegar-soaked socks into each shoe and let them stand for a few hours. Alternatively, if they’re too wide in the heel, sew a piece of elastic into the heel, so it pulls tighter.
You can wet canvas shoes quite a bit with water and then dry them off using a hairdryer. Make sure you don’t concentrate the heat in one area for too long. Some people will recommend placing them in the tumble drier, but this can damage your shoes.
Wearing thick socks can help to fill up the gap inside your shoes and stop your feet from moving around in the shoes as you walk.
This doesn’t make any change to your shoes, so it’s very safe. But while it’s a great idea for winter shoes, it might be too warm for summer weather.
This idea may be unusual, but it can help you to fill up the spaces on either side of your feet. Heel pads are technically made to be placed in the heel to shorten the length of shoes, but if your shoes are too wide, you can also use them on the sides.
Depending on how wide your shoes are, you can use either one or two—one on the medial and one on the lateral side.
If the heel is too wide for your heel, you can try heel strips like these, which can take up some excess space both behind the heel and on either side.
If the midfoot is the part that’s too wide, you can stick one heel pad like these ones on either side of the midfoot to create a better fit. Or stick one on the inner side near the arch if the shoe doesn’t need two.
Buy Narrow Shoes
Some brands have specific “narrow” sizes. It’s rare to find wide sizes, but in some cases, you may be able to find shoes that have a narrower fit.
It’s also a good idea to do some research on shoe brands. Some have a naturally narrow fit, like Nike, which is a good option if you’re looking for sneakers or running shoes.
It may be more difficult to find narrow shoes if you’re looking for dress or work shoes.
A Carefully-Chosen Insole
Although insoles are usually designed to change the volume of a shoe and not its width, changing your insoles may help you fit your shoes better to your narrow feet.
It’s essential to choose an insole that provides the right support for your arch and protects your feet against any pain or discomfort from foot conditions you may have.
Best Insoles for Narrow Feet
Here are a few insoles we highly recommend for narrow feet. You should be able to order these over the counter or find them at a nearby pharmacy.
These insoles have a wide and deep heel cup, which will fit well into a shoe that’s a little too wide. It will still help to keep your own heel properly in place while providing excellent arch support, especially for high arches.
They can take up a bit of space under your feet, which means your foot sits a little higher up in the shoe. This can help the upper to close down more tightly on your foot when you lace your shoe, especially if you use the lacing technique above.
PowerStep Pinnacle Wide Fit
This insole is specifically designed for wide-fitting shoes. It’s also got neutral arch support, maximum cushioning, and can handle high impacts. The top cover has a good amount of texture, so your foot shouldn’t slide around very much on it.
Like the others, these insoles put your foot higher in the shoe, improving the fit of the upper. You can trim these insoles to fit inside your shoes easily.