How To Stop Shoes From Rubbing The Top Of Your Foot

Chafing on the top of the foot can be painful and may even affect daily activities like walking, going to the store, or exercising.

Is this happening to you? Wondering how to stop shoes from rubbing the top of your foot?

We’ve got 5 tips and 4 products that can help reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.

Tips to Stop Shoes from Rubbing the Top of Your Foot

1. Try On New Shoes at the Right Time

Wait until the evening if you’re going to buy a new pair of shoes. Your feet will swell by up to half a size during the course of the day.

This will help you get a better fit, and your new shoes won’t suddenly be too tight by the afternoon when you start wearing them.

If you wear socks with all your shoes, then make sure that you wear a similar thickness to what you wear daily. This will prevent you from losing available space in your shoes when your feet swell during the course of the day.

You’ll also find that there won’t be any added tightness that can cause your foot to rub against the inside of the shoe.

Always try on both shoes. Most people have one foot that is either slightly wider or longer than the other.

If you only try on one shoe, you may find that it fits well. But the other shoe may rub against the back of your heel, or around your forefoot. There’s no guarantee that both shoes will fit the same.

2. Use Good Insoles

A well-fitted pair of insoles will prevent friction and stop the shoe from rubbing against the top of your foot.

Always use the size guide, and make sure that the arch support is adequate for your foot shape if you’re getting a pair of pre-made orthotics. The insole should also fit the shape of your shoe. Keep in mind that not all insoles are trimmable to fit.

Insoles take up space inside the shoe, and if it doesn’t fit properly it can lead to your shoe rubbing against your ankle, Achilles tendon, and toes.

You can also end up with a tight-fitting shoe that creates pressure points on the top or sides of your feet, which will be more susceptible to friction.

3. Check for Rough Edges

Put your hand inside the shoe and feel around for any seams, rough edges, or stitching that may have come out. These rough edges can rub or irritate your skin when you wear the shoe.

If you do find rough edges, you can sew moleskin pads to cover them. The pads will provide more protection for feet from friction. They’re soft, and once they’re sewn in, they won’t move around in the shoe like a bandaid would.

Some shoes have uppers that are designed to mold to the shape of your foot and provide more structure. Depending on the shape of your foot, you may find that the upper doesn’t contour fully to your foot, to start with.

Sometimes this can leave edges that cause friction where they might not normally. Thankfully, this can be easily fixed.

4. Stretch Shoes

While it’s best to get a shoe that fits right, there will be times where you may need to stretch the shoes.

Here are a few tips on how you can stretch your shoes safely:

Use Oats

Your breakfast oats will work well to stretch boots that could be too tight on the top of your foot.

Take a resealable bag and fill it with dry oats. Add just enough water to cover the oats, then seal the bag and place it inside the shoe. Make sure to work the bag down into the toe box.

Leave the bag in the shoes overnight. As the oats absorb the water, they’ll start to expand in your shoes, and this will help to stretch the shoe.

In the morning, remove the oats, and try your shoes on. Repeat the process the following night if the shoes haven’t stretched enough.

Microwaving Synthetics Shoes

A little bit of heat can go a long way to stretching and making your shoes more comfortable.

If your shoes are made of canvas or synthetic materials, then you heat them in a microwave to stretch them. Make sure that the shoes don’t have any metal, including the eyelets. If they do, you’ll need to find an alternative heating method.

Make sure that you’re wearing a thick pair of socks. Place the shoes in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, take the shoes out of the microwave, and put them on.

Then walk around the room while they’re still warm—don’t put hot shoes on your feet—as this will help to stretch them. As they cool down, pay attention to how they feel on your feet.

If they’re still a bit tight, repeat the process until the shoes fit comfortably.

Wet Newspaper

Take a few newspaper sheets and crumple them into a ball. You can dampen the newspaper balls with either water or a shoe-stretching liquid for better results.

Then stuff the balls of paper into the toe box of the shoe, and continue adding balls of wet newspaper until your shoe is full. As the paper dries, it will harden and expand, stretching the shoe.

Freeze With Water

Take two sealable freezer bags and fill them halfway with water. This will stretch the toe and instep area. If you want to stretch the entire shoe, then fill the bag ⅓ of the way with water.

Then place the bags of water inside your shoes, making sure to slide the bags down into the toe of the shoe.

Once the bags are inside the shoe, and in the area where the shoe is snug, place the shoes with the bags of water into the freezer. As the water freezes into ice, it will expand, stretching the top and sides of the shoes out.

For the best results, leave your shoes with the bags of water in the freezer for 4 to 8 hours.

5. Home Remedies for Pain Relief

Fortunately, there are a few home remedies that you can use to alleviate the pain caused by shoe rubbing against your foot.

You can apply aloe vera gel to the affected area. Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce swelling and skin irritation. It will also hydrate the skin and promote healing.

If you don’t have aloe vera in the house, then you can apply some honey to the irritated skin. Honey has antiseptic, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties that help to speed up your skin’s healing processes.

Honey will soften the skin layers and reduce the inflammation of the irritated skin.

You can also use petroleum jelly to soothe irritated skin on the top of your foot. Petroleum jelly will prevent your skin from losing moisture while providing a protective barrier that allows your skin to heal.

Products to Prevent Shoes from Rubbing the Top of Foot

Tongue Protection

1. Pedag Supra Tongue Pads

These nifty little pads add cushioning to the top of the foot. You simply stick them to the inside of the tongue of the shoe, and it protects the top of the foot effectively from your shoe or shoelaces rubbing on it.

You can choose from two different sizes to suit your needs. The pad is covered in soft suede, which provides comfort against the skin or against the sock. The padding is made from memory foam, which effectively cushions the top of the foot and reduces pressure from the laces.

Peel off the cover on the adhesive and press them against the tongue of your shoe. As well as providing cushioning for the top of your foot, they also fill the space if your shoes are slightly too high, for example, if you have low arches.

You won’t be able to reuse these pads once you’ve removed them from beneath the tongue of your shoe. Although, they should last there for a long time.


  • Soft suede for added comfort
  • Memory foam cushioning
  • Self-adhesive
  • Available in two sizes


  • They are not reusable once you have removed them from the shoe

Blister Protection

2. 2Toms SportShield

This handy roll-on provides effective protection against chafing by creating a friction-free barrier between the skin and clothing or shoes. It can be used in a variety of places on the body, including on the top of the foot to prevent rubbing.

Take note that it is a silicone-based product, so those who have silicone or latex allergies will not be able to use it. It is unscented and contains no dyes, so those with sensitive skin who aren’t allergic to silicone should be able to wear them.

One application lasts up to 24 hours, and it’s waterproof, sweat-proof, heat-proof, and non-staining. You can remove it at the end of the day using soap and water or wet wipes.

This easy-to-use roll-on is suitable for both men and women and is small enough to slip into a bag to take anywhere with you. It shouldn’t hurt or sting when applied to already chafed areas, but it’s advised not to apply it to broken skin.


  • Roll-on applicator
  • Reduces friction and hotspots
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Fragrance and dye-free


  • Not suitable for those with a silicone allergy

Padded Socks

3. Nuanchu Protection Socks

Padded socks are a helpful alternative to other products to prevent chafing on the top of your foot.

These socks are a unisex, open-toed design, created specifically to add extra cushioning in the areas you need it most.

A large gel pad on the top of the foot offers protection against pressure, hotspots, and rubbing. There’s also one on the heel, for shock absorption and extra comfort.

These pads are non-toxic and heat-resistant, so you should be able to wear these socks for a long time before needing to replace them.

The exterior part of the sock is made from form-fitting nylon, which is stretchable and wicks away moisture. There’s also a light compression to these socks, which can help to stimulate circulation and heal the areas that may already be chafed.


  • Unisex design
  • Stretchable and moisture-wicking fabric
  • Gel cushioning pads
  • Gentle compression


  • Some may feel that the open-toed design is uncomfortable

Shoe Stretcher

4. FootFitter Heavy Duty Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher

If you would prefer a more permanent solution, you can stretch your shoes to allow for more space between your shoe and foot. This shoe stretcher is designed to work on both the left and right shoes.

It’s made from tough, smooth beechwood and steel. It consists of two sections—a heel block and a toe section. You just insert it into your shoe and adjust it to widen and stretch the shoes.

You’ll also get 3 metal plugs when you buy this shoe stretcher. You can insert these into the holes on the stretcher to add some extra stretch to any part of the shoe.

This is highly effective for things like bunions and corns, so you can make some extra space in your shoe where you need it most.

The manufacturer recommends buying the smaller size if you are in-between sizes.


  • Made from sturdy beechwood
  • Stretches width and length
  • Includes 3 spot relief plugs
  • Compatible with both right and left shoes


  • It may be difficult to insert the stretcher into your shoe