How to Tell If Your Shoes Fit

Woman trying on different pairs of shoes

Fit Fixes for Shoes That Are Too Big or Too Small

If you’ve ever bought a pair of shoes that felt too big or tighter than normal, you’re not alone. A survey done by the British College of Podiatry found that about half of all women buy shoes that don’t fit. A lot of women have lost faith in shoe sizing and finding the right fit can feel like a compromise.

At Foot Petals®, we believe you should never have to give up comfort for style. Our shoe cushions and inserts help fix your fit issues in all of your favorite pairs, both new and well-loved. Here is our quick guide on how to make shoes that are too big fit better with Foot Petals.

Woman placing black back of heel cushion into blue heel

Does the shoe fit?

There are many reasons you might have a hard time finding shoes that fit. For one, not all brands follow the same sizing specifications especially when you’re shopping online for shoes, thrifting vintage pairs, or buying from overseas retailers.

Sizing can also vary by the shoe type. A good example of this is when you’re a size 8 in your running shoes, but for some reason you need a size 8.5 or a 9 in ankle boots. These numerical sizes only account for the length of your feet. A wide shoe or a shoe made for narrow feet might do you better justice.

Your feet also change in size throughout your adult life for several reasons like weight fluctuations, getting older, and pregnancy. Many expecting mothers have aching feet and might go up a size or two when adding shoes to their maternity wardrobe.

How to Tell Your Shoes Fit

The last thing you want to do is buy a pair of cute shoes in the wrong size just to never wear them or return yet another dream pair. Shoe love shouldn’t be so fragile, so here are a few quick tips on how to tell if your shoes fit:

  • You can wiggle your toes slightly without any cramping.
  • Your feet do not slide back and forth in the shoe when walking.
  • Your shoes feel snug and do not squeeze your ankles or the tops of your feet.
  • Your shoes have proper support from your ankles to the balls of your feet with no chaffing or blisters.

Not all feet are the same size. Feet that are two different sizes can make shopping for shoes difficult. Thankfully, most size differences are subtle enough you can fill the extra space in with shoe cushions like ¾ inserts or back of heel cushions. Just be sure to opt for a pair that is the bigger size.

Woman placing ¾ insert cushion into high heels

What You Can Do

Foot Petals shoe cushions and inserts are the best way to make shoes that are too big fit better, eliminating problems like heel slipping, feet sliding, and scrunched toes. They’re also discreet, so they won’t mess with your style.

For the perfect fit in all your shoes, check out our full guide on Tips for the Perfect Fit! 

How to Tell if Shoes are Too Big

If your feet move too much inside your shoes, you have to drag them as you walk, or your toes squeeze and curl just to lift your shoes up, then your shoes are too big. Slippery straps, shoelaces that require force to tighten, and your heels popping out of your flats could mean your shoes are too wide or too long.

One quick way to tell if your shoes fit is to place your foot in the shoe, push your toes forward into the toe box, and slide one finger behind your heel. You shouldn’t be able to fit more than a single finger. If your finger doesn’t fit in at all, your shoes may be too small.

Woman testing if heels fit by placing finger between the heel and back of the shoe

Here are our best products and inserts for shoes that are too big:

  • Back of Heel Cushions: Foot Petals back of heel cushions fill the gap between your heel and the back of the shoe with a soft cushion for a better fit. These heel inserts for shoes that are too big keep heels from slipping in and out of shoes, reducing blisters and ankle chaff.
  • 3/4 Insert Cushions: For shoes too big, inserts like our ¾ insert cushions fill in space and offer all-day comfort, keeping your feet from sliding and preventing calluses.
  • Ball of Foot Cushions: Our ball of foot cushions prevent sliding in heels, sandals, slides, and boots to reduce ball of foot pain, prevent calluses, and absorb shock while making your shoes fit better.
  • Strap Cushions: Keep straps from falling off the back of your heel with trimmable strap cushions the reduce rubbing and friction for a snug fit in slingbacks, wedges, and sandals.
  • Blister Preventer Balm: When you're breaking in new shoes, our anti-friction blister balm creates an invisible barrier between your skin and your shoes to reduce rubbing and stop irritation or blisters from forming.

Woman placing back of heel cushion into black high heel 

How to Tell if Shoes are Too Small

You will know if your shoes are too small if your toes are painfully cramped tight into the toe box or you can barely squeeze your feet into the pair. Do not force your heel into a tight pair of pumps. If the shoes feel a little too stiff, some materials like leather heels will relax and stretch overtime.

Sometimes, shoes that seem small might just have a few trouble spots like an upper that presses down on the tops of your feet or a slightly shortened toe box. Foot Petals spot cushions help fix and soften trouble spots that create an awkward fit by reducing rubbing and preventing calluses or blisters. Always go a half or full size up if you think your shoes may be too small.

Beige shoe cushion underneath the upper of a sandal

What happens when you wear shoes that don’t fit?

Wearing ill-fitting shoes is the cause of a lot of common foot problems. It can also make existing foot pain worse. Shoes too big create excess movement and friction inside the shoe while shoes too small can alter the shape of your feet in an unhealthy way. Wearing shoes that don’t fit can lead to:

  • Calluses, blisters, and ankle chaffing from excess friction or rubbing in the shoe.
  • Toe deformities like bunions, hammertoes, and crossover toes or even ingrown toenails from tight toe boxes.
  • Ball of foot pain from sliding forward or having too much pressure on the forefoot.
  • Changes in how you walk which can cause misalignment of your feet, ankles, and knees and may even cause back pain.
  • Corns, which are calluses on your toes from excess pressure.
  • Problems with stability like falling or slipping because you have less control over your gait.
  • Poor performance for athletes due to uncomfortable shoes, loss of control, and improperly supported feet.

Your shoes are meant to support your feet, not hurt them, and yes, this includes those 5-inch stilettos or those strappy heels. Thankfully, Foot Petals has the solution for the most common shoe problems including fit fixes like cushioned inserts for shoes that are too big.

Foot Petals Inserts Make Shoes Fit Better & More Comfortably

When you have issues with how your shoes fit or problem areas that need addressed, Foot Petals inserts and cushions are the easiest, most stylish, and discrete solutions. Why worry about the little things? Fix your fit and fall back in love with all the shoes you wear with Foot Petals.


Schneider, H. (2022, November 15). Yes, Your Feet Can Change Over Time—Here’s How To Tell If You Need a New Shoe Size. Well+Good.

Friedman, M. (2014, July 18) You're Probably Wearing the Wrong Shoe Size. Elle.