2 Hacks for Better Fitting Shoes

tips and tricks for shoes that are too big
A few favorites, clockwise from top left: DV sandals 5.5, Freedom Moses sandals, M.Gemi sneakers 35 (use JEAN60 for $60 off), Sam Edelman loafers 5.5, Rothy’s flats 5.5, Everlane sneakers 5

It’s been a minute since I’ve shared a style hack! The other day, a friend was over and fascinated by the little “adjustments” inside my various shoes. She wanted the links ASAP for use inside her own shoes, which made me realize I hadn’t yet shared these tips on the blog! Both of these hacks are super simple fixes that I’ve relied on to make several pairs of shoes more comfortable and wearable.

WHBM jeans 24 petite (love! see here), A+F top xxs, Edited Pieces belt xxs + featherweight hoops (restocked)

An issue that plagues most of my sneakers and booties is that the sides come up too high and rub painfully against the bottom of my ankle bone. I started using this hack years ago, but never shared it since I thought it was just an odd quirk of my own feet!

heel lifts for small shoes
1. The Problem: Shoes rub against the ankles

The Fix: Heel lifts

These were originally designed for orthopedic use, but they also work perfectly for making shoes that rub against the ankles more comfortable! I have the AdjustaLift brand in size Small, and also have these 3.3cm / 1.3″ tall inserts when i need a much higher lift. While there are many options to choose from, it was a little tricky to find ones narrow enough to fit inside a size 5 shoe, but these two brands worked for me!

Another common issue for me: I had two very different pairs of shoes that fit too wide and loose. With the Freedom Moses slide sandals, the straps were too wide and my feet kept slipping out (I should’ve sized down to a 4/5). With the bedazzled mules, the middle strap was soo uncomfortable and I later realized it was due to continuous rubbing against the top of my foot. Fix # 2 made these more snug and eliminated most of the rubbing!

fashion tape for wide shoes
2. The Problem: Shoes or straps are too wide

The Fix: Foam tape on the inside

This is the same tape I use for making my hats fit smaller! The lightweight foam is adhesive on one side and provides just enough cushioning to fill in the extra space. These foam pieces are available as pre-cut strips or a roll. NOTE: these come in different thicknesses depending on how much space / how much of a gap you’re trying to fill in.

Do you have any shoes in need of these hacks! Let me know if you give them a try!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. Tuyet wrote:

    Hi Jean!

    I was wondering in the spirit of shoes, do you have any good recommendations for no show socks for loafers and ballet flats that won’t show and also won’t SLIDE?? The majority of the ones I’ve gotten are either comfortable and show or don’t show and are uncomfortable 🙁 Thanks!

    Posted 9.29.22 Reply
    • Sophia wrote:

      I highly recommend Ondo socks! They’re the only ones that work for me!

      Posted 10.2.22 Reply
  2. Wendy wrote:

    Love these! Do you think the lists you linked would fit in a Size 4?

    Posted 5.27.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Wendy, I think they should work for a size 4 shoe but the product page includes the dimensions of the lifts so you could do a quick measure to double check!

      Posted 5.31.22 Reply
  3. Belle wrote:

    Hi Jean! Do you think the foam tape would help for Castaner espadrille heels? I have the same as you, but find that my toe area/top of foot tends to hurt and I can’t wear them for long

    Posted 5.5.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I can’t say from personal experience ,but perhaps worth a try!

      Posted 5.6.22 Reply
  4. April Barnes wrote:

    Thanks Jean!
    Yes! This has always been a problem, and inserts have always helped. I love the heel lift idea – I’m going to try it on a new pair of booties that rub my ankle. Thanks so much for another helpful post!

    Posted 4.29.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I hope it works well for you, April!

      Posted 5.2.22 Reply
  5. Kathy wrote:

    Jean, for the foam tape strips do you use these in the heel for loose fitting shoes? If so, what size thickness of the strips do you use, 0.12” or 0.2”? Thank you and love your blog!

    Posted 4.29.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Kathy, thank you for your note! I have the 0.2 thicker ones but you should order based on how much room you’re looking to fill!

      Posted 5.2.22 Reply
  6. Vicky wrote:

    Hi! Which veja sneakers are those?

    Posted 4.29.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Vicky, these are the Esplar style. If you’re new to the brand a friend has the Campo style and she mentioned that she finds them quite comfortable!

      Posted 5.2.22 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    I’ve found your foam recommendation so helpful for straps that slide off! Made a pair of shoes I had perfect. Need to try the heel lifts next, I have that issue with my Vejas as well

    Posted 4.29.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      So glad you’ve found this helpful!!

      Posted 5.2.22 Reply
  8. Sara wrote:

    Do you have any tips for preventing mules/backless shoes from slipping off when you’re walking? I am dying to wear my mules, but they keep falling off when I walk! 🙁

    Posted 4.28.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Sara, this is the tip I use for mine, by making them fit snugger inside they stay on better!

      Posted 5.2.22 Reply
    • Gold Xiong wrote:

      Maybe try inserts meant for the ball of your feet to make the mules more snug.

      Posted 9.1.22 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?