How to Make Shoes Smaller without Insoles – 7 Tricks to Shrink Your Shoes at Home

  • By: Edmond Clark

Imagine, all your new shoes magically fit your feet perfectly without any sizing issues. Wouldn’t it make your feet much more comfortable to walk anywhere you want?

But, in reality this is not 100% correct; am I right?

Most of the times, the new shoes that you order online; do not fit perfectly to your feet. This is a hard fact.

Either your shoes are bigger than your foot size or they are little smaller for your feet.

If your new shoes are shorter in terms of your foot size, width, and length, then you can make them bigger with few easy home methods.

But what about the shoes that are bigger than your foot size and width? Thanks to the internet; there are several methods you can find online to make your shoes smaller.

The problem is most of those methods involves inserting custom made insoles or ready made insoles in your new shoes. I know there are some people who are not comfortable to insert insoles inside their new footwear.

And let me assure you that you don’t have to just insert insoles in your shoes to make them smaller or to shrink them in size. There are some proven tricks you can implement at your home to make your shoes smaller without insoles.

All you have to do is check out my 7 tested tricks to make any shoes smaller without any need of using custom insoles or sockliner.

So, let me show you those easy methods…

7 Efficient Tips to Make Your Shoes Smaller Without Inserting Insoles

Method 1: Use Blow Dryer

This is one of the simplest and easiest tricks you can do at your home. Many people have successfully done it to shrink their shoes at least 1 size or half size down.

In case, your new shoes are loose at the back of your heels, you can implement this method to make them fit you properly.

Things You Will Need:

Cold Water

Blow Dryer

Leather Conditioner

Actual Procedure:

1. First, you will need to apply water carefully on the shoe parts where you are feeling more looseness. You can use water spray bottle to spray the water on your shoes properly

2. You can shrink those loose parts with the help of your blow dryer. Once you apply water carefully on the loose parts, now its time to use your blow dryer on your shoe.

3. Just remember to not use your blow dryer excessively on your new shoe because it may ruin the shoe material if you do it excessively.

4. Warm up the loose parts of your shoe with blow dryer for 2-3 minutes.

5. Now try your shoe to see whether it is a good fit or not. You can try it one more time if you feel to shrink it little more.

6. Once you get the desired fitting, apply a quality leather conditioner to increase the life span of your shoes. For detailed illustration of this method, kindly read this Wikihow guide.

Method 2: Insert Big Shoe Filler

Big shoe filler is a little product which works just like a shoe insert. It immensely helps in preventing heel slippage and making your big size shoes fit appropriately.

You can use it for both men’s and women’s shoes without any issues. You just have to insert them in the toe box of your shoe.

Things You Will Need:

A Big Shoe Filler (Shoolex is highly Recommended)

Actual Procedure:

1. This method can only be used for shoes with half size or at max one size larger than your actual foot size.

2. Buy a reliable big shoe filler from the market. I recommend to use Shoolex for this method.

3. Insert it inside your shoe in the toe box region perfectly. This product comes in four different sizes: small, medium, large and extra large. Extra large shoe fillers can be used to fit one size larger shoes comfortably.

4. These shoe fillers help you fill up the empty space in your shoe’s toe box. This results in properly fitting your feet inside your new footwear.

5. You can use this shoe filler for number of footwear types such as loafers, boots, sports shoes, heels, dress shoes, running shoes, etc.

Method 3: Apply Elastic Bands

This method requires that you have some sewing skills at your disposal. If you don’t have it, ask someone else who knows how to sew properly.

This trick involves the use of elastic bands that need to be stitched inside the heel of your new shoes. Once you sew elastic band, it automatically constricts the shoe material which results in tight fitting.

Things You Will Need:

1. A Set of Short Elastic Bands

2. Professional Sewing Kit containing a Needle & Thread

Actual Shrinking Process:

1. First get a professional sewing kit which includes different sets of needles and threads. Get the thread which matches the color of your shoe.

2. Then cut out a short elastic band from your purchased set. And now stretch it on the internal heel side of your new shoe.

3. In the same stretching position of the band, sew it on your internal heel side of the shoe with the help of your needle and thread.

4. If you find it difficult keeping it in stretched position, you can also use some safety pins for the same.

5. Once properly sewn up, release the band. Now the band will try to contract the heel material of your shoe. This will result in squeezing of your shoe size.

6. To shrink your shoe further, you can apply the first blow dryer method too.

Method 4: Use Ball of Foot Cushions to Reduce the Toe Box Area

This is another proven method which you can implement at your home with ease. You just need to buy few ball of foot cushions online for your shoes.

Most of the times, it is your toe box which is very large and that causes your shoes to become too big to fit.

You can reduce the internal space of your toe box with the help of metatarsal pads or ball of foot cushions available in the market.

Things You Will Need:

1. Ball of Foot Cushions (Use these recommended metatarsal pads)

2. And of course Your Big Sized Shoe

Actual Process:

1. This method is particularly effective for high heels and dressy shoes.

2. You will need one pair of metatarsal pads. Just peel off the protective cover from the pad and stick them on the insole of your shoe.

3. They are not insoles but they work much similar to sockliner.

4. They help efficiently in reducing the internal toe box space. Due to this, it prevents the sliding down of your foot and also avoids your heel slippage.

Method 5: Try out Wet Socks Method

This is yet another working method that you can try at your home.

You can wear wet socks and then wear your big sized shoes. After walking in your shoes with wet socks for few days, you will see some size shrinking in your shoes. 

Things You Will Need:

1. A Pair of Thick Socks

2. Hot Water

3. Blow Dryer

4. Your Big Sized Footwear

Actual Shrinking Procedure:

1. First you will need a pair of reliable thick socks.

2. Take hot water in a bowl. Now dip your socks into the water.

3. After making your socks wet with hot water, wear them on your feet.

4. Now wear your shoes after your socks and walk in them for few minutes.

5. Repeat this process for next 2-3 days till you get satisfactory results for yourself.

6. You can use blow dryer too for warming up the shoe areas where you need to shrink it down a bit.

7. This method is more efficient for leather and sheepskin shoes.

Method 6: Insert Paper Towel or Cotton Balls

Another great remedy to make your shoes fit comfortably is to insert a paper towel or cotton balls inside the toe box.

Just like a big shoe filler, you can use the cotton balls or paper towel or even toilet paper for this trick.

Things You Will Need:

1. A Paper Towel or Cotton Balls

2. Your Big Sized Shoe

Actual Process:

1. Get some paper towels or cotton balls from your local store or even from online store.

2. Now take your big size shoe and put some cotton balls or paper towel inside your shoe towards the toe box.

3. Just push them inside properly and then wear your shoes.

4. Now walk in your shoes for some time and if there still remains some gap, then insert more cotton balls or paper towels.

5. You can even use a toilet paper for this method. But they are not so durable as compared to a paper towel. So I recommend using either paper towels or cotton balls.

Method 7: Use Combo of Thick No Show Socks and Heel Liners

This is my favorite method to make any big sized footwear to fit comfortably for your feet. You can get some heel liners and a pair of thick no show socks for this method.

Things You Will Need:

1. A Pair of Thick No Show Socks (My favourite pair of socks is from Leotruny)

2. Good Quality Heel Liners

3. Your shoes of course

Actual Procedure

1. First get these two things: a. Heel liners, b. Pair of thick no show socks

2. Now take your big size shoes and stick heel liners to the inside of the shoe’s heel.

3. Make sure you stick the heel liners correctly so that they do not get loose once you start walking in your shoes.

4. Now wear a pair of thick no show socks. These socks will further help you to fit your shoes comfortably.

5. An interesting combo of thick socks and heel liners will definitely assist you in making your big shoes smaller and fit perfectly.


I have listed all my favourite tricks to make any footwear smaller in size as mentioned above. I hope these 7 methods will help you in making your shoes more comfortable to walk.

Even after trying out all these tips, you feel your shoes are not fitting properly; then I suggest paying a visit to your local shoe cobbler.

These professionals usually have the right tools and experience to deal with all types of shoes. For the right price, they will definitely help you in making your shoes fit properly to your feet.

If you want to make your smaller sized shoes bigger then I suggest checking out these simple 15 shoe stretching tricks.

Best of luck.

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