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The Right Way to Tell If Your Shoes are Too Big

Poorly fitting shoes have always been a big no for me. If I can tell that a pair I love is too big to accommodate my feet, I’m seriously not taking it home.

I don’t want to suffer from blisters, bunions and arch pain. And don’t even get me started on the risk of falling because of poor support.

I want good shoes, shoes that fit right straight out of the box. I don’t want to assume that I’ll grow into big shoes someday because, if I’m being honest, I’ve no idea if my feet will ever grow beyond their apparent size.

And look:

I know I’m not the only one who has felt betrayed and lost trust in shoe sizing. So before you conclude that a pair or dress shoes or sneakers is no longer as fit as you expected, it’s important to learn how to tell if shoes are too big in the first place.

How Do You Know if Your Shoes are Too Big?

 Apart from slipping your fingers to check on the gap between the heel of your feet and the shoes, below are some useful tactics that you can use to determine if a pair of shoes is just too big for you.

 1. Check the Shoes for Signs of Wrinkles

Wrinkles are quite common on leather shoes, and usually the reason for their appearance is the footwear being too big to fit.

If there are gaps between your feet and the edge of your shoes, the pair will bend and cause wrinkles on the upper. These marks don’t just lower the lifespan of a footwear; they can also make an overall outfit feel somewhat out of place.

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While there are many ways to keep shoes from creasing, a reasonable approach is to choose footwear that runs true to size. After all, you don’t want to spoil your look with a pair of shoes covered with ugly marks.

2. Wear the Shoes to Determine their Comfort

Footwear experts recommend trying shoes out before actually buying them, and for good reasons.

First, trying shoes allow you to determine whether they fit right. This is your opportunity to check if there’s a space between your longest toes and the shoes.

A space between is a sign that you’ve picked an oversize pair of shoes and you therefore have to look for a different pair instead.

Again, if your finger fit easily when you slip it between your heel and the shoes, probably you’re interested in a pair of shoes that will be too big to use for walking and/or running.

Second, trying the shoes let you determine if they’re comfortable enough for your feet. This is where you check such factors as cushioning, breathability, traction, grip, and stability.

3. Walk Around in the Shoes to Tell if they’re Too Big

Tying the shoes to see if they fit is a good first step to tell if they’re too big. But it doesn’t always have to end there.

Even if you feel like the pair fits fine when seated or standing, it’s not as simple to figure out if they fit perfectly. As such, you should take this even further by walking around in the shoes to determine if they’re a good fit and comfortable enough for your feet.

Watch the movement of your feet and pay close attention to any sort of discomfort as you walk in the shoes.

If your feet slide forward and backward as you walk, chances are the pair is too big to accommodate them.

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4. Do the Shoes Have Laces?

It’s easy to tell if a pair of shoes fits right if they’re slip-ons. You just slide your feet and feel the fitting of the pair to determine if the size is right.

It can be a bit tricky if the shoes have a lace up system, but there’s a workaround that you can use to determine if the pair you’re about to buy can fit right or end up being too big.

Wear the shoes and then lace them up tight. If you notice that they fit well only when tie the laces firmly, there’s a high chance the pair is an oversize.

Why Wearing Big Shoes is a Bad Idea

Comfort is a term that will often come to the picture when we talk about shoes. And it makes sense because it’s a key factor to consider before settling for any kind of footwear.

But exactly what does it start with?

For shoes to be comfortable, they have to fit just right. If you wear shoes that are too big, you put yourself at the risk of developing several foot problems.

These include:


We often associate blisters with (extremely) tight shoes, and that couldn’t be more true.

Do you also know that it’s easy for your feet to develop blisters if you wear oversized shoes?

If you think about it, blisters come about because of the friction between the heel of your feet and the oversize shoes.

So if you wear shoes that simply don’t fit for many days in a row, there is a high chance that you’ll end up developing blisters, which, unfortunately, can be painful.

Foot corns

It doesn’t make sense to walk for long distance in shoes that don’t run true to size. That’s because you risk developing foot corns, which comes about from the friction between the shoes and your feet.

And corns can be insanely painful.


As if blisters and foot corns aren’t enough punishments from wearing unreasonably large shoes, you’re also likely to suffer from hammertoes.

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By definition, hammertoe is a foot condition caused by the imbalance in the ligament that keeps the toes straight.

The improper balance can force you to walk in a way that feels less natural, but this is something you can control by simply wearing shoes that run true to size.

What You Should Do If Your Shoes Are Already Too Big

If you’ve been along to this far, chances are you have big shoes and you’re wondering what to do with them.

Throwing them away would be silly. Giving them to charity wouldn’t make you feel good. And leaving them to lie around in a shoe rack wouldn’t make a difference either.

The first right approach to deal with shoes that don’t fit well is to return them to the store.

But if you’re in love with the pair already and you’d like to keep them, there are a few things you can do make sure they fit you right.

You can:

Get Insoles for Big Shoes

Get a pair of inserts and stuff them in the shoes. Specifically, only invest in insoles that can fill up the space in big shoes.

This will not only make the shoes fit relatively will. It will also add to the overall comfort of the shoes, making them easy to use.

Wear Thick Socks

Wearing thick socks sounds like a silly advice, but it isn’t as weird as wearing terribly fitting shoes in the first place.

If you think about it, thick socks will easily fill up the space between your feet and shoes.

With the space already occupied, you won’t have to worry about your feet rubbing against the shoes. This can go a long way to help prevent blisters.

If your shoes don’t go well with thick socks, or you, for some reasons, can’t get thick socks from nearby, simply fill the sole part of the shoes with crumpled newspapers.

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