How to Tell if Shoes are Too Small

How to tell if Shoes are Too Small

Getting new shoes always brings excitement, but nothing dampens the excitement more than getting the shoes delivered and finding out that they are too small.  This has become a more rampant occurrence because more purchases are going on online, and we have only the size charts and customer reviews to use as a yardstick.

Finding out that your dream shoes are too small is always a bit of a disaster, but how can you tell if your shoes are too small? Your shoes are too small if your toes get all crumpled together or lie over one another when you wear the shoes. Tight shoes leave no room between your toes and cause a lot of discomfort.

There are a variety of ways to do your shoe size check, including a method called the index finger check.

How to Tell if Your Shoes are too Small?

  • The Index Finger Check

This is perhaps the most common way of checking if your shoes fit or if they are too small. To do this, push your foot up till your toes touch the front of the shoe.

After this, insert your index finger in the space between your heel and the back of the shoe. If your finger is able to fit in that space comfortably, and even with a little wiggle room, then your shoes are well fitted and not small.

On the other hand, if inserting your finger in that space gives you some discomfort or there is even no space at all, then the shoe is too small, and won’t fit.

This is because a fitting shoe should have about a half-inch space between your heel and the back of your shoes. That space is your ticket to avoiding blisters and other uncomfortable sensations, so we would advise that you make sure space exists.

  • Check the Size

This isn’t a very possible option for people who get their shoes online, as the size charts can’t be entirely trusted. But if you get your shoes offline, then this is a great and quite easy way to know if your shoes are too small.

Most shoes have their sizes written on the inside of the shoe at the heel area. Other shoes have theirs written underneath the soles, usually towards the midsole.

Whenever the sizes are written, make sure to check them before you buy them.

  • Use the Shoe Inserts

This is another easy way of knowing if your shoes are too small. Simply stand on the shoe inserts and see if your toes hang out over the inserts.

If they do, then the shoes are too small for you and you’d be better off picking another one.

  • A Roomy Toe box

The toe box of your shoe should give your toes ample room to be able to move in. Not too much such that your toes can slide, but enough room so your toes can breathe and wiggle. If your toes are clumped up together like fish in a sardine can, then the shoes are too small for you.

Similarly, if your toes are pressed up against the front of your shoes when you walk, then your shoes are too small. This is why we advise that when you wear shoes to test if they fit, wear them, and stand, not just sit. This enables you to accurately place how the shoe feels.

All these checks are geared towards one thing; comfort. And that’s the biggest check of all. If you don’t feel comfortable in your shoes, then it is pointless to get them.

If the tightness is as a result of them being much smaller, maybe about two sizes or more, then ditch them. But if the difference is about half a size or a full size, then you could get the shoes, if you really want them. The only thing would be that you’d have to stretch them, but that’s not difficult to do, as you’ll see below.

How to Stretch Shoes That are Too Small

If you’ve got shoes that are a little bit too snug, then it’s not all doom and gloom. You can still stretch the shoes to a level where they will be comfortable for you to wear.

So, we will be explaining three ways to do this.

  • The Use of a Blowdryer

Heat expands things. This is the basic principle in use here. So as long as the material your shoes are made with is not plastic that will melt and burn when exposed to any level of heat, then you’re good to go.

Put on a pair or two of thick socks and slip your feet into your shoes. Put on the blowdryer, set to medium heat, and blast your shoes for 30-45 seconds. You can take a few more seconds for the really tight parts, till you feel the shoe loosening up.

  • The Use of a Shoe Stretcher

A shoe stretcher is a tool that is fashioned for the purpose of stretching shoes, no matter the materials used to make the shoe. It is the surest method of stretching your shoe without any damage to your shoe.

Once you get a shoe stretcher, all you need to do is to insert it into the shoes and turn the handle once every 8 hours. You can insert plugs also with the stretcher for areas that are tight.

You can turn the handle after 8 hours to see the level of stretching that has been achieved.

  • The Use of Ice

Just like heat expands things, water also expands when it turns to ice. This is the basic scientific principle we are taking advantage of. All you need to do is to fill a Ziploc bag one-third of the way with water.

Put the water-filled Ziploc bag in the shoe and put the shoes in the freezer till the water becomes ice.

You can remove the shoes from the freezer after about 6-8 hours and take out your shoes to thaw for about half an hour.

Once the shoes have dried properly, you can check the level of stretch achieved, and if it does not suit you, you can repeat the process till you achieve the level of stretch you desire.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

Getting shoes should always be a matter of comfort, but sometimes, getting the shoes you really want could mean getting shoes that are a bit too snug. You can always know these shoes by using the checks we have explained, and if you also want to stretch your shoes, using a blowdryer could suffice.

Or if you prefer to use ice or a shoe stretcher, all your choice. Once you have gotten the desired level of stretch, you will have the perfect mix of style and comfort that you want.

Kamal Chandel

Kamal Chandel, the founder of and wanted to share his knowledge with other people and that's why he launched Best Shoes Advisor to provide the updated information so that everyone makes more approachable and scalable who are looking for best shoes according to their choice and problems.

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published.