How To Tell If Shoes Are Too Big – 4 Reliable Ways

Most people know their shoe size; however, shoe sizes only correspond to the length of your feet. What happens to the width and height? The truth is that shoe sizes do not account for width and height, so you’re left on your own to figure that out.

How to tell if shoes are too big

Some people may decide to go half or a full size up to accommodate for the width and height of their feet. This may create other issues, such as ending up with a pair of shoes that are too big. We all know shoes that are too tight are bad for your feet; however, big shoes can also be a problem. To eliminate this issue, here’s how to tell if shoes are too big.

Are My Shoes Too Big?

shoes too big tips

Here are a few things to do before purchasing shoes to get the right fit.

Get The Measurements Right

While shoe sizes do not account for the width and height of your feet, it is still important to know the length. Measure the length of your feet before going shopping and make a note of the measurements. You may find that one foot is longer than the other. This is normal, so there’s no need to worry.

Take Into Consideration The Style Of Shoes

You’ll also need to take into consideration the style of the shoes since the size is just one component when looking to purchase the right shoes. You may find that one size in one style of shoes may not be the right size for another style. Identify the type of shoe that you want, whether it’s for running, hiking, walking, or another purpose. This will help you with fit as well as comfort and protection.

Once you have your measurements and have identified the shoe type and style, it’s time to try shoes. Here are a few ways to tell if the shoes are too big.

How To Know If A Shoe Fits

1. Stretch Your Feet

To understand if the shoes are too big, try stretching your feet to reach the end of your shoes. If there’s a large gap between your feet and the edge of the shoes, then chances are that they are too big for you.

If the space between your toes and the tip of the shoes can fit the width of your thumb, then the shoe is the right size for you. If the space is more than the width of your thumb, then you need something smaller.

2. Lace It Up

Try lacing the shoes all the way up. Shoes that are too big may allow you to tighten the laces so much that the two sides overlap. If it does this, then the shoes are too big.  If the shoes only fit when you tighten the laces excessively, it means they’re too big and not the right size for you.

3. Are Your Feet Sliding Around?

Try walking around for a bit in the shoes to see how they feel. If your feet are sliding around, whether it’s back and forth or side to side, it means that the shoes are too big for your feet. You’ll have to continue your search for the right fit.

4. Curling And Compressing

When our feet slide around, we often curl our toes to try and hold onto the shoes, resulting in foot pain and blisters. If you have enough room to curl your toes inside the shoe without difficulty, then they aren’t the right fit.

Another way to tell is by compressing the edge of the shoe. If you can do this with ease, then they are too big for you and the search for the right fit continues.

How To Make Big Shoes Fit

how shoes fit

Let’s say you’ve purchased a pair of shoes online and they’re too big but you can’t return them – what do you do? There are several things you can try to make the big shoes fit.

DIY Tricks

  • Wear thick or multiple socks.
  • Stuff the shoe with cotton pads, toilet paper, tissue paper, or a rag.
  • Purchase some insoles.
  • Try ball-of-foot cushions.
  • Use heel strips.

If these do not work, you can try to make the shoes smaller by shrinking them. This will all depend on the type of material your shoe is made from. You can shrink leather and suede shoes by:

  • Spraying them with water and leaving them out to dry in the sun or using your hair dryer on the lowest setting. Once they’re dry, you’ll want to use a conditioning kit on them.
  • Stitching elastic bands along the inside at the back of the shoe.
  • Visit a cobbler if all else fails.

For more information on these methods, be sure to read this comprehensive guide on how to make big shoes fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Tell if I Have Wide Feet?

One of the best ways to tell if you have wide feet is if your feet feel cased-in no matter the type or brand of shoes you wear. Other indications that you may have wide feet include numbness, tingling, and blisters on the top or between your toes when wearing normal shoes.

Should My Toes Touch The End Of My Shoes?

If your toes can touch the end of the shoes, they’re too tight for you. You should be able to comfortably stretch your toes because restricting this movement can lead to pain. If you’re a frequent runner, then your toes should not touch the edge of your shoes or you’ll end up with blisters, bruises, and damaged toenails.

How Much Space Should Be At The End Of A Shoe?

The space between the tip of your toes and the edge of your boots should fit the width of your thumb. This is enough space to wear socks and stretch your toes comfortably.

Is It Bad To Wear Big Shoes?

Just like how wearing shoes that are too small can cause foot issues, wearing shoes that are too big can also create serious foot problems. This is because they can cause you to move in an unnatural way.


Well, now you know how to tell if shoes are too big so that you won’t make the mistake of wearing big shoes. If your feet slide around as you walk or there’s more than a thumb width space between your toes and the front of your shoes, then they are too big for you. Wearing shoes that are too big is not ideal and can leave you with blisters and serious injuries, so always try to get the perfect fit.

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