Sustainable Fashion

How to Make Big Shoes Fit Smaller

Learn how to make big shoes fit better with these easy tips that can prevent the need for returns.

Make Big Shoes Fit Smaller Featured

You’re looking forward to a big event this month, so you open your closet, slip on a fancy pair of shoes, take a few steps, and realize… they’re too big! Whether you’ve ordered a size too big or your favorite pair is overstretched from the countless times you’ve worn them, you are now left wondering how to make shoes smaller…

The best ways to make big shoes fit smaller is to purchase a pair of socks or inserts, utilize a service to resize them, or buy shoes that are more likely to be form-fitting due to their style and fabric.

In this article, we will discuss 7 different methods you can use to make big shoes fit smaller so that your feet will feel comfy and secure!

1. Seek professional shoe repair

Shoe repair shops aren’t just for replacing worn-out treads or patching up tears. Bringing your beloved shoes to a professional cobbler could lead to your favorite shoes getting a new life!

Repairing shoes instead of purchasing new ones reduces textile waste and limits energy consumption during the manufacturing process. Visiting your local cobbler is an eco-friendly way to reconstruct your shoes to fit your feet perfectly!

2. Buy no-show footies or cushioned socks

This may sound like an oversimplified method of making big shoes fit smaller — but you’d be surprised how effective this quick hack is! Look for a pair of thicker socks or no-show footies to line your shoes just right. The best part about using socks and footies to make your shoes tighter is that you can slip them on, throw them in the wash, and reuse them repeatedly.

Check out these companies:

MenoMieux No-Show Socks

No-show footies are a must-have for dressy closed toe shoes. MenoMieux is a sustainable fashion company that never produces any of its own fabric. Instead, they upCycle unwanted clothing, shoes, and other textiles.

meno mieux
MenoMieux no-shows (image by

Check out their zero-waste no-show socks, designed to discretely hug your feet and act as heel liners in your favorite pair of ballet flats or stilettos.

Smartwool Cushioned Socks

Smartwool is a leading company in manufacturing ethically-sourced wool socks and apparel. They are ZQ Certified, meaning they use ethical practices to source their wool and ensure the health and wellbeing of their sheep by providing adequate food, water, medical attention, and free-range pasture.

You don’t have to wear thick socks that leave your feet hot and sweaty. Lightly cushioned socks will fill out loose shoes just fine! Check out Smartwool’s line of athletic socks, which are made from natural wool and recycled nylon. The lightweight padding is breathable and the perfect choice for your sports shoes when you’re out for your morning jog!

3. Swap out your shoes using online consignment shops

Textile waste is a major environmental issue in the fashion industry. Thrifting is an eco-friendly alternative to purchasing new shoes and can also help you save money when you decide to freshen up your wardrobe! If you own a pair of shoes that you just don’t love, consider swapping them for another gently-used pair through an online consignment store.

Check out these companies:

Reformation + thredUP

Reformation partners with thredUP, an online consignment shop where you can exchange your unwanted shoes for a pair that you will absolutely love! Search by size, style, condition, color, and price range to find the pair that will complement your outfit and save you money!

4. Purchase shoe insoles

Insoles! It’s a classic method of making shoes fit like they were personally constructed for your feet. Insoles act as shoe fillers that make your feet feel more snug. Insoles are commonly made of foam, which is hazardous to our environment. Fortunately, some companies opt to design insoles using eco-friendly materials that are biodegradable and safer for our planet.

You might want to check out these two sustainable insole manufacturers:

SOLE Insoles

SOLE is outstanding when it comes to designing high-quality, environment-safe insoles and footwear. Their website allows you to select your insole based on arch height, desired level of support, or even type of foot injury.

Their products are made with carbon-negative materials (materials that, when used, actually benefit the environment), such as cork and Bloom. Bloom is algae that is harvested from harmful algal blooms (HABs), which occur in water and pose dangerous risks to animals, people, and the environment. By using Bloom algae, SOLE actively reduces the damaging impact HABs have on our planet.

Fulton Insoles

Fulton insoles are made with cork, a carbon-negative material that actually improves the health of our planet! If your sneakers are feeling a little loose, insert a pair of Fulton insoles, and you will notice a difference in your comfort and overall posture. The insole padding is ergonomically designed to prevent orthopedic ailments and reduce chronic pain.

Man using a fulton insole to make his shoe fit smaller
These Fulton insoles are a great way to make your shoes fit better and comfier (image by

Fulton was founded based on medical research explaining why proper arch support is critical to our overall wellbeing. Not only do these multi-layered insoles feel like comfortable foot cushions, they also promote healthy alignment. To learn more about how Fulton insoles can improve your overall health, check out their information on arch support.

5. Customize your shoes

What’s the best way to guarantee your shoes will fit from the moment you slide them on your feet? Purchase a pair that has been pre-tailored to fit your feet perfectly! If you find yourself “in between sizes” when shopping for shoes, customizing your size is a sustainable way to get the look and feel you want!

Check out this company:

Solely Original Custom Shoes

Instead of visiting a shoe store, check out Solely Original to design a pair of custom shoes! Solely Original has the right idea when it comes to sustainable footwear! Instead of worrying about how to make shoes smaller, customize them to your exact foot dimensions from the start! You can design your shoes’ style, fit, fabric, color, and pattern. Your shoes will fit your unique footstep and show off your individual style!

6. Wear shoes that have flexible fabric

Another way to guarantee a good fit if you’re wondering how to make shoes smaller is to look for shoe material and sales that don’t require a perfect fit to feel comfy! Some shoes are strategically designed with suitable materials and structure to fit any foot like a glove! Flexible materials may include algae, faux suede, and cork, which are eco-friendly and tend to hug your foot just right!

Check out these companies:

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather has received excellent reviews from their customers regarding quality craftsmanship, comfort, and attractive design. Everything from the shoe tongue pads to the outsoles is 100% vegan and thoughtfully designed to meet modern fashion trends.

woman wearing good guys don't wear leather ankle boots
Now these are some comfy boots! (image by

If you enjoy wearing shoes that make a statement, you won’t go wrong with Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather! This well-known company supports animal welfare efforts by providing a vegan alternative to suede and leather shoes. Search for shoe styles that are made of vegan suede or AppleSkin™ (natural wastes from the apple juice industry).


Rothy’s flats can be worn in both formal and casual settings! Their styles are versatile and classic — making them the ideal dress shoes to head to the office — or a colorful accessory to wear on a fun outing with friends. Choose from a wide selection of colors and patterns to match your unique look.

Model wearing Rothys red flat shoes
Form-fitting flats are a great choice (image by

The upper portion is soft and form-fitting, while the insoles and outsoles are durable and comfortable. Rothy’s flats are made from Rothy’s Signature Thread (100% plastic water bottles). Also, there is no need to worry about getting these shoes wet because Rothy’s flats are completely machine-washable!


TOMS is your classic everyday shoe! While the TOMS original design remains wildly popular, the company has since expanded its selection to include fashionable boots, sneakers, and wedges.

Blue Toms Shoes
Classic comfy canvas shoes by TOMS (image by

Their canvas shoes are mainly made of jute, which is an eco-friendly material due to low water and chemical usage. Learn more about TOMS’s earth-friendly missions!

7. Use heel liners to prevent shoes from rubbing and digging

Sometimes, all you need is a slight adjustment to make those high heels fit a little better without adding a bulky insert or ordering the next size up. Heel liners are small and compact, making them a convenient must-have item to carry when traveling. While heel liners can be used to prevent digging in tight shoes, they can also be used when your shoes are just a little too loose. Check out this company:

Vegetarian Shoes

You may find that many heel grips are made from animal-based leather and sheepskin. Fortunately, earth-friendly companies like Vegetarian Shoes manufacture their products using microfiber Fake Suede instead of animal-based leather. Vegetarian Shoes has an abundant selection of vegan shoe brands and accessories, such as shoelaces, shoe wax, and felt shoe inserts. Check out the Vegetarian Shoes Heel Liners, which may be the minor adjustment you need to prevent your shoes from rubbing against your heels and causing discomfort and painful blisters!


Depending on how much time you have to make big shoes fit smaller, you may consider trying a combination of these methods. Once your shoes are the right size, you may still consider purchasing an insole for an extra layer of comfort. Companies like SOLE and Reformation truly go above and beyond when caring for their customers, employees, and our planet. They are genuinely committed to satisfying their customers and making a positive impact in the world.

Abby Lucy

Abby Lucy-Tucker

I am a writer, educator, and devoted environmentalist with a lifelong mission to serve our planet. My goal is to inspire a natural love and curiosity for sustainable products, companies, and lifestyle choices through my writing.