Tips & Tricks of How To Fix Shoes That Are Too Big – How to Shrink Shoes 2024 Guide

How to Wear too big Shoes

Shoes are the quintessential element that assists in styling your look for a noticeable presence. No outfit is ever complete without a good pair of shoes. On top of that, it adds unmatchable confidence to your persona when you walk in. Sometimes, we end up getting shoes that are bigger than the actual one. Now, the big question is how to fix shoes that are too big.

In such a situation, the most feasible and economical solution is to shrink them. Apart from making the shoes smaller by 1 or 2 inches, it also delivers a precise and comfortable fit. Another best part is that one can shrink the shoes easily at home using only the basic things. If you are still wondering how to deal with big-sized shoes, this blog will help you out.


When to fix big shoes?

How To Fix Shoes That Are Too Big

Finding the right pair of shoes that fits your feet perfectly is nothing less than a blessing. Conversely, we end up getting a pair of shoes that are slightly bigger than the actual size. Significantly, the size and fitting might vary as per the individual brand as well.

The only option left is to fix the shoe size to attain a comfortable fit in such a condition. More to say, it usually happens in the following situations:

  • Typically, the user ends up buying the wrong size, which is 1 or 2 inches bigger
  • Fashion enthusiasts purchasing the last pair of shoes that are an inch bigger as they love that particular style or brand
  • Apart from this, shoes that are given as a gift by friends/family turn out to be bigger than the actual size

How To Fix Shoes That Are Too Big?

Generally, it is relatively easier to fix shoes that are slightly bigger than your actual size. On the contrary, one should not wear shoes that are way too bigger in the long term as it can be harmful. Likewise, it is also not feasible to shrink and fix shoes to a great extent. However, the following are how one can shrink the shoes that are only 1 or 2 inches bigger.

Shrinking Particular Areas: For Suede, Leather, and Canvas Shoes

How To Fix Shoes That Are Too Big

To achieve a perfect fit, shrink only specific areas of your shoe. Eventually, by doing so, one can wear the shoes with optimum comfort. For this, all you need is water alongside a blow dryer. Furthermore, the below-mentioned steps would help out.

Step 1: Identify the area that you want to shrink

Wear the big-sized shoes and walk for a little while to assess the area that you want to shrink. One can even check the feet in a mirror to identify which area requires fixing.

Step 2: Apply or dab water on the target area

After recognizing the area that you want to shrink, apply water over it. For this, one can either use a soaked rag or fingers. However, make sure that the water does not get into the insoles as it can degrade its quality. Do not completely soak the shoes in water as it can lead to cracks or an unpleasant smell.

Step 3: Blow-dry the water-soaked area

Blow-dry the water-soaked shoes

With the help of a hairdryer, properly dry the wet areas on the shoes. Keep the dryer settings to medium only and use them from at least 6 to 7 inches away from the shoes. Ultimately, high-intensity or direct heat can lead to discoloration in shoes.

Other than this, if you sense any strange or unusual odor while blow-drying the shoes, then stop immediately. In such cases, one can air-dry the shoes to ensure optimum safety.

Step 4: Use a leather conditioner

After completely drying the wet area, the next step is to use a leather conditioner. At times, drying can cause the shoe material to crack or even dehydrate. Thus do not skip this step, especially if you have leather or suede shoes. Eventually, it helps restore the lost luster, thereby maintaining the quality and elegance of the shoes.

Apart from this, it also aids in making the texture of the shoes suppler than before.

leather conditioner

Shrinking Shoes Smaller by 1-2 Size

If you do not want to shrink a specific part of your shoes, this process is for you. On the whole, this method is ideal for the canvas as well as leather shoes only. Besides, it works to shrink the overall size of the shoes that are 1 to 2 inches bigger than your actual one.

In particular, this process is not suitable for suede shoes as soaking them in water can deteriorate their quality. Follow the below-mentioned steps to fix the shoe size.

For canvas shoes

  • Most importantly, you would need a washing machine with a dryer
  • Firstly, submerge the canvas shoes entirely in clean water
  • Afterward, pop the water-soaked canvas shoes into the washing machine
  • Turn on the drying function for 12 to 15 minutes
  • On another note, you can even use a dryer separately
  • Once the canvas shoes become completely dry, wear them to check whether they fit you correctly or not

For Leather Shoes

  • To shrink the leather shoes, all you need is a tub, water, and a pair of socks
  • In particular, the first step is to submerge the leather shoes in the water at room temperature in either a bucket or a tub
  • After that, you have to wear socks and dip the feet in the water till the socks completely get wet
  • Moreover, it ensures that the leather shoes shrink to the actual size and shape of your feet
  • Furthermore, wear the wet shoes just after getting them removed from the tub or bucket of water
  • Make sure to wear the leather shoes till the socks become fully dry
  • Meanwhile, protect the shoes from dirt and grime
  • Let the leather shoes fully air dry and try them to check the fit
  • An important step is to apply the leather conditioner as it works as a moisturizer to restore the shoes’ shine

Instant Solutions to Fix the Shoe Size: Thick Socks, Cushion, and Insoles

In brief, the methods above require a little bit of time to shrink the shoes’ size. In contrast, if you are in a hurry and want an instant solution to fix the shoe size, then opt for the following ways:

Thick Socks

Thick Socks and shoes

If you want to wear shoes in which your feet are fully covered, thick socks will fill the extra space. However, this method works best for tennis/sports shoes or boots only and not for the ones in which the feet are exposed.

Alternatively, if thick socks are not working for you, try putting on 2 to 3 pairs of thin socks. Ultimately, it would fix the shoe size by 1 to 2 inches to properly fit the user.


Generally, cushions help in offering more support and comfort while wearing dress shoes or heels. Likewise, you can also use them to improve and enhance the fitting of the shoes. For this, the below-mentioned steps would guide you.

Step 1: At first, pull off the protective covering from the backside of the cushion

Step 2: Now stick the paper along the backward of the shoe where the heel’s back touches the shoe

Step 3: Generally, the cushions are 1/6 inch thick, and there is no visible gap between the shoe and the heel

Step 4: Even after doing the steps above, you are not getting the proper fitting, then you need to fill more shoe space

Step 5: Stick the cushions to the insole of the shoes where the toes usually rest


The Best Insoles large shoes

At times, there is a gap between the shoe’s top and your foot. In such cases, there are always fair chances of the foot slipping out of the shoe. To prevent this, one can use an insole. All you need to do is take out the insole from the different shoes of the same style and size or purchase a new one.

Furthermore, lay the insole over the top of the pre-existing insole in the shoe. Besides this, try on the shoes and ensure that the foot can comfortably touch the top of the shoes.


If you opt for prompt solutions like thick socks, insoles, or cushions to fix the shoe size, it will take a minute or a two. Other than this, shrinking the size of a canvas shoe would require at least 15 to 20 minutes.

In contrast to this, it would take around an hour to shrink the leather shoes properly. In the final analysis, the time taken would depend upon the process and shoe material as well.



A pair of cushions would cost around $10, whereas pair of insoles comes under $25 to $30. Apart from this, the other methods above for shrinking the shoe size require the basic accessories only. On an additional note, you would need a leather conditioner that too in case of leather and suede shoes only.

Usually, a bottle of leather conditions costs around $10 to $16. For canvas shoes, there is no need to use a leather conditioner.

Don’ts while doing the process

  • Do not use the same process for all types of shoes
  • Never apply leather conditioner on canvas shoes
  • Do not keep your shoes in the direct sunlight for prolonged hours
  • Please do not soak the suede shoes thoroughly in water as it can damage them
  • Do not let the water reach into the insoles as it can degrade its quality

Cobbler help

Professional Tips

  • For shrinking and fixing leather shoes, use a water bottle sprayer instead of thoroughly soaking them into water
  • Never let the shoes remain in the water for long
  • Avoid over or direct heating while drying the shoes
  • Use only premium-quality cushions and insoles
  • One can even use a clothing iron to dry the shoes; make sure to keep the intensity at low to medium

Cobbler Help

A cobbler is an expert in crafting and repairing shoes. So if you are unable to shrink the shoes at home, it is better to seek help from a cobbler. Undoubtedly, a cobbler knows all the ins and outs of a shoe and its elements.

Besides, if you want a reliable and long-term solution for fixing shoes, look for the best cobbler. After all, nothing can match the level of professional assistance.

FAQs of How to Shrink Shoes

large shoes

Is it possible to shrink vans?

Vans are popular as canvas shoes, and one can shrink them with ease using the washing machine with a dryer. On top of that, vans can be made a bit smaller by focusing on the shoe’s particular areas. For this, you would need a blow dryer with a spray water bottle.

How is it possible to shrink shoes in a washing machine?

Yes, one can fix the oversized shoes with the help of a washing machine. In general, most shoes tend to shrink from getting wet to dry. You can pop the shoes in the dryer for 12 to 15 minutes to shrink them effortlessly.

Is there any way to prevent shoes from shrinking in a washing machine?

Yes, it is possible to use washing machines to wash your shoes with no intention of shrinking them. Before air drying, stuff old newspapers in the shoes to retain their original size and shape.

Does overheating causes any damage to the shoes?

Yes, overheating can deteriorate the quality of the shoes, thus leading to cracks and discoloration. That is why it is always advisable to keep the settings of the blow dryer at medium only. Alternatively, you can even prefer air drying the shoes for superior protection.

Why is it necessary to use a leather conditioner in the end?

A high-quality leather conditioner enhances the appearance of the shoes. After the shrinking process, leather and suede shoes can develop cracks with a rough texture. To resolve this issue, one must apply a leather conditioner after drying the shoes. In due course, it adds an enviable shine to your shoes with a smooth texture.

Can I use the same shrinking method for all types of shoes?

Though there are various methods through which you can shrink the shoes, select one as per the shoe material. Further, the process also depends upon the shrinking that one requires.

For instance, the leather shoes need overall shrinking so that you can put them in water. Subsequently, wear them with wet socks till they become dry for an accurate fit. In the case of canvas shoes, pop them in the washing machine with a dryer for easy shrinking as per the requirement.

Coming onto the suede shoes, one has to target a particular area with a spray bottle. Later on, keep the blow dryer to medium intensity and point it towards the target area from at least 6 inches away.


After going through the information above, you must have learned how to fix too big shoes. If you have got the wrong-sized shoes, then the most suitable option is to either return them or exchange them.

If this is not possible, you can either shrink and fix shoes or fill the extra space with cushions. In addition to these two, thick socks and insoles would also work for you, especially if the shoe is only 1 or 2 inches bigger.

Before proceeding further, consider the shoe material, style, and shrinking requirements carefully. After all, what matters the most is comfort while flaunting favorite pair of shoes.

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