how to tell if shoes are too small

We have researched How To Tell If Shoes Are Too Small. This is why we are sharing this post on how to tell if running shoes are too small. Suppose you want to know the effects of wearing shoes too small, then reading this post will help.

It is often said that you need to have tight shoes in order for you to have much-needed support for your feet to gain balance. However, this practice is not very healthy for a lot of reasons. It can be said that it is not even that necessary. There are many articles available online that will explain why this has been considered a myth for a long time now. For now, though, we will focus on how to tell if shoes are too small for your feet as well as some tips on how to deal with the issue. If you want to learn more, then please do not hesitate to read on.

effects of wearing shoes too small

How To Tell If Shoes Are Too Small

How to Tell If Shoes Are Too Small?

how to tell if running shoes are too small

Aside from the uncomfortable feeling that you get when wearing shoes that are too small for your feet, there are many other signs that you can look for to know whether the shoes will fit you perfectly or not even before you try them on. These are as follows:

Check the Shoe Size

First, you have to look at the shoe size even before you try it on. This is one of the simplest things that you can do to find out if the shoes that you would want to buy would fit comfortably once you wear them.

Do not be afraid to try on the shoes at the department store when shopping. This is how you will know that it will fit you perfectly for extended periods of time. It would also help to take measurements of your feet before buying new shoes, then get footwear for that specific size.

However, there are cases where the shoes would look form fitting for the feet at first sight.

Helpful Clues to Look For

To prevent yourself from wearing tight shoes, look into some hidden clues as to the physical appearance and the feel of the shoe before wearing it. Some of these clues are listed below:

1. Puzzle Toes

Upon wearing, if your toes feel like they fit together like a puzzle, or if they do not face forward when inside the shoes, chances are your shoes are too small and that you would need to have it replaced or repaired.

2. Low Comfort Level

The second clue would be your feeling while wearing the shoes themselves. If you feel constricted in them, chances are they’re too tight. There should be ample space in between the toes and the walls of the shoe for added comfort.

3. Toe Direction

Additionally, the toes should face forward and not in every other direction. If you get stuck in this position for too long, there’s a tendency for the toes to atrophy and stay in this position permanently. However, you can still prevent this from happening. This will be discussed later in the article.

4. Material

The differences in material can also determine whether or not the shoes are too small. Some rubber shoes appear big on the outside but apparently are too small on the inside. If this happens, do not hesitate to return the shoes or try another pair on.

Additional Tips

Another way for you to find out if your shoes are too small is to push your feet of the way to the end of the shoe.

Try to fit your index finger inside the heel of your shoes. If your index finger can fit comfortably in there with room to spare, then you have found your right size. If it is too tight without any room to move, it is recommended that you stretch your shoes right away.

The Solutions

1. Stretch Your Toes

If you happen to wear tight shoes on a regular basis, make sure that you are able to stretch your toes regularly to separate them. If you’re going to paint your toenails, make sure to use toe separators to keep them apart during the procedure. Furthermore, you can practice wiggling your toes regularly to keep them from becoming deformed.

2. Stop Wearing Tight Shoes and Look for Replacements

If your shoes have a tendency to push your toes together or keep them from moving, this is another clue that your footwear is too small. You have to stop wearing this particular type of shoes. Have them replaced right away.

3. Avoid Wearing Thick Socks and Tight Stockings

You also have to avoid wearing thick socks or tight stockings. It will add to the pressure of wearing smaller shoes and press your toes together even more.

4. Use a Shoe-Stretcher

You can use a shoe-stretcher or water to effectively stretch them. Just sprayed the problem areas with enough water and let them dry out. This will stretch new shoes effectively.

5. Ask for Professional Help

On the other hand, if you have enough money to spare you can also have the shoes professionally repaired so that it can fit you much more comfortable in the end.


If you really want to find the perfect shoes and learn how to tell if shoes are too small, you have to think about your own comfort level when wearing footwear. Do not overthink about the design. Comfort should always trump style when it comes to finding something to wear whether for traveling or for daily use.

Are Your Feet Still Growing?

Are you wondering why you are wearing bigger shoes as you get older? Do you think you feet are getting bigger?  Well, that is because they are getting bigger

Nearly 100% of us will need bigger shoes as we get older. Essentially what is happening is that over time our feet slowly flatten out. As they flatten, the arch lengthens and your feet get longer. In addition they splay out and your feet get wider.

Since your feet are getting bigger, you should be wearing larger shoes as you get older. If you are still wearing the same shoes you wore 10 years ago, we can pretty much guarantee that they are too small.

Besides Age, Why Else Do Feet Get Bigger?

1. Weight gain can cause feet to get bigger

If you are carrying extra weight, you are going to carry extra fat everywhere including around your feet with the result of larger feet.

2. Pregnancy can cause feet to get bigger

During pregnancy the same hormones that relax the ligaments of the birth canal also relax the ligaments in the rest of your body including the feet. Since the feet are carrying extra load during pregnancy due to normal weight  gain, the feet will often flatten leading to lengthening and widening of the feet.

How to Stop Your Feet from Getting Bigger

There may not be a way to completely stop your feet from getting bigger. But you may be able to slow the progression. Below are our best suggestions of what you can do to combat the flattening of the foot that occurs with aging, weight gain and pregnancy.

Please read this important disclosure about the products recommended in this article.

1. Use arch supports in your shoes

By using arch support to stop the flattening of the feet you may be able to stop or slow the splay that leads to feet getting bigger. The key is to get an arch support that conforms very close to the arch of foot. The closer it grabs your arch the better it will be at stopping your foot from flattening and splaying. Another way to look at this is to wear the highest arched orthotic you can tolerate.

Custom orthotics that are made to betotal contact to the arch of your footwill provide the best support and protection. There are, however, some very good over-the-counter arch supports that will offer excellent protection.

Over-the-Counter Orthotics with the Best Arch Support

For athletic shoes and walking shoes try the FootChair Plus Orthotic with adjustable arch height.  It has a great arch to help stop flattening of the foot plus pads that can be used to increase the arch for even more support. This may help stop the foot from getting bigger over time.

For smaller casual shoes and small athletic shoes (such as soccer cleats) try the smaller version – the FootChair 3/4 Length Orthotic.

For women’s dress shoes, the FootChair Slim Orthotic with Adjustable Arch Support is also is the one we recommend to our patients. This is by far the best OTC arch support we have found for women’s flats and dress shoes. It has a great arch support, a very slim profile and flexes to adapt to most heel heights.

Here is a list of all of our recommended prefabricated orthotics.

2. Wear arch support sandals or slippers anytime you are not wearing shoes

Vionic flip flops with arch support

At times that you are not wearing shoes, for example when in your house, wear sandals or slippers with arch support. The is particularly important if you are on hard, flat surfaces such as hardwood floors.

These arch support sandals will help prevent flattening and splaying of your feet.

The sandal brand with the most supportive arch is currently Vionic. You can see a selection of Vionic sandals and slippers here.

The key to avoiding flattening of the arch is to wear arch support as much as you can – even when at home.

3. Custom orthotics offer more protection against feet getting bigger

If prefabricated orthotics are not providing enough support, we can prescribe use a custom orthotic. Custom orthotics will conform closer to the arch of the foot, so they do a better job stopping your feet from flattening out. In particular a “total-contact orthotic” that hugs the arch of the foot very close will help the the arch from flattening the foot from getting longer.

If you are in the Seattle area contact us for an appointment to find out if you are a good candidate for custom orthotics.

4. Wear stable shoes

Stable shoes that don’t flex too much will also help support your feet and prevent the flattening that leads to larger feet. Our list of recommended shoes can be subscribed to here.

5. Have your feet sized when you buy shoes

Go to specialty shoe stores with well-trained staff and believe the clerk when they tell you that you are no longer a size 8.

6. Lose weight to shrink your feet

Extra weight puts a lot of flattening force on the foot. If you can take off a few pounds you will decrease those harmful forces on your feet.

So our general recommendation is that it is good idea to wear arch supports or custom othotics to help prevent the foot from flattening over time. Stable shoes will also help. These suggestions will probably help slow or decrease the enlargement of your feet, but  regardless of what you do you will probably need a somewhat larger shoe as time progresses.

Most Important for Preventing Your Foot From Splaying and Getting Bigger

If you want to try to limit how much your foot splays out the most important things you can do are to ALWAYS wear arch support as described above and, if you are overweight, then lose some weight.

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