A lot of women have the same issue when it comes to footwear: Their feet don’t fit precisely into one size, so they go a size up. However, when footwear isn’t bespoke to your foot, a whole host of problems can arise, from heels that keep slipping off your ankles to excess room at the back and extremely pinched toes at the front. Here’s how to DIY and customise your shoes to your foot shape so you can still wear those heels you’ve fallen in love with without constant adjustment!
Image: herworldPLUS / Jasper Yu photography
The problem: Skinny ankles = heels constantly slipping off
This is one of my major issues when it comes to buying heels (in particular those which don’t have ankle straps). I have wide feet syndrome wired into my DNA (thanks, mum), and extremely skinny ankles in comparison, which means I always have to go a size up to fit the front of my foot, whist the back ends up being way too wide for my foot. One of the best solutions here is to wear insoles. You can purchase insoles that cover the length of the foot or those that just cushion the balls of your feet. Try both and see what works best for you! We love Scholls ones.
The problem: You bought a size too big because they were on sale, and you just couldn’t help yourself!
No judgment here, we’ve all done it! You’re in need of some shoe strips, which are cushioned, stick-on strips that fit nicely into the back of your heel. They are also great if your shoes are yet to be broken in (hello, ballet flats that are rubbing into my skin like crazy) to prevent blisters and cuts from forming. You can layer them up to close the gap between your heel and the heel of your shoe. We love the range on Qoo10, particularly Foot Petals which has strips that can be cut to size for every type of shoe.
The problem: Insoles and heel pads have been tried and tested, but the shoes are still too big!
As a last resort, seek professional advice. Head over to your trusty local cobbler to see what he or she can do. This is a last resort as taking in shoes can be extremely expensive, considering the construction and material that the shoe is made of. Some shoes will be impossible to take in without completely destroying the internal shoe construction, so your cobbler will be able to advise you on what’s best for your situation.
A final word of advice: Sometimes abstinence is the best policy. Yes, those shoes may look mighty fine on the rack, but if you can’t walk five metres in them without needing to pause and shove your foot back in, that ain’t a good look. As a rule, don’t buy shoes which are so large that you can fit your finger easily between your heel and the back of the shoe; there’s slightly oversized and then there’s irredeemably large!