How to Fix Shoes That Gap on the Sides: Quick Hacks

To fix shoes that gap on the sides, try using padded inserts or heel grips. Adjusting the shoe laces or opting for insoles can also help achieve a snugger fit.

Finding the perfect pair of shoes sometimes leads to a common issue: the shoe gaps at the sides. It can be frustrating when your ideal footwear choice doesn’t hug your foot the way it should. Fortunately, there are quick and straightforward solutions to rectify this problem, ensuring comfort and style.

These fixes not only enhance the fit of your shoes but can also prevent foot strain and blisters caused by excessive movement within the shoe. Understanding how to address this fit problem can transform an almost-right shoe into a wardrobe staple, helping you walk with confidence and ease.

Introduction To Shoe Gapping

Shoe gapping often occurs when the footwear does not fit properly around the foot’s contour, leading to excess space along the sides. This issue manifests primarily in slip-on shoes where the foot fails to fill the shoe completely, resulting in an unsightly and uncomfortable spread. The root causes of shoe gapping vary, including choosing the wrong shoe size, a mismatch between foot shape and shoe design, or a foot’s arch type.

The consequences of wearing ill-fitting shoes extend beyond mere aesthetics. Persistent gaps can lead to consistent foot slippage within the shoe, causing friction and blister formation. Moreover, the continuous strain to stabilize the foot in an improper shoe can culminate in long-term foot health issues, such as hammer toes, bunions, and even back problems due to an unnatural walking gait. It is imperative to recognize and address shoe gapping to ensure comfort, style, and overall foot health.

Assessing The Problem

Determining if your shoes are the correct size is crucial to addressing gapping issues. Tightening the laces may help, but it’s essential to check for proper fit. Shoes should snugly hold your feet without pressing uncomfortably.

The type of gapping, whether lateral or medial, often indicates the fit of your shoes. Lateral gapping usually suggests wide shoes, while medial gapping may imply a narrow design not suited for your foot width.

Conducting a proper foot measurement can prevent such problems. It’s best done with professional equipment or by tracing the foot on paper and measuring at the widest point. This step ensures that you purchase shoes that align with your foot’s actual size rather than your perceived size.

Material-based Solutions

Shoes that gap on the sides can be quite bothersome, often leading to discomfort and a lack of support. A practical solution is to utilize tongue pads, which effectively tighten the fit of the shoes. These pads add extra cushioning under the tongue, reducing the gap significantly.

An alternative method to combat side gapping involves inserting heel liners. Heel liners are adhered to the inside back of the shoe, providing a more snug fit and minimizing slippage. This adjustment can make a noticeable difference in the way your shoes wrap around your feet.

Finally, selecting the appropriate insoles can also contribute to a better shoe fit. Not only do insoles offer increased support, especially for those with flat feet or high arches, but they can also reduce the side gap by elevating the foot slightly and filling in the excess space inside the shoe.

Adaptable Footwear Choices

Selecting shoes with adjustable features can significantly reduce the issue of shoes that gap on the sides. Opting for lace-up shoes is often a wise choice, as they offer a more customizable fit. The laces can be tightened or loosened to conform snugly to the foot, ensuring a minimization of gaps.

Shoes with elasticated panels provide another practical solution. These panels offer flexibility and ease of movement, which is especially beneficial for those with feet that swell throughout the day. The elastic adjusts to the shape of the foot, diminishing the chance of any unsightly gapping at the sides.

Quick Fixes And Improvisations

Finding your favorite pair of shoes gapping on the sides can be frustrating. A quick fix to this dilemma involves temporary hacks using items readily available at home.

Notably, moistening leather shoes can help in achieving a snugger fit. Simply apply a small amount of water on the leather to expand it slightly, and then wear the shoes as they dry for a closer contour to your feet.

Meanwhile, utilizing thick socks is another effective method to fill in excess space. The additional fabric from the socks adds bulk around the foot, reducing the gap significantly.

Issue Household Item Benefit
Gapping on Sides Water (for leather) Expands & shapes leather
Excess Space Thick Socks Adds bulk to fill space

Professional Alterations

Shoes that gap on the sides can significantly reduce the comfort and aesthetic appeal of your footwear. In certain instances, seeking professional help from a cobbler becomes imperative. This is particularly true for expensive or designer shoes, where a perfect fit is critical or when the shoe material is difficult to work with.

Professionally stretching shoes is a common solution for eliminating gaps. Cobblers have specialized equipment that can gently expand the material of the shoe, ensuring a snug fit. This process is precise and controlled, minimizing the risk of damaging the shoe.

Shoe modification options may include adding elastic inserts, straps, or even reworking the heel or insole to achieve the desired fit. An experienced cobbler can advise on the feasibility of such modifications and their impact on the shoe’s longevity and style. It’s crucial to understand that not all shoes can be adjusted and sometimes, replacement is the only option.

Preventative Measures And Best Practices

Securing a snug fit while shopping for shoes can dramatically reduce the chance of gapping. Ensure to measure both feet as sizes may vary; a perfect fit for one could prevent sides from gaping. Always try shoes on in the afternoon when feet are at their largest due to natural swelling.

Maintaining the shape of your shoes plays a pivotal role in limiting gapping. Use shoe trees for retaining form or inserts to guarantee a closer fit. Regularly conditioning the leather can also keep the material supple, allowing it to adapt better to the shape of your foot.

Perform foot assessments routinely to detect changes in foot size or shape as they can necessitate different shoes to avoid gapping. By pairing these practices, you can ensure optimal shoe health and comfort.

Conclusion: Embracing A Gap-free Stride

Ensuring your shoes fit perfectly can transform your walking experience. This post has provided several practical solutions to address the issue of shoes that gap on the sides. From using insoles and heel grips to opting for shoelace techniques and tongue pads, these strategies can make a significant difference.

Taking a proactive stance on shoe fit not only enhances comfort but also prevents future foot problems. Selecting the correct shoe size, considering the material and design, and assessing the shape of your feet are crucial steps. Remember, well-fitting footwear is essential for foot health and overall posture. Always prioritize finding shoes that embrace the contours of your feet, ensuring a gap-free, confident stride.


Wrapping up, fixing side gaps in shoes can transform your comfort and style. Embrace these simple tips to ensure a snug, flattering fit. Remember, a few adjustments lead to confident strides. Step out in comfort, leaving side gaps behind. Ready for a perfect fit?

Start tweaking your shoes today.


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