The Terrifying Effects of Wearing Shoes That Are Too Big

The effects of wearing shoes that are too big can affect your comfortability, performance and general wellbeing.

It sucks, it really does, and perhaps you can relate to one of the side-effects we cover coming up?

If you suffer from any of these, consider replacing your shoes with a pair that fits properly.

In a nutshell, wearing a bigger pair of shoes can cause:

  • Altering your natural stride.
  • Bunions and lesser toe deformity—hammertoe.
  • Blister formation.
  • Foot corns and calluses.
  • Pain within the balls of your feet—metatarsalgia.
  • Increased chance of falling.
  • Decreased athletic performance.
  • Increased risk of other painful conditions.

Effects of Wearing Shoes That Are Too Big


What Are the Effects of Wearing Shoes That Are Too Big for Your Feet?

Closeup of wound on a toe

While you may not get some of these issues, be prepared to ride the storm of these side-effects from wearing shoes that are too big:

Altering Your Natural Stride

Since your shoes won’t match the natural contours of your feet, you’ll likely subconsciously alter your stride to compensate.

Your heels will keep slipping and send you off balance every time you take a step. This can cause you to overcompensate in other parts of your body, causing knee, back and shoulder pain.

Bunions and Lesser Pain Deformity: Hammertoe

In extreme cases, you may encounter problems such as hammertoes and bunions

Hammertoe affects your joints, especially in your second, third, fourth or fifth toes. The condition makes your joints to bend, causing the toes to curl up instead of lying flat. 

On the other hand, bunions appear like a minor bump at the base of larger toes. The bump is actually a joint jutting outward because of wearing bigger shoes. To prevent these problems, it’s imperative you wear the correct-sized shoes.

Blister Formation

Blisters can occur in many shoes, including sneakers, slides and flats, so don’t think you can avoid them with high-quality shoes. This is because such shoes rub against your feet, causing friction.

If you do insist on wearing oversized shoes, you can mitigate the blister chance with thicker socks. Even so, there’s still a chance the socks will cause the same friction, depending on their quality.

Triggers Foot Corns and Calluses

Foot corns and calluses are those thick and hardened layers of your skin that develop from friction and pressure due to wearing ill-fitting shoes. These problems occur mainly on your feet and toes and, in most cases, they’re unsightly.

Corns are relatively small compared to calluses, and they occur due to excessive pressure on your toes. On the other hand, calluses are of different sizes and shapes and are larger than corns. They occur under your feet and balls when you wear larger shoes for too long.

You can treat corns and calluses by applying a pad over the affected area to reduce the pressure. Also, you can visit a podiatrist for further treatment, although you should be beware of the financial impact!

Causes Metatarsalgia

A large and unsupportive pair of shoes can aggravate metatarsalgia. This is an inflammation and pain in the balls of your feet that can deny you some comfort while walking. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek the right treatment for this problem to prevent serious cases, such as Morton’s toe syndrome.

Increased Chances of Falling

Think about it; walking around in big, floppy shoes is bound to be a hazard since your feet can only feel up to a certain area of the shoe. The rest is a pure hazard.

They may also cause your feet to slide around inside when walking or running, leading to serious falls.

Decreased Athletic Performance

It’s even more important that shoes fit well for exercise for optimal support. Oversized shoes will put more pressure on your calves, reducing performance and increasing the exertion needed.

Due to the physical aspect involved, blisters especially are more likely to occur, impacting current and future athletic performance.

While you can use padding to reduce these effects, it’s only a short-term solution, so ensure you get the right shoe size in the first instance.

Increases the Risks of Other Painful Conditions

Your big shoes are likely to cause foot arch pain, Achilles tendonitis and neuromas.

Arch pain is one of the most common foot concerns, with plantar fasciitis being prevalent. It affects athletes, runners and even those who are less active. This pain occurs in the heel and balls when you wear oversized shoes. 

Achilles tendonitis causes pain at the back of your leg, just near the heel. Although it isn’t related to a specific injury, this condition occurs due to repetitive stress on your tendon. The stress results from pushing your body to do too much in a short time, especially when wearing ill-fitting shoes. 

The neuroma occurs due to compression or irritation of nerves within your legs and feet. This problem is brought about by wearing oversized shoes with tapered toe boxes. High-heeled shoes can also lead to neuroma by causing your toes to fit into a toe box of your shoe. 

Apart from wearing the correct shoe size, you can use padding techniques, orthotic insoles or visiting a doctor to treat the above-mentioned conditions.


How to Find the Correct Shoe Size

If you’re wearing oversize shoes, just know you aren’t alone. A third of men and almost half of women admit to buying shoes that don’t exactly fit them, according to The Wall Street Journal

In this case, you strive to get a solid measurement of each foot before choosing the right shoe size.

What You Need:

  • A piece of paper.
  • Masking tape.
  • Measuring tape or ruler.
  • Pencil or pen.
  • Flat surface.


  1. Grab a piece of rectangular paper.
  2. Attach the rectangular piece of paper to the floor/surface using masking tape.
  3. Place each foot onto the paper while sitting or crouching. Make sure that you’re on a truly flat surface. For better results, avoid carpets.
  4. Trace your foot carefully on the piece of paper using a pen or pencil. 
  5. Remove your foot from the paper and measure their length and width using a ruler or measuring tape.
  6. Once you have the measurements with you, compare them with the shoe size chart from the shoe manufacturer to find the right pair of shoes that will fit you well. You should also check out what shoe width letters mean when getting the correct-sized shoes.

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure to wiggle your feet while wearing your new pair of shoes to create enough room for your toes and achieve a perfect fit.

  • Your feet and toes should be securely in place to avoid slippage while giving you a snuggly feel all over your feet.

  • Always try your new shoes on while wearing a pair of socks to achieve a comfortable fit.


Frequently Asked Questions

Brown boots in the woods

What Should I Do if I Discover That My Shoe Is Too Large?

If you discover that you’ve purchased a pair of shoes that’s larger than your feet, try these hacks:

  • Wearing thick socks or several pairs of stockings to add a few inches of bulk to your feet.
  • Use heel strips, also known as heel grips, instead of insoles.
  • Grab some foot pads for flat shoes and heels, such as for the balls.
  • Adding insoles to your shoes to act as soft padding. 
  • Insert stuffing, such as tissue paper or cotton balls, to fill the extra space inside your shoes.
  • Consult your shoe repair professional or podiatrist to assess and find a lasting solution to the problem.

How Do I Tell That My Shoes Are Too Big?

The best way to know if your shoes are too big is to wear them and walk around for a short while. Doing so will definitely help you tell if your feet are comfortable in those shoes not. It will also help you point out where the shoe doesn’t fit properly.

How Do I Lower the Risk of Blisters on My Feet?

You can lower the risk of blisters on your feet by wearing the correct shoe size. Bear in mind that blisters occur due to friction between your shoe and a certain part of your foot, so wearing an oversized shoe will worsen this situation. 

Also, use a moisture-wicking pair of socks or stockings to avoid the formation of blisters. Should you notice blisters on your feet, make sure to treat and bandage them as soon as they form.

Are Wide Shoes Better?

Wearing wide shoes isn’t better than wearing shoes that are too big. Unfortunately, we go by the shoe length for size more so than the width. Even if you get a shoe that’s the correct length, that doesn’t mean it’ll fit width-ways. You’ll still experience some of the side effects of too big a shoe if it’s too wide.


Final Thoughts

Closeup of a gray sneaker on tarmac

The effects of wearing shoes that are too big range from discomfort to injuries to reduced athletic performance and daily comfort. That’s why wearing shoes that fit properly and snuggly is essential for your wellbeing.

Make sure to take proper measurements of your feet when choosing a new pair of shoes. Apart from that, use accessories, like padding and insoles, to take care of large footwear.

If the situation gets out of hand, consult a podiatrist for more guidance on overcoming footwear problems.


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