Can a Cobbler Make Shoes Smaller?

I know how much struggle and pain it is when you order shoes online with all your soul and then find it to be ill-fitted. The returning process is quite tough for used shoes and sometimes not possible too.

While there are many ways to make the shoes bigger like using a shoe stretcher, or conditioning the leather for some days, tucking wet towels and newspaper in the shoe, wearing it with thick socks, etc., the process of making the shoes smaller seems impossible and bizzare!

Through my mistakes of ordering the wrong shoe size a number of times and dealing with the online sites with no fruitful results, I finally managed to find out some great ways to make shoes smaller and I thought why not share the same with you guys, might be you too are facing the same problem!

Can a Cobbler Make Shoes Smaller

The problem with my feet is they are too small for the average people of my age and it’s hard to find shoes that fit exactly to my feet. I am a size 6.5 (according to US shoe sizing charts).

But the size 6 seems too tight for my feet and the size 7 runs too big. So, I always end up buying the size 7 for my shoes hoping that they will be comfortable and I will manage to size them down with some thick socks.

Wearing thick socks, heel liners, insoles, etc, are some of the ways that helped me out, but there were instances where I had to take my shoes to the cobbler for a complete change of the size and he used his tools and equipment to make my shoes smaller.

1.) Inserting heel liners can make the shoe size smaller:

The problem with me is that most of my shoes are loose and the heel of my feet come out when I walk. This is really very annoying and wearing thick socks in summer to tackle this problem is just not my cup of it.

Therefore, I found an alternative and no doubt the best hack for it and that’s inserting a heel liner at the back (inside) of the shoes. This decreases the size of the shoes and holds my heel in place and does not allow the heel to slip out while walking.

Heel Liners for Shoes

You can insert multiple heel liners (one on the other) until you have achieved the perfect shoe size that holds tight your feet inside the shoes.

2.) Inserting shoe insoles can make the shoe size smaller:

Shoe insoles not only give you additional comfort, but also decrease the space inside the shoes including the length as there is a slight uplifted part on the heels of the insoles.

So, inserting an insole fills up a considerable amount of space thus providing you a tight feel inside the shoes.

3.) Wearing additional socks or a thick pair of socks is the easiest way to make the shoe size smaller:

If it’s winter, you can very comfortably wear a thick pair of socks to decrease the space inside your shoes, but if the weather is hot, wearing multiple layers of cotton socks will do the work equally good.

How do cobblers make shoes smaller?

The mentioned ways are for a quick fix at home, but are not permanent solutions to fix the shoe sizes. For a permanent solution, you need to rush to the cobblers so that they can fix the problem for targeted areas using their specialized tools and equipment.

1. Decreasing the size of the heels

You might feel that your shoe has some extra height in the heels which is not necessary at all, rather giving you pain in the feet.

For this, you definitely need a cobbler. He will use his knife, scrapers and sandpaper to cut the he of the shoes and make it smaller in height.

2. Decreasing the space in the heel area of the shoes

While heel liners can save you temporarily, yet cobblers have special gel pads that they stick on the inside of the heel areas of the shoes along with specialized glue so that the gel pads stick to the shoes permanently.

They will check the size of your feet and choose the best match or cut out some extra parts of the gel pads and do the work accordingly.

3. Decreasing the space inside the shoes

Sometimes you just do not need a full insole to fix the problem. The problem might be specific that is either the heel of your foot or the arch or the tongue pad area might need a decrease in space and for that you need a cobbler.

He will check the problem area and cut out part from the insoles and will insert on that particular part of the shoes.

4. Decreasing area in the toe box

Yes, a cobbler can take out the toe box entirely and insert a new toe box for your shoes after checking your requirements of either the length or the width of the toe box.

DIY hacks to make shoes smaller?

Want some DIY hacks? Yes, I have that too in store for you:

1. Inserting tissue papers to make shoes smaller

When you have nothing in hand, just grab some tissue paper and insert it at the front (inside) of the toe box. This will cover some space inside the shoes and make the shoe size smaller for you.

2. Inserting socks to make shoes smaller

Instead of tissue papers, you can also roll up cotton socks and insert it inside the shoes.

3. Wearing toe caps to make shoes smaller

Toe caps are readily available on or you can buy them from a local store as well. Wearing toe caps will decrease the space in the toe box and give you a snug and comfortable fit.

4. Inserting tongue pads to make shoes smaller

Sometimes adding an extra padding to the tongue area does the job as it allows to fill up some space inside the uppers of the feet and when you then tie the laces, they give you the desired fit of the shoes.

And it’s a wrap!

Not all problems can be tackled at home and especially when it comes to decreasing the size of the shoes!

For this, cobblers are our saviors!

But remember, a cobbler can only make the shoes smaller to a size down and not more than that. He can make a size 7 shoe decrease to size 6 but not size 5!

And if you want to size half a size down, it’s better to use gel grip pads or liners instead of rushing to a cobbler.

That’s all folks to today. Hope you benefited from this post. If so, do recommend us to friends and family so that we can be of some help to them as well.

Till then, take care and have a great day ahead!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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