Problems Caused by Tight Shoes

Did you know wearing tight shoes can be a nightmare for your feet? We all like our shoes to fit snugly, but if they are too tight, you may be causing some serious damage to your feet. 

From bruised toenails to bunions, here are some of the warning signs that your shoes may be too tight.

Common tight shoe problems

It’s important to know what to look for if you’re worried you may be wearing the wrong size shoe. Over time, small issues you may have noticed will almost definitely become worse. Here are some of the tell-tale foot problems tight shoe wearers may experience: 


We’ve all had blisters in our lives. But if you’re getting them fairly often, it could be because your shoes are rubbing as they are too small. The little fluid-filled pockets are annoying but are easily fixed with some blister plasters. However, don’t think that will solve the problem long-term. Blisters could be an early warning sign of more serious foot-related problems in the future.


A callus is a dry and rough patch of skin on your foot. It is usually on bits of your feet that deal with a lot of pressure and friction – like the heel and the ball of your foot. It’s fairly easy to treat, a simple foot soak every now and then will keep the skin moisturised. If you have persistent calluses, it’s worth making an appointment with a chiropodist for a more intensive treatment.


Bunions are the swelling of the bone and or tissue at the joint of the big toe. It may be a genetics thing, but bunions are also a classic sign that someone is wearing shoes that are too tight. If left untreated, the big toe could start to turn inwards which causes more pain.

Hammer toe

Hammer toe can happen as the toes begin to curl as opposed to being flat. This is because your feet are being pushed inwards by the top of the shoe. It can be really painful and make your feet look misshapen. In some extreme cases, you may even need surgery to fix the problem. However, some everyday solutions include wearing shoes that are wider at the top and wearing toe splints can help.


Corns are similar to callouses, they are hard, dry patches of skin and tend to appear on or between the toes. They can be painful if left alone. You can pick up corn plasters at your local supermarket or pharmacy to help stop the rubbing.

How tight should shoes be?

As a general rule, the ball of your foot should comfortably fit in the widest part of the shoe. That means there isn’t a huge gap between the tops of the shoe and your toes, and your foot isn’t trying to bulge out at the sides. The heel should have a little bit of wiggle room to allow for movement. Although, there shouldn’t be too much room or else you’ll simply fall out of your shoe!

If you’re worried your shoes may be too tight, you can check yourself at home. Put on your shoes and place your index fingers between your heel and the heel of the shoe. It should fit nicely without being too tight or too loose. If you are really having to try to get your finger in the space, your shoes are probably too tight for you.

At the top of your shoe, place your thumb horizontally between your toe and the top of the shoe. There should be a thumbs width of space between your big toe and the top of the shoe to allow for a bit of movement. If your toes are closer than that, or even touching the top, you are wearing shoes that are too small.

In terms of the width of your shoe, your feet should roughly match the same size. So, if your feet are pushing out at the side of the shoes, you may need something wider. Wide-fit shoes have come on in leaps and bounds and there is now just as much choice of wide shoes as there are average shoes. So, don’t worry about not having many options!

What to do is shoes are too tight?

If your shoes are too tight, you’ll want to look into buying some new ones as soon as you can. Good quality shoes don’t need to be expensive either. So long as they are comfortable and you like them, that’s all that matters.

It’s probably a good idea to go and get your feet properly measured if you can. If not, you can still find the right size at home. Here’s how:

  1. Get a piece of paper and a pencil or pen.
  2. Sit on a chair and put your foot on the paper. Don’t apply too much pressure, or else the paper will crease.
  3. Draw around your foot. Don’t worry about the individual toes, just draw around the perimeter.
  4. Using a ruler, measure the length of your tracing from the heel to the top of the longest toe. If you’re working in inches, subtract 0.20 to 0.25 for an accurate measurement.
  5. For the width, use a tape measure and wrap it around the widest part of your foot. Don’t wrap it too tight, keep it nice and neutral.

Once you’ve got your measurements, you’ll be able to tell if your current shoes are too small. More often than not it’s the width of your feet that are most common cause of tight shoes. If you suffer from swollen feet or require an extra wide fit Easy Fit have a range of comfortable shoes available up to 6E fit, the widest on the market, all whilst not compromising in style.

You may not think that wearing tight shoes is an issue. But as we’ve just found out, there are actually lots of little, small problems that can happen gradually over time. That’s why it’s important to check in with your shoes every now and then to keep your feet in tip-top shape.

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