Can These Shoes Be Fixed?
November 17, 2012 12:14 PM   Subscribe

I bought some flats. The first time I wore them, they dug into the back of my ankles (on both feet), and made them bleed - it took my feet about two weeks to heal. Is there a way to fix this?

These are the shoes in question (I bought black and beige, and I think they fit properly). I've worn one pair, not worn the other, but since they are from Nordstrom I can return the worn pair without a hassle. But, I like the shoes so I would prefer to keep them if there is an easy, inexpensive fix.

I wore them with bare feet. I plan to wear them both with bare feet and with tights.

posted by insectosaurus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
No, if a shoe bites into your heel, it doesn't fit you.

Unfortunately you have to wear them outside to find this out. You can't tell in advance and you can't fix the problem after you find out about it.
posted by tel3path at 12:19 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had some luck with rubbing a bar of soap across the inside of the heel area. You could try it and test them at home rather than making your heels bleed again (ouch!). Wearing tights should improve things too.
posted by humph at 12:20 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've put moleskin across the inside of the heel with shoes that do this. You can get actual inserts designed for the purpose too. It's so annoying since you can't tell until you walk quite a bit if shoes will do this!
posted by leslies at 12:24 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've used the adhesive heel pads in some shoes and that has helped. It worked best on shoes that just need some time to soften up.
posted by cabingirl at 12:26 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

okay. ALL flats do this to me. my general approach (which has helped immensely) is to take a pair of scissors or a sharp knife and cut a 1/4" slit in the shoe at the heel. for me, the blisters and bleeding come from the top edge of the back of the shoe constantly rubbing against my heel. so, i find that putting a small cut there relieves A LOT of the pressure and makes an otherwise unwearable shoe totally wearable.
posted by LittleKnitting at 12:32 PM on November 17, 2012 [17 favorites]

Seconding adhesive heel grips. I use this brand and they work exceptionally well.
posted by Defying Gravity at 12:38 PM on November 17, 2012

It helps to put a strip of duct tape across any blister-prone spot of skin. The tape sticks pretty tenaciously, and friction hits the tape's smooth surface (which means less friction) plus contact/rubbing is dispersed over the entire surface of the tape, rather than just the tiny point of contact. I've used this solution for long walks/multi-day hikes and it's totally foolproof, if aesthetically unglamorous. You could pair it with stockings as camouflage!
posted by tapir-whorf at 12:45 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could get them stretched at a shoe repair shop.
posted by Carol Anne at 12:56 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

I do what LittleKnitting does. It's the only thing that's worked for me. My flats aren't too tight, the top edge is what gets me.
posted by shrabster at 1:03 PM on November 17, 2012

I've never tried it but I've seen commercials for shoe-stretching spray. It looks like the one on Amazon is just rubbing alcohol.
posted by getawaysticks at 1:09 PM on November 17, 2012

I have very blister-prone heels (and feet in general), so much so that I hardly ever go barefoot in flats anymore. A socks/tights/nylons barrier between shoes and feet makes all the difference.

When I absolutely must go barefoot in flats (like with my summery floral-print ones), I moleskin or duct-tape or bandage my heels and other blister-prone parts (before I get blisters, obviously) and use those Dr. Scholl's gel inserts on the heel part.

It's not the shoe fitting poorly for me, either. I'm very careful about shopping for sandals because I blister like a mofo and not just on my heels, and having my feet criss-crossed all over by moleskin and tape isn't the fashion statement I want to make. It's just the way my skin is - I have fair, soft skin that doesn't like friction (I wind-burn easily too). Some people are just more blister-prone.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:16 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

It'll help if you soften them up: fold the end of the shoe down onto itself and stomp it/grind it with your heel.
posted by Specklet at 1:31 PM on November 17, 2012

My method for breaking in flats:

Fill a ziplock bag with water.

Insert in shoe, making sure the water sits in the problem area (such as the heel).

Stick in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

If it still doesn't fit after this, do it another 24 hours.
posted by toerinishuman at 1:45 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

All flats do this to me to some degree. Things that have helped include adhesive heel pads and duct tape on my heel. They make clear duct tape which helps with the not-looking-ridiculous angle.
posted by quaking fajita at 1:57 PM on November 17, 2012

I'd like to second Carol Anne. If you take shoes to a cobbler, they should be able to stretch/alter them to fit you better.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:07 PM on November 17, 2012

This clear tape is available at drugstores under the name Nexcare Flexible Clear or 3M Transpore. I used it with sandals that gave me blisters along the side but couldn't be stretched because of the way they were sewn. They protected the blisters I already had and helped my feet get used to the shoes so I didn't get them in the first place. And the tape really didn't come off.
posted by Madamina at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2012

Adhesive heel pads fix this problem for me. I put them as close to the top edge of the heel cup as I can, to hold the edge away from my skin.
posted by keep it under cover at 2:58 PM on November 17, 2012

I always use Dr Scholl's moleskin. You adhere it to the shoe where it rubs your ankle. It works like a charm.
posted by shoesietart at 3:22 PM on November 17, 2012

Leather might stretch over time. I put a thick-ish bandage on my heel to provide some padding while that's happening. (Be careful with your socks, if you use thin socks, tights, or hose rubbing shoes can chew right through them at the heel.)
posted by anaelith at 4:28 PM on November 17, 2012

You got them at Nordstrom? Well, the shoe department there can help you out with this. They've got a whole bunch of doodads at their disposal for making shoes fit. A couple of times I've bought shoes there and gone to return them because they hurt me, and they've taken them in the back and stretched them, or put various kinds of pads in them, or gripper strips, or whatever. If you go this route, then you won't have to pay for this stuff, either (or at least I didn't).
posted by HotToddy at 4:34 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am also quite fond of this balm in conjunction with moleskin in the heel.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:54 PM on November 17, 2012

Yes, all flats do this to me, and I use adhesive heel pads. Because they peel off, I often superglue them inside my shoes (or glue them with clear nailpolish actually since that's usually what I actually have on-hand.)
posted by stoneandstar at 7:04 PM on November 17, 2012

The only solution I have that has worked for me is to NOT buy hard backed heeled flats. If the back of a shoe is stiff, I can't buy them. My feet blister and don't get calluses and wearing those shoes is like deliberately slicing my heels with an Exacto blade. The adhesive heel pads sound great, and moleskin works for some things (i.e. toes), but in both cases they've never worked to fix the heel problem because my feet will sweat, the moleskin will stop sticking and creep down into the shoe, and the adhesive heel pads also start slipping and creeping down into the shoe.

I am curious about this slicing the heel idea, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:29 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've had this problem in the past to some extent... if it's just the nature of the shoe that's causing a blister, then just wear footed tights. If it's actually cutting in like a C-shape, then it's probably too small. Try stretching it with the techniques suggested above.
posted by Hawk V at 7:40 PM on November 17, 2012

and for already formed blisters, I found these bandages were awesome in protecting the blistered area.
posted by calgirl at 12:25 AM on November 18, 2012

I can't find a pair of shoes that doesn't injure me in some way, and I just spent three weeks wearing in a new pair of docs. My no-fail go-to is to wear blister plasters for the first fortnight or so, after which the leather's stretched enough for it not to be an issue. I did this with the docs this month and they didn't hurt me at all (YAY!) They're pricey, but then no bleeding or blisters that last for weeks.
posted by everydayanewday at 2:45 AM on November 18, 2012

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