How To Stop Shoes From Gapping On The Sides

Do your shoes gap open on the sides when you walk? This unsightly shoe gap can be annoying and ruin the look of your favorite kicks. Luckily, there are several easy solutions to stop shoe gapping for good.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Use shoelaces, inserts, or tape to take up excess space and prevent your shoes from gaping open on the sides.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why shoes gap, how to find the right shoe size, and provide step-by-step instructions for quick shoe gap fixes and long-term solutions to keep your shoes fitting smoothly.

What Causes Shoes to Gap Open on the Sides?

When it comes to shoes, a gap opening on the sides can be quite frustrating. Not only does it affect the appearance of the shoes, but it can also lead to discomfort and blisters. Understanding the reasons behind this issue can help you take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening.

Here are some common causes of shoes gapping open on the sides:

Poor Fit

One of the main culprits behind shoes gaping open on the sides is a poor fit. If the shoes are too wide or too narrow for your feet, they may not sit snugly against the sides of your foot, resulting in gaps.

This can be especially common for individuals with narrow or wide feet, as finding the right fit can be a challenge.

To prevent this issue, it’s essential to measure your feet accurately and choose shoes that correspond to your measurements. Trying on shoes before purchasing them can also help ensure a proper fit. Additionally, opting for brands that offer different width options can be beneficial for those with specific foot shapes.

Wearing Down of Materials

Over time, the materials used in shoes can wear down, leading to gaps on the sides. This is especially true for shoes made from synthetic materials or those with a lower quality construction. The constant pressure and friction from walking can cause the materials to stretch or weaken, resulting in gaps.

To prevent this issue, investing in high-quality shoes made from durable materials can make a significant difference. Leather, for example, is known for its durability and ability to mold to the shape of the foot, reducing the chances of gaps forming on the sides.

Shoe Construction

The way a shoe is constructed can also contribute to gaps opening on the sides. Shoes with a poor design or construction may not provide enough support or structure, causing the sides to separate. This can be particularly common in shoes with weak or inadequate stitching or those with seams that are not properly reinforced.

When purchasing shoes, it’s important to pay attention to the construction details. Look for shoes with secure stitching, reinforced seams, and sturdy construction overall. This will help ensure that the shoes maintain their shape and structure, minimizing the chances of gaps appearing on the sides.

By understanding the causes behind shoes gaping open on the sides, you can take proactive measures to prevent this issue. Remember to prioritize a proper fit, invest in high-quality materials, and pay attention to the construction of the shoes you choose.

Doing so will not only help keep your shoes looking great but also ensure your comfort and foot health.

Finding the Right Shoe Size

One of the main reasons why shoes gap on the sides is because they are not the right size for your feet. Finding the right shoe size is crucial to ensure a proper fit and prevent any discomfort or gaps. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect fit:

Measure Your Feet

Start by measuring your feet using a foot measuring device or a measuring tape. Measure both the length and width of your feet, as these measurements can vary. It’s important to measure your feet regularly, as foot size can change over time. When measuring, make sure to stand up straight and distribute your weight evenly on both feet.

This will give you the most accurate measurements.

Consider Width Sizing

In addition to length, width is another important factor to consider when finding the right shoe size. Some people have narrow feet, while others have wider feet. If you tend to have wider feet, look for shoes that come in different width sizes such as narrow (N), regular (R), wide (W), or extra wide (XW). This will help you find a shoe that fits comfortably without any gaps on the sides.

Try Shoes On In-Store

When shopping for shoes, it’s always a good idea to try them on in-store. This will give you the opportunity to physically see how the shoes fit and if there are any gaps on the sides. Walk around the store and pay attention to any discomfort or areas where the shoe may be too loose. Remember to try on both shoes and walk around for a few minutes to get a better sense of the fit.

Order Multiple Sizes Online

If you prefer to shop online, ordering multiple sizes can help increase your chances of finding the right fit and reducing the chances of gaps on the sides of the shoes. Check the return policy of the online retailer to ensure you can easily return or exchange the shoes if they don’t fit. This way, you can try on different sizes in the comfort of your own home and return the ones that don’t fit properly.

Remember, finding the right shoe size is essential for a comfortable fit and to prevent any gaps on the sides. By measuring your feet, considering width sizing, trying shoes on in-store, or ordering multiple sizes online, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect fit and saying goodbye to shoe gaps.

Quick Fixes for Gapping Shoes

Use the Shoelaces

One quick fix for gapping shoes is to adjust the laces properly. Start by loosening the laces near the toe area and tightening them towards the top of the shoe. This will help to secure your feet better and reduce any gaps on the sides.

Additionally, you can try using different lacing techniques, such as the “gap lacing” method, which involves skipping a few eyelets to create a tighter fit. This can be especially helpful for shoes with a wider toe box or for those with narrow feet.

Insert Pads or Tongue Pads

If adjusting the laces doesn’t solve the gapping issue, you can try using pads or tongue pads. These can be inserted into the shoe to fill the gap and provide a snugger fit. You can find various types of pads in the market, such as gel pads or foam pads, which can be easily placed inside the shoe.

These pads not only help to eliminate the gap on the sides but also provide additional comfort and support for your feet. Make sure to position the pads correctly to target the specific area where the gap is occurring.

Use Fashion Tape

If you’re dealing with a stubborn gap that just won’t go away, fashion tape can be a game-changer. Fashion tape is a double-sided adhesive tape that is commonly used in the fashion industry to prevent wardrobe malfunctions.

To use it for gapping shoes, simply place a strip of tape on the inside of the shoe where the gap is occurring, and press it firmly onto your foot. This will help to hold your foot in place and prevent any sliding or movement that could cause the gap.

Just make sure to remove the tape carefully to avoid any damage to the shoe.

Remember, these quick fixes are temporary solutions and may not work for all types of shoes or foot shapes. If you’re experiencing persistent gapping issues, it’s recommended to consult a professional shoe fitter or consider getting custom-made shoes that are tailored to your specific foot measurements.

Long-Term Solutions for Gapping Shoes

Dealing with shoes that gap on the sides can be frustrating and uncomfortable. However, there are several long-term solutions that can help alleviate this problem. Here are some effective methods to consider:

Add Insoles for More Volume

One solution to stop shoes from gapping on the sides is to add insoles for more volume. Insoles can help fill up the empty space inside the shoe, providing a snugger fit. Look for insoles that are specifically designed to add volume and prevent shoes from slipping off.

These can be found in most shoe stores or online retailers. By adding insoles, you can reduce the gap and improve the overall fit of your shoes.

Use Gel Inserts

Gel inserts are another great option to prevent shoes from gapping. These inserts are made of a soft gel material that molds to the shape of your foot, providing added support and cushioning. Gel inserts can be placed at the sides of the shoes to fill in the gaps and create a tighter fit.

They are comfortable to wear and can be easily transferred between different pairs of shoes. Gel inserts are widely available and can be found in drugstores, supermarkets, and online.

Consider Proper Orthotics

If you have persistent issues with shoes gapping on the sides, it may be worth considering proper orthotics. Orthotics are custom-made inserts that are designed to address specific foot issues and improve overall foot alignment.

They can help correct any imbalances in your feet that may be causing shoes to gap. A podiatrist or orthopedic specialist can assess your feet and recommend the appropriate orthotics for your needs. While orthotics may be more expensive than other solutions, they can provide long-term relief and prevent future shoe fitting problems.

Get the Shoes Professionally Stretched

If none of the previous solutions work, you can try getting your shoes professionally stretched. Shoe repair shops or cobblers have the tools and expertise to stretch shoes and make them wider. They can target specific areas of the shoe, such as the sides, to reduce or eliminate the gap.

Keep in mind that not all materials can be stretched, so it’s essential to consult with a professional before proceeding. Additionally, stretching may alter the overall shape and fit of the shoe, so it’s important to consider this before making a decision.

By implementing these long-term solutions, you can effectively stop shoes from gapping on the sides and enjoy a more comfortable and secure fit. Remember to choose the option that best suits your needs and consult with professionals if necessary. Don’t let shoe gaps dampen your style and confidence!

When to Let Go of Gapping Shoes

One of the most frustrating problems that shoe wearers face is when their shoes start to gap on the sides. Not only does it look unattractive, but it can also cause discomfort and even lead to foot problems.

Knowing when to let go of gapping shoes is essential for maintaining foot health and ensuring optimal comfort. Here are some signs that it’s time to say goodbye to those gapping shoes:

1. Significant Gap

If there is a significant gap between your foot and the shoe on the sides, it’s a clear indication that the shoes are too big for you. This can happen due to various reasons, such as incorrect sizing or stretching of the shoe over time.

Regardless of the cause, wearing shoes that are too big can lead to instability and increase the risk of tripping or falling. It’s best to replace them with properly fitting shoes to avoid any potential accidents.

2. Frequent Slipping

If you find yourself constantly slipping out of your shoes, it’s time to bid farewell to them. This slipping can occur when the shoes are too wide and fail to provide the necessary support and grip. Not only does it make walking uncomfortable, but it can also lead to blisters and other foot-related issues.

Look for shoes with a snug fit that securely hold your feet in place, preventing any slipping or sliding.

3. Worn Out Insoles

Another reason for shoes to gap on the sides is worn-out insoles. Over time, the cushioning and support provided by the insoles can deteriorate, causing the shoes to lose their shape and fit. If you notice that the insoles of your shoes have become flattened or compressed, it’s a sign that they need to be replaced.

Worn-out insoles not only contribute to shoe gapping but can also lead to foot pain and discomfort.

4. Pain or Discomfort

If you experience pain or discomfort while wearing shoes that gap on the sides, it’s a clear indication that they are not providing the necessary support for your feet. This can lead to various foot problems, including arch pain, heel pain, and even bunions.

It’s important to prioritize your foot health and opt for shoes that fit properly and offer proper support. Don’t compromise on comfort, as it can have long-term consequences for your feet.

Remember, your shoes should fit snugly and securely without any significant gaps on the sides. If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, it’s time to let go of those gapping shoes and invest in new ones that provide the right fit and support for your feet.


Shoe gapping can be annoying, but thankfully there are many DIY tricks and long-term solutions to stop it for good. With the right fit, inserts, and shoe care, you can prevent excess space and keep your shoes fitting smoothly.

Stop shoe gapping in its tracks and flaunt your footwear with confidence using the tips in this comprehensive guide.

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