Prev Next

How to Prevent Overhanging Toes in Open-Toed Shoes

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
This may just be the dumbest question ever but I’m also hoping it therefore has a simple solution! When I wear open-toed shoes my feet tend to sort of… slide forward in the shoe? So that my toes hang off the edge a little bit? I don’t know if it’s because my toes are kinda long or maybe I need to wear a smaller size, but I never see other girls with toes hanging off the tips of their shoes and I, too, want to be classy like that. I buy my normal shoe-size and things go well for the first few steps and then.. pfft. It’s over. Any advice?

You want a simple solution? As in, a singular solution instead of me just tossing out half a dozen ideas in the hopes that one of them is sort of vaguely the right one? MAN, are you hanging around the wrong advice column.
Oh, I kid. (And also, there are no dumb questions about shoes. None! Never!)
Seriously, though, there could be many reasons your feet are sliding and many solutions to stop the problem. The first one, of course, is that you are in fact buying the wrong size shoe. This is USUALLY the cause for unsightly toe problems. It kind of amazes me that as grown-ups, we often assume that our feet never change in size and never think to double-check and get re-measured. Instead we keep buying that same shoe size we’ve been buying since the 10th grade. But our feet can change, particularly after pregnancy, or if your job requires lots and lots of years of standing. Hell, I swear my feet go up a half size every summer and then back to a smaller size each winter.
So it might not hurt to grab one of those metal foot-measurer thingies and make sure you really are buying the right size. It could be that you are buying a half-size too big, after just being used to having a little extra room in casual shoes like sneakers or loafers — you know, the kind of shoe your foot can slide around in a tad without getting crazy blisters. (I know women who have hated hated HATED heels because of the rubbing and blisters…and it turned out they were buying them too big because at some point they simply assumed their feet were bigger than they were, once they passed the age where the nice shoe person at Stride Rite was poking their toes and checking their heels.) Is your foot on the narrow side, perhaps, so even though you’re wearing the right LENGTH of shoe, your foot is sliding around because you’re in the wrong WIDTH?
And then there’s also variations in shoe types and brands — I usually try on every size between a 7 and an 8 in a lot of shoes, and I own shoes in all three size options. Heels are different than flats, European shoes are different than U.S. brands, expensive shoes are different than the cheap ones. If your toes slide forward after a few steps, kick them off and see if a half-size smaller has the same problem.
If it does, or if the smaller size is unbearably tight, then YES. It’s entirely possible that the toe overhang is simply a quirk in your particular foot. Solutions? Opt for peep-toe (a small opening that just exposes the center two or three toes) over open-toe (the entire toe line is exposed). And try adding grips to the inside of your shoes — you can get open-toe-friendly adhesive grips for just the balls of your feet or for your full insole. I used the full version for a pair of heels that just had a weirdly slippery insole that caused my foot to slide forward and smush the hell out of my toes, and thought they worked quite admirably.


About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon