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Stopping Scratchy Shoes

By Amalah

O Wise Shoe Guru,
I have a brand new pair of beautiful black Anne Taylor heels. I love them so! However, they are scratchy, on the inside. I can’t wear them with pantyhose or they pull and rip them. They are completely comfortable and I thought that I found my new winter shoe.The only part that is bad is the edge. Is there any way to soften the part that sits around your ankle area so that it won’t pull at your hosiery? They are expensive-ish shoes and I hate to never wear them, but I also hate to ruin a pair of knee highs, or thigh highs or normal old pantyhose every time I wear them.
Help me salvage these shoes from a dusty life in the back of my closet!
Scratchy Ankles

Moleskin_Plus_Padding.gifUgh. Hate shoes like that. My ankles are soooo sensitive to scratchy seams like the ones you described — forget hosiery, they rip my skin to shreds and ow. Ow! I always rub my finger around the inside of the shoe before I buy it (or right after it arrives all shiny and new from Zappos), and if I notice any raised seams or bumps along the ankle, they go right back from whence they came. It’s usually a sign of a defect or just a poorly-made shoe.
But! I know how true shoe love can make you blind to defects or wear a shoe that you know will only hurt you in a few hours. It’s like my relationship with Ikea, I suppose. I just went there this weekend and spent a fortune on a lumpy sleeper sofa and curtain holdbacks that don’t actually hold my curtains back and the glass in the RIBBA frame cracked when I tried to insert a picture but oh my God, I got the cutest barstools for my kitchen. Jason says they are wobbly, but I think that’s just because he’s fat.
Two suggestions for you and your asshole shoes:
1) Try sanding down the scratchy parts with an emery board or even some sandpaper. If it’s excess material or mis-aligned leather that’s causing the problem, I think this should help.
2) If that doesn’t work, try some moleskin. It’s very thin, fleecy soft cotton with adhesive on the back. Dr. Scholl’s makes it. I’m not sure how well it would stick to the outside of pantyhose, but you could possibly use it on the actual shoe. Basically MacGuyver-up your own non-scratchy shoe lining.
If NEITHER of these ideas work, take the shoes to a cobbler and explain the problem. Although I bet the first thing they’ll try is some sandpaper, but perhaps an experienced shoe sandpaper-er — one who is not blinded by shoe love and is willing to get a little rough and slap those shoes around a little bit — might be able to help.

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.

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  • Kathryn

    September 5, 2007 at 11:52 am

    ooh, I just discovered the wonders of moleskin this weekend! My feet are also really sensitive to any sort of rubbing (even with very well-made shoes), so I rely on those Band-Aid blister thingies too much. I finally got sick of that, and decided to line a problematic area of my favorite black pumps with moleskin. Cut, stick, and voila–happy feet!
    It worked so well, I’m in the process of lining all of the blister-causing areas of all of my shoes. This could be a lengthy chore.

  • Laura

    September 5, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Amalah, I can’t believe you answered my question! I am too excited! Any way, I never heard of the moleskin, but I will certainly dash out to get some. Thanks and give Noah kisses for me; he is too cute!

  • Erin

    September 6, 2007 at 11:49 am

    I’ve also had luck brushing clear nail polish over the scratchy ankle park of shoes–it seems to seal the offending parts.
    But the moleskin looks like it may even work better. I’m going to try it!

  • CherBear

    January 4, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you so much for these suggestions! I just tried the sand paper!!