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How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing the Back of Your Ankle?

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle

Nothing is more exciting than rocking your new shoes until you find yourself with a shoe bite. A shoe bite, otherwise known as a blister, is caused by your shoes rubbing on back of ankle.

Shoes rub back of heel and cause friction that can be painful, especially when they are ill-fitting. The topline shape or lining’s material can also contribute to the worsening of the blisters.

The good news is, that you won’t have to deal with blisters anymore. There are several ways and hacks on how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle. Read below.

Tips to Stop Shoes From Rubbing the Back of Your Ankle

Tip #1: Finding Shoes That Fit


Finding well-fitting shoes is probably the first step to stop shoes rubbing the back of your heel. It’s almost a given that really tight shoes can cause friction, but loose shoes can also slip and rub against your heel.

This being said, preventing shoe bites begins with shoe shopping.

Aside from knowing your shoe size, you should also consider the shape of the shoes you want to buy. Certain shoe shapes, especially in women’s shoes, can cause discomfort.

More so, if you find that one of your feet is bigger, you should choose the shoes that fit the large one.

Lastly, choose the shoes that correspond to the particular activity you intend to wear them to. Wearing the wrong shoes for a specific activity can lead you to many possible injuries, including blisters. You may also consider consulting experts or specialist shops to help you find the perfect shoes for you.

Tip #2: Breaking In Your Shoes

Despite the measurement, brand, and materials used, new shoes can be really stiff, and wearing them can be uncomfortable and, worse, painful.

But why do you have to break in shoes that rub your ankle? Breaking in allows the shoe materials to become softer and to mold properly to your feet.

Breaking in your shoes requires you to wear your shoes gradually—this process can take a long time and still cause discomfort. Therefore, here are some of the hacks you can try to make this process faster and less painful:

  • Using Chunky Socks

Chunky socks not only protect the back of heel rubbing from shoes, but also expands the shoes due to their bulk.

  • Hairdryer

This hack works best for leather shoes. Applying heat to your shoes with the hairdryer for about one minute will help soften the shoes before you wear them.

  • Ice Bags

If your shoes are not made of leather, then you can expand your shoes using cold. Insert water-filled freezer bags in your shoes and allow them to freeze. The shoes will expand as the water turns into ice.

Tip #3: Wearing Socks


Socks are not only helpful when breaking into your shoes. Wearing socks is arguably the best way to lessen friction and protect the back of ankle rubbing shoes. By wearing socks, the shoes do not directly rub against your skin.

In this regard, you should wear long enough socks to cover the back of your ankle.

You also have to ensure that your socks are made of the right fabric with thickness to reduce friction.

Moreover, suppose you are going to wear your shoes for certain activities such as running or hiking. In that case, it is recommended to wear thicker socks or double layers of socks.

The thick socks will make the fit of your shoes a little bit snug, thus, reducing the friction. By increasing the thickness of the socks, you are also increasing your protection from shoes hurting back of ankle.

Tip #4: Using Insoles


Insoles or inner soles are the tongue-like material that you can find inside shoes, and they contribute to the fit and support provided by the shoes.

However, the built-in insoles are not one-size-fits-all, and their thickness can affect the tightness or looseness of the shoes.

Insoles are replaceable; therefore, you can decrease the friction of manipulating the fit of the shoes by replacing the insoles. You can use thinner insoles to make your shoes looser or thick ones to make them tighter.

Additionally, some insoles are used to increase the height of the heels. And the back of the heel has little to no contact with the shoes.

The good news, replacements are widely available in the market. If you can’t find insoles that fit you well, you can consult a podiatrist and consider getting custom-made insoles.

However, custom insoles are on the pricey side.

Tip# 5 Using tapes or Using pads

Another popular method to prevent shoes from cutting ankle is using tapes or pads. They are less bulky compared to socks and insoles.

Thus, pads and tapes prevent the back of shoes rubbing ankle without changing the overall fit of the shoes. This method is perfect if wearing heels.

Here are the following materials you can use:

  • Moleskin tape

Moleskin tape is a durable and heavy piece of cotton fabric that is good for preventing back of ankle rubbing in shoes. It is self-adhesive and does not easily slip compared to other tapes.

You can use moleskin to tape your shoe insole and counter lining, or to tape on to your skin directly.

  • Gel heel strips/pads

Gel heel strips are also durable. They have a cooling effect that is great in relieving pain from shoe hurting back of ankle.

Gel heel strips are usually inserted as counter linings of the shoes.

  • Kinesiology (KT) Tape

KT is made out of cotton and nylon. Made to support athletic movements, it has a strong adhesive and does not easily wear off. Like moleskin tape, you can also tape your shoes’ lining or your skin.


There are so many ways on how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle. All you have to do is to try them and see what works well for you.

Shoes rubbing on back of ankle can cause pain, and almost no one is exempted from it. Being knowledgeable about hacks for shoes that rub the back of the ankle can save you from the great ordeal of having shoe bites or blisters. Although there are a lot of products that are formulated to treat blisters, prevention is still better than cure.

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