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How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing the Back of Your Ankle? – 5 Useful Tips

Fact checked by A. Thompson

how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle

Online shopping for shoes has become the norm, as it saves us time and even money with multiple coupons and discounts. Unfortunately, it occurs more often than many want to admit, that their shoes come in a stiffer material than they expect, or the size is a tad too small.

Shoe digging into heel is also a frequent occurrence, even when we have already tried the pair at the store. Putting it on for a few minutes is different from walking for hours inside it.

So, how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle? Below are some easy tips to bring back comfort for your feet.

Hacks for Shoes That Rub Your Ankle


1. Use moleskin


High-heeled shoes causing blisters on back of heel is a painful yet familiar issue for many of us. It gets worse when we spend most of the work day walking around, suffering from major bruises.

Tight running shoes can also hurt our ankles badly due to the significant amount of friction from jogging and sprinting.

In such cases, using moleskin is highly recommended. This product can prevent blisters by reducing friction and mitigate discomfort if you already have cuts and bruises.

Here’s how you utilize these pieces to alleviate the pain and stop shoes from rubbing achilles:

  • Cut the moleskin, which often comes in a roll or small rectangular piece, so it’s twice as large as the chafing skin on your feet.

You can cut two or three pieces for layering a thicker protection barrier.

  • Now, you need to create a small hole that’s as big as the blister mark. This hole prevents the moleskin from sticking onto your cut skin.

It’s easy to just fold the piece in half and cut a half-moon piece out of its center area. Like that, you have your rectangular moleskin with a round hole in the middle.

If you intend to apply more than one moleskin piece, create the same holes on all of them.

  • Next, you should clean your feet before applying the moleskin. Use warm water to gently clean the blister and let your feet dry.
  • Finally, take off the moleskin’s backing to reveal the adhesive. Now, stick the piece onto your foot and make sure not to have any adhesion on the blister mark.

You can also stick the moleskin on your tight shoes, especially in the areas where it tends to rub against your skin.

2. Use heel grips

These items act as an extra soft and thick layer standing between our skin and the rough shoe. Adding one of these pieces will reduce friction significantly, thus avoiding shoe scraping back of ankle.

Heel grips are widely used by many as they often come with an ergonomic structure that replicates our heel’s contours. They are usable on high heels, running sneakers, work boots, and more.

It’s rather simple to utilize this convenient piece to prevent shoes from cutting ankle:

  • Use a small wet towel to clean the inside of your shoes. Make sure to remove all the dust stuck on the surface and let the shoes dry.
  • Take out the heel grips, which come with one adhesive side. Peel off the backing on the pieces.
  • Place the grips onto the interior of the shoes where they scratch against your feet. You can add them at different locations with rough edges.
  • Press the grips again with your fingers to ensure they stick just right. Make sure to smooth the upper edge of the piece. Then, you are good to go!

3. Use blister padscushions 6p


Using pads is another recommended method to avoid shoes rubbing back of heel and painful blisters. These gel pads are often made transparent, thus, ideal for use with high heels.

You should choose waterproof gels for comfortable wear without worrying about moisture, sweat, or rain peeling them off.

Using these pieces is as easy as peeling off the adhesive side and sticking them onto your ankle or any part of the skin often scratched by the shoe.

4. Stretch the shoes


Sometimes, our shoe hurts back of foot, toes, or ankles, mostly because it is brand-new and stiff, especially leather pairs. Therefore, we should seek ways to stretch the footwear without damaging

  • Wear thick socks and walk around

its form or materials.

One of the easiest ways to break in running shoes, sneakers, and leather shoes is using two pairs of thick socks. You can put them on, wear the shoes, and walk around.

Do so for several hours, and make it a habit for several days. The shoes will likely be less stiff and conform to your feet well.

  • Use shoe stretcher

Suppose your shoes are made of robust materials, either genuine leather or synthetic. In that case, it can be tricky to stretch them using socks. Some might suggest using a heat source, but excessive heat can ruin the shoe fabric and form.

Therefore, it’s better to rely on professional shoe stretchers. Make sure you choose the right type of stretchers, since the devices made for high-heeled pairs differ from those made for running shoes.

Here’re the simple steps for using a stretcher to stop shoes and sneakers rubbing back of ankle due to stiffness and tightness:

  • Use a shoe stretcher spray for the ankle parts of the shoes.
  • Place the stretcher inside the shoes, then turn the handle 3 times clockwise.
  • As the stretcher plugs stretch the shoe widthwise, leave it there for at least 6 hours.
  • Remove the stretcher by turning the handle counterclockwise.
  • Try the shoes on with a pair of socks, and walk around for a bit. If they fit nicely, the task is completed. If not, you can stretch the pair again for 6 to 8 hours.

5. Use custom-made insoles

Another method you should consider to stop ankle cuts from shoes altogether is using custom-made insoles. They can provide a better fit for your feet’ contour, thus ensuring more comfort.

Just make sure you find a reliable place that takes measurements of your feet right and provides quality insoles with good cushioning.

6. Choose the right shoes


Isn’t it a bit too late to talk about buying the right shoes? Well, it might be good the next time you buy a new pair online, which you probably are considering. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • If you go to physical stores, wear a pair of socks when trying the shoes, preferably a thicker one.
  • If you buy shoes online, pay attention to the materials and liners. There’re many types of leather that are super rigid. It may not be worth compromising on comfort for them.
  • Most of the time, shoes hurt ankle because they simply do not fit. You should take the correct measurements and compare the size chart with similar brands you purchased before and similar types of shoes you have.

Does Vaseline Stop Shoes Rubbing?


It should minimize the rubbing somewhat, as Vaseline reduces friction. You should apply petroleum jelly on your skin, then put on your shoes and see how they feel.

If the discomfort still lingers, consider wearing socks or trying one of the other methods above.


It is super annoying and painful when our shoes hurt back of ankle, especially if we need them to offer comfort and cushioning while working, running, and performing other daily activities.

That’s why it is important to know how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your ankle. You can try different methods, combining them together to make sure your pair is offering you comfort and not pain.

If it does not get better, you should give the shoes away. Do not get hung up on what hurts you! And make sure to consider everything mentioned above if you intend to find a new pair.

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