Sometimes we shop a little late in the day, when feet are larger, and end up with shoes a little too big for morning-feet. Sometimes, against better judgement, we buy shoes just a bit too big in the store. No matter how they ended up in your closet- we all have them: Adorable flats or heels that alllllllmost but don’t quite fit, causing them to uncomfortably slip off your heel with each step.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you two ORIGINAL ideas I use to adapt shoes with slipping heels into easy-to-wear flats (or heels) that stay on with each step! These two solutions popped up as I was on my 5-year quest to find the perfect pair of heels and learn to walk confidently in them. My quest took me through the nether regions of luxury-high-heel brands (and back, where after my 3rd pair of Cole Haan’s that didn’t make the cut I gave up on buying my way out of the problem), and deep into the world of burlesque where a “boy”lesque performer taught classes for those of us more in need of professional guidance to master the art of high heel wearing. Although you’d still be hard pressed to pry my Blundstone paddock boots from my cold dead fingers, I can boast that I learned to sashay, step, and strut in 5 inch heels and discovered two kickass heel-slipping hacks during the journey.

My foot is wide- like very, very, measured-at-the-brooks-store-for-double-wide wide. So shoe fitting is a challenge. When I wear just about any non-lacing, non-strappy shoe- especially with a heel- my super wide foot begins to slip down into the toe, widening it and changing the fit of the whole shoe. Hence: the back of the shoe slipping on my heel.

I’ve tried inserts, I’ve tried non-slip liners, cushions, Band-Aids, and even duct tape. Some remedies worked better than others, but I was never able to resolve the heel slipping issue enough to be comfortable running around Seattle in cute, low, non-strappy shoes.

My two solutions are:

DIY: Make your shoe heels non-slip with silicone caulking.
DIY: Prevent heel slipping with wool toe bumpers.

1. Lining your shoe with silicone is a great way to add enough friction to keep the heel of your shoe in place without adding so much friction that your shoe blisters or rubs your skin raw. Silicone is perfect because it’s both non-slip and very, very soft- ideal as a shoe liner.

Lining a heel with silicone is both really simple, and takes a bit of finesse to get it to work. The problem is that silicone is formulated to be easy to clean up, and actually- straight out of the tube- resists adhering to leather or cloth on the inside of a shoe.

There are two ways to increase adhesion as you place the silicone non-slip:

Before putting the silicone in your shoe, squeeze it into a heavy duty zip-bag, add a small amount of turpentine (roughly 1 part turpentine to 25 parts silicone caulk) squeeze bag till mixed well, and then snip off the tip of the bag and pipe in lines along the back inside heel of your shoes. (In this mixture the turpentine dilutes the silicone helping it to spread and flow just enough to penetrate into the fiber it’s placed on and stay put, instead of remaining in a coil and, once dry, easy to peel off) If you add 2-5 parts acrylic paint, during the mixing, you can also match the silicone to your shoe color, to make it less obvious, while also decreasing the time needed for the silicone to set, dry, and be ready to use.

The second way to increase adherence of silicone to shoe is a bit easier, but requires more patience. To apply pure silicone as a permeant heel-slip prevention, you’ll need 100% silicone calk and wood craft sticks. To begin, place a bit of caulking on your wood craft stick- al-la toothpaste-commercial style- and smooth along the inside back heel of your shoe. Use enough pressure that a thin layer of silicone is pressed into the material of the shoe, making contact and filling any seams or gaps and filling spaces between fibers.
Allow to dry for at least 1-2 hours.

When the thin layer is dry, you can use the silicone caulking tube to add ridges of silicone on top of the thin film. The film will adhere permanently to the shoe and the ridges will adhere permanently to the film, creating a long term, step-proof way to end heel slippage.

2. The silicone solution fixed most of my slipping heels, but there were a few pair (admittedly, shoes I probably knew were a little too big when I bought them) that still slipped after the silicone was added. I realized that my foot was slipping so far up towards the toe that my heel wasn’t making contact with the solution. Then I had an idea- a slightly kooky idea- but it really works AND it’s comfortable, I promise!
I create a toe bumper out of pantyhose and 100% wool roving.

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