Like biting into a bland slice of pizza, having a new pair of boots slip off leaves your hopes dashed and your anticipation unfulfilled.
Many times, we resign ourselves to our slipping heels, or worse—avoid wearing our boots entirely.
Not only does this leave them less stylish, but it can also mean you’ve wasted their money on boots you won’t wear.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Today, we’re going to show you how to make sure your boot heels never slip again.
What is Heel Slippage?
If you’ve ever been walking and felt your heel lifting out of your shoe, you’re already familiar with heel slippage.
Heel slippage occurs when there’s too much space for your heel to move about in your boots. This can happen when your boots are too big or when they just don’t grip the heel properly.
What You’ll Need to Prevent Heel Slippage in Boots
There are a few different ways to prevent slippage in boots.
Materials you may need include: A measuring tape, some form of insert for your boots, lace anchors, non-slip socks, or double sided tape. Each of these items corrects heel slippage in their own way:
- Measuring tape
- Tongue pads
- Heel pads
- Lace anchors
- Non-slip socks
- Double-sided tape
The best choice for you depends on your budget, your access to materials, and the degree of slippage you experience with your pair of boots.
How to Fix Heel Slippage in Boots: 8 Ways
Method 1: Ensure Proper Fit
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to fix heel slippage is to simply avoid it in the first place.
Ensuring your boots fit perfectly will keep you from having your heel lift in the boot when you walk. You’ll want to know both the length and width of your foot. Heel slippage often occurs because wide feet need a bit more room, and rather than buy a wider size, men buy a bigger size that leaves too much space in the heel.
Whether you’re still shopping for boots or have already bought a pair, it’s worth taking the time to properly measure your foot so whatever pair you buy next avoids this issue.
Measuring your foot is best done using a Brannock device, but you can also do it at home using a measuring tape.
To start, place your heel against a flat surface, such as a wall. Then place the tab of the measuring tape so that it is flush with that same surface. Take the measurement at the end of your foot and you have your foot length.
Measuring the width is a bit trickier. For this, you’ll need a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
Stand with one foot on the paper and have someone else trace the outline of your foot. Once they’ve done this, step off the paper. Lay the measuring tape against the paper and measure the width of the ball of your foot.
Once you have these measurements, you can simply plug them into a shoe size conversion chart.
Method 2: Correct Your Stride
If your boots are just a touch too roomy, you may be able to prevent heel slippage by changing your walking style.
When you walk on the balls of your feet, you shift your foot forward and prevent the heel from nesting in as it should. This can cause your heel to lift in your boots.
A simple fix is to focus on walking with the heel first. Your heel should be the first thing to make contact with the ground, followed by your toes.
While this won’t solve the problem if your boots are particularly ill-fitting, it can significantly reduce or eliminate heel slippage most times. If you tend to walk on your toes, try this before moving on to our other solutions.
Method 3: Toe Pads
If neither of the above solutions are viable, you’re going to have to find a way to make your heel sit more snug in your boots.
One solution is to insert toe pads. Toe pads are small plush or gel inserts that sit against the toe box in your shoes. They effectively reduce the size of your boots by taking up some of the empty space.
Toe pads are a great way to fix heel slippage. And using them is as simple as placing them inside your boots before slipping them on.
We suggest buying a pair that can be cut to size. That way you can adjust them to avoid any discomfort.
Method 4: Insoles
Another solution aimed at making your boots fit more snug, insoles can be a very effective way to eliminate heel slips.
Insoles fill the space between the top of your foot and the top of the boot. This means there’s less space for your foot to move around when you walk.
As an added bonus, if you have flat feet, using insoles can help you feel more comfortable in their boots, especially if you tend to stand a lot throughout the day.
We recommend the Ramble insoles from Tread Labs. They offer four different arch heights so you can customize them to fit your foot shape. They are also guaranteed for a million miles.
Ultimately though, any insole can work to reduce heel slippage. Just make sure you find one that is big enough to eliminate the excess space.
The Ramble is my favorite insole that I've tried from Tread Labs. It offers plenty of cushion for the ball of my foot, and the extra flex in the mid-foot boosts the stability of my boot without affecting my arch too much.
Method 5: Heel Pads
Specifically designed to prevent heel slips, heel pads are small pieces of material that rest in the back of your boots. They tend to be flat and flexible, taking on a V shape once inserted. These pads cradle your heels as you walk.
As far as inserts go, heel pads are the best choice for most people experiencing heel slippage. Not only do they fill some of the empty space in your boots, but they also offer a surface that provides friction, meaning your heel will grip the inside of the boot.
There are a few things you should look for in heel pads. Try to find pads made of a durable yet comfortable material. You’ll also want to find pads with some type of adhesive, as this will keep them from sliding against your boot.
If the pads aren’t quite big enough on their own, you can combine them with insoles or toe pads to create a snug fit.
Method 6: Wool Socks with Padding
If fitting an insert into your boot isn’t your thing, you can also try wearing padded wool socks. These socks are fitted with materials on the bottom that create friction and grip against the boot.
Padded wool socks can help keep your foot from drifting forward. In turn, this will keep your heel closer to the heel of your boots, reducing the chance of slippage.
While these may help reduce slippage in boots, they are unlikely to completely solve the problem if your fit is off. Plus, wool socks help reduce the blisters that can come with boots that don’t fit well.
Made with Merino wool, these work socks feature compression through the arch and calf which helps your feet recover after a long day. Plus, because they're Merino wool, they're breathable and help reduce foot sweat.
Method 7: Lacing
Properly lacing your boots can make a huge difference when it comes to heel slippage, especially if your boots are already the right size. You can tighten your laces a few ways.
The first option is to change how you lace your boots. A great place to start is the rabbit hole method.
The rabbit hole method is a simple and highly effective way to keep your laces tight. To do this, all you need to do is lace your boots as you normally would, save for the topmost eyelets.
Once you reach the top eyelets, put both laces through one side, then both laces through the other. Then tie your bow as you would normally.
Lacing your shoes this way keeps the laces from loosening as you walk around.
There are many different ways to lace your boots. You can experiment with different methods to find which works best for you.
You can also buy lace anchors to achieve a similar effect.
Method 8: Tape
A temporary makeshift solution, double-sided tape can be used to prevent heel slippage in a bind.
To do this, insert the tape into your boot and secure it against the heel area. The more tape you use, the more grip your heel will have.
While this isn’t the best solution, it can work if you find yourself in a spot wherein you need to wear your boots but don’t want to deal with heel slippage all day. Just make sure you find a better solution once you have the opportunity.
Heel Pads for Boots: Our Top Pick
You’re looking for two things in heel pads: an adhesive that will keep the pad in place, and materials that will provide comfort and grip.
Heel grips from Dr.Foot check both boxes. They feature a strong adhesive that will keep them secured as you walk and are made of a comfortable foam topped with a suede outer.
These will keep your heels happy while preventing heel slippage, even on your most active days.
There are many options to prevent and correct heel slippage. Experimenting with different methods can help you stay comfortable and allow you to appreciate your boots for all they have to offer.
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How much heel slip is normal?
When wearing boots, a small amount of heel slip is to be expected. That said, you should never be losing your shoes or developing blisters when you walk. If either of these occurs, you should look for solutions.
Does heel slippage go away in boots?
New boots have a tendency to have more slip in the heel than those that have been broken in. As you create creases through wear, your boots will start to fold at the correct spot, keeping them closer to your foot as you walk.
How do you put heel grips in boots?
Putting heel grips in boots is a simple process. Good heel grips should have an adhesive backing. All you have to do is peel off the back and place the grip in the bottom corner of the heel. Once secured, try the boot on to ensure it feels comfortable.