Don’t you just hate it when you’re walking around in a new pair of boots and they just slip off? Not only is this annoying and embarrassing, but it can also be dangerous on the job site. When you’re walking on a steel girder a hundred feet in the air, the last thing you need is a slippery heel tripping you up!
If the terrain is rough, sticky or live wires are snaking around you want your feet to stay safe and sound in their boots. Frequent slippage can also cause uncomfortable abrasions. If you’d like to know more about heel slippage and how to stop it, just keep reading!
What Exactly is Heel Slippage?
This is when the bad guy in a wrestling match trips over his own feet trying to get a folding chair and…oh, not that heel. Sorry! This refers to the heel of your foot. When your heel keeps slipping out of your boot, this is heel slippage. Heel slipping is a terribly uncomfortable occurrence of your feet slipping out of your boots while walking.
In some cases, your foot may completely pop out and leaving your boots behind like some sort of clown shtick or a bad imitation of Cinderella leaving the ball. It’s most common in new boots that haven’t been broken in yet. It slows you down in walking because you need to make sure every step is safe.
The root of the problem is generally stiff footwear or too large a size. After a while, the flex point will start to bend with the foot. If the problem doesn’t seem to go away or you just want to cope until the breaking in period is over, here are some good strategies to help you out.
Get the Right Size
It seems a little obvious, doesn’t it? But, this is how clowns, magicians, and their lovely assistants get out of shoes so quickly. And if you want to stay in your shoes, you need to get a snug fit. Don’t get too small a size either!
You don’t want to crush your toes just to keep your heel from slipping. Always remember that the size of your feet changes with your age and the time of day. So, every three months get your feet measured before you make a purchase.
Don’t forget to keep in mind that the best time to choose a pair of boots is always the late morning or perhaps evening hours as the foot is at its largest by then.
Granted, it’s not always possible to have the right size. If you have very wide or very narrow feet that warrant larger and smaller boots, this can be something of a problem. It is recommended that you look for the perfect fit to see to it that you not only have comfortable boots but an ideal balance as well.
The laces are there to give you total control over the feel of the shoe plus the fit. Having a good set of laces is important if you are searching for the best comfort possible.
Once the laces have been tightened securely, the shoe will adhere to the heel plus adding some extra support. The speed laces that come with eyelets are ideal as they provide you with great durability and versatility.
There are two good methods of lacing your boots securely. First, the Rabbit Hole Method:
• First, you must thread the lace as usual through all the holes.
• When you come to the top, pull both ends of the laces through the one top hole.
• Take hold of both ends and lace them through the other hole.
• Finally, tighten the laces and tie a bow as you usually would.
A similar method is the hiking boot method. Though this method is favored by hikers, it should service work boots as well.
• To start, thread all laces through the holes until you get to the top.
• Pull the laces out from the top hole and cross them.
• Cross the laces one more time and twist them about each other. Lace them back through the top hole and tighten.
• To finish off, hold one lace tight and pull the other lace gingerly. It tugs the collar of the shoe and makes it fit snugly about the ankle.
Both of these methods will secure your ankles and ensure you do not have to keep redoing your laces.
These little devices will make sure your boots stay tied. Once the lace anchors are put in, pull out the laces from the hole and slip your foot into the boot. It should feel a bit snug and you won’t need to tighten laces to make the shoe fit any further.
After putting in lace anchors, all you need to do is pull the laces one time. The laces will not be able to move after you do this. What’s more, this will stop putting any more tension on the instep of your feet.
It’s so simple it’s almost ridiculous! Once you’ve pulled the lace, it gives a bit of a pinch on the tongue of the shoes. After that, it doesn’t move a bit.
What this means is that all of the pressure that was coming from the heel of the shoes doesn’t shift the other foot area. Ergo, that prevents the slippage. They may not be very stylish but they are practical and are easily removed.
The underside of the tongue of any shoe typically peels and sticks. A tongue pad can keep the shoes from shifting and helps the heel to stay securely inside the heel counter where it belongs. Tongue pads are among some of the least ubiquitous shoe accessories you could find. However, it is extremely effective when one is suffering from heel slipping.
As the tongue on the majority of boots is always available and accessible, you could simply just add the pad to shift the foot back into the center and thus keep the heel firmly secured into place. The tongue pads are not at all expensive and are unobtrusive plus your comfort level will without a doubt go up.
Here’s a slippery shoe cure celebrities use when walking the red carpet! You just slap some double-sided tape to your heel and that will make the shoe stick to it. It is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to solve the problem.
However, this quick fix is only temporary as sweat can quickly break down the stickiness of the tape. Always keep some double-sided tape around anyway to fix this in a pinch.
This is in the same vein as the double-sided tape. It is cheap, quick and effective for short periods. Spraying a little bit of hairspray on your feet will make them stickier. And if you’re a hobbit, it will make the wool growing on the soft and manageable!
Like the double-sided tape, the hairspray will lose its effectiveness over time, particularly if the feet get a bit sweaty. It can also lead to abrasions if relied on for too long. Think of using hairspray and double-sided tape as you would put a spare tire on your car.
It’s a quick fix that will get you where you need to go so that you can change it out for a real, permanent fixture.
Stuff the boot with padding
Here’s a clowning secret. Know how some clowns wear ridiculously large shoes? They keep from slipping out of them by stuffing the toes and sometimes the heel. (Usually the toe, so they can do a gag like “Ow! The elephant stepped on my toes!” without really being hurt.)
The stuffing is generally a cheap, easily wadded up material such as toilet paper, tissue paper or very thin rags. Like the hairspray and double-sided tape, this is a quick fix. This is not a good choice for the long term as the filler can get uncomfortable after a while. Heavy sweating may turn it into a gross, sticky mess.
Change Your Walking Style
Bart Simpson showed us how it’s done in the episode “Lisa the Beauty Queen” from the fourth season of The Simpsons. Bart showed Lisa how to walk gracefully in high heels by using the heel-toe method. In many cases, boot slippage can be caused by the way you walk.
One of the most prevalent causes of heel slipping occurs when you walk into the middle of your foot or the ball area. When wearing boots, you should learn how to walk on your heels.
While walking, your heel should touch the ground first. At first, it may feel as bizarre as brushing your teeth with your off-hand, but you’ll get the hang of it!
Use a Boot Dryer
One of the best ways to keep your shoes from slipping off is to see that they stay dry from within. A boot dryer is ideal for this. Do keep in mind that utilizing the dryer too often can cause deterioration to the material of the shoes.
For example, heat can make leather stretchier. Excess heat can also make them dry out too much and crack. You should at all times use a boot dryer with utmost caution.
The usual socks you would buy are made with a smooth outer surface. While this does make it a lot easier to get into your shoes, not to mention that it looks a lot nicer, you should seriously consider looking into the non-slip socks.
This is particularly true if you like wearing your boots a lot and the heel slippage stays around. These socks are tough and nubby on the outside so that they will comfortably stick to the outer lining of the boot.
Some people invest in a pair of non-slip socks just so they can walk around the house without worrying about skidding on hardwood floors. But here’s one more thing they’re good for!
If you have a good pair of non-slip socks, your feet will stay both comfortable and slip retardant in your shoes. If you are in the habit of not wearing any socks while wearing boots, (um…gross….) you must seriously think about breaking that habit. Get a thick, impermeable and non-slippery pair of socks and begin using them regularly
If you don’t want to get another pair of socks or non-slip ones are just hard to find, try wearing extra thick socks. Not only will it prevent slippage but your feet will be toasty warm. Wool is thick and has some texture to it that will keep the boot from slipping.
If it’s too hot for wool or you have allergies that keep you from wearing it, try wearing two pairs of socks. If they’re thin enough, maybe even wear three pairs.
Sometimes, you just need to add a tiny amount of girth around your foot to make it fill the shoe up enough to keep it from slipping off. A bit of texture can keep things in place as well.
Non Slip Lining
If the boot does not come with this, you can purchase it separately. Non-slip linings are a lot of times already included with most boots. However, by obtaining the proper lining, you will improve the comfort level by leaps and bounds.
These linings are just somewhat more rugged and this can be intimidating, yet they stay soft and will prevent the heel from slipping out, which is really what you want. The only downside to the non-slip lining is the added costs that come with buying them separately.
For this reason, it is suggested that you look for footwear with built-in non-slip soles. The feature is most effective in keeping your heel in place. Keep in mind that the next you purchase boots that this factor should be at the top of your “must-have” list.
Shrink the Shoes
If all else fails, you could try making the shoes shrink to fit better. This does carry a small risk of damaging the shoes so read the care label first. After that, follow these instructions on how to shrink your shoes.
• Firstly, you need to get the shoes wet. If your boots are made of suede or leather, you should use a spray bottle for this. For any other material, you can soak them in a tub of water.
• Next, allow the boots to dry in the sun. If it is not sunny enough (or perhaps a little too sunny), you can use a hairdryer on the low setting. Do not hold the hairdryer too close to the boot. Some man-made fabrics such as polyester are prone to burning or melting, so keep that in mind.
• Once the shoes are dry, try them on. If they are still too big, repeat the process. You may want to try drying them on your feet as per an old method of getting jeans to be form-fitting.
• Finally, you should condition any suede or leather after they are dry. Conditioning kits are available in most shoe stores and some drug stores. Or you can make your own leather conditioner out of warm water, mild soap and vinegar.
Here’s something handy if you have some sewing experience. If you stitch an elastic band onto the inside of your boots, that will pull the material tighter and give you a tighter fit.
All you will need for this operation is a pair of short elastic bands, safety pins a needle and thread. The bands should be fairly strong and you may need a thick, solid needle.
• Stretch the elastic band along the inside of the heel of the boot. The part where it feels the loosest is best.
• Keep the elastic tight as you sew it in place. This is where the safety pins come in. They can keep the elastic taut and in place as you sew.
• Once you have tied off the stitch, undo the safety pins to release the band. The band will then draw in the material of the shoe. This will give it a somewhat more snug fit.
• If this doesn’t work, combine it with the shrink method mentioned above.
See a Cobbler
“Cobbler, cobbler mend my shoe, get it done by half-past two.” goes the old nursery rhyme. The quaint image of a craftsman hammering away at a shoe feels like something that now only exists in Mother Goose rhymes and Grimm’s fairy tales.
The cobbler is a rare breed these days, but they still exist! You may have an easier time finding one in a large city. Fortunately, the internet can be a big help. Just enter “cobblers near me” on Google.
You will get a map to the nearest one and maybe even some Yelp reviews. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny. Only do this with shoes that you think are worth the extra effort and expense.
Heel slippage should not in any way at all ruin your day. Plus, walking should always be a natural thing that you do without even thinking too hard about it. These tips will indubitably aid you in lessening the pains of heel slippage.
Most of these tips are economical as well as helpful. The ideal method of using these tips will be in conjunction with one another. Hopefully, your heel slippage will be a thing you can put behind you if you’ll pardon the pun.
Heel slipping may very well be a vexing problem. Just remember that it is not impossible to prevent it. There are quite a few precautions you can take to avoid heel slippage. Even though it demands some work, it is well worth the effort.
It simply is not a good idea to risk your health by standing on a precariously slippery base at all times. The regular friction that comes with slippage may also cause you to develop some serious blisters that may become open wounds.
What’s more, many workplaces are frequently strewn with various tools and apparatuses that make it dangerous to go very long with slippery footwear. Do manage to fix things quickly if your boots slip off.
Knowing your feet well is an important step (Oops! Didn’t mean the pun!) towards well-fitting boots. See to it that your feet and boots are dry before you start the day. Purchase your pair only from a highly recommended manufacturer.
Many of the boots are slip-resistant from the outside as well as the inside. If you keep the above tips in mind, that will help you fix your boot slippage problem and you can walk with confidence. However, you should not hesitate in seeking the assistance of a professional such as a cobbler.
Heel slippage can not only make you feel uncomfortable while you are working but it can also be a potential safety hazard. If you have ant heel slippage while walking, it is suggested that you ask for help to fix it if you have trouble doing it yourself.
Keep in mind, all these solutions are relatively simple. See to it that you take care of this little problem before it literally trips you up!