How to Stop Shoes Rubbing the Back of Your Heel

Are you tired of dealing with the discomfort and pain caused by shoes rubbing against the back of your heel? You're not alone. Many people struggle with this common issue, but the good news is that effective solutions are available. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the underlying causes of shoe rubbing, preventive measures you can take, immediate relief techniques, and long-term solutions to ensure your feet stay comfortable and healthy. Whether you're a seasoned walker or simply looking for ways to alleviate shoe-related discomfort, this article covers you.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensuring proper shoe fit, choosing the right socks, and using protective padding is crucial in preventing shoes from rubbing the back of your heel.
  • Immediate relief techniques such as managing blisters and using orthotic inserts can alleviate discomfort caused by shoe rubbing.
  • Long-term solutions like consulting a podiatrist for custom interventions, investing in quality footwear, and incorporating regular foot care practices are essential for preventing recurrent shoe rubbing and maintaining foot health.

Understanding the Problem

Walking in ill-fitting shoes can quickly become a painful ordeal, particularly when they rub against the back of your heel. Let's explore why this happens and delve into effective preventive measures.

Why Do Shoes Rub the Back of Your Heel?

Shoes rubbing against the back of your heel primarily occurs due to friction generated between the shoe material and your skin. This friction may result from various factors, including:

  • Improper Shoe Fit: Shoes that are either too tight or too loose can rub against the back of your heel, causing discomfort.
  • Rough Seams or Materials: Rough seams or stiff materials within the shoe can irritate the skin, leading to friction and subsequent rubbing.
  • Foot Movement: Your foot's natural movement within the shoe, especially during walking or running, can exacerbate friction against the heel.

Understanding these factors can help identify the root cause of shoe rubbing and implement effective preventive strategies.

The Importance of Addressing Shoe Rubbing

Neglecting shoe rubbing can have detrimental effects on foot health and overall comfort. When left unaddressed, continuous friction against the back of your heel can lead to:

  • Blisters: Friction from shoes rubbing against the skin can cause blisters and painful fluid-filled pockets on the skin's surface.
  • Calluses: Prolonged friction may result in the formation of calluses, thickened areas of skin that develop in response to repeated pressure or friction.
  • Open Wounds: Severe rubbing can create open wounds or abrasions on the skin, increasing the risk of infection and further discomfort.

By addressing shoe rubbing promptly, you can prevent these complications and maintain optimal foot health.

Recognizing the Signs of Discomfort

Recognizing early signs of discomfort associated with shoe rubbing is crucial to take timely action. Look out for the following indicators:

  • Redness: Persistent redness on the back of your heel, especially after wearing certain shoes, may indicate friction and irritation.
  • Hot Spots: Areas that feel warmer or more sensitive than usual on your heel can signal increased friction and potential rubbing.
  • Irritation: Any irritation, such as itching or burning sensations, suggests that your shoes may be rubbing against your heel.

By paying attention to these signs, you can address shoe rubbing proactively and prevent further discomfort.

Feet Couple

Prevention Methods

Preventing shoes from rubbing the back of your heel involves employing various proactive strategies to minimize friction and enhance overall comfort.

Ensure Proper Shoe Fit

Proper shoe fit is paramount in preventing heel rubbing. When selecting shoes, ensure adequate space for your toes and snugly hug your heel without causing excessive pressure. Visit a shoe store for professional fitting assistance, or consult a podiatrist for personalized recommendations tailored to your foot shape and size.

Choosing the Right Socks

The type of socks you wear can significantly impact friction levels and overall comfort. Opt for socks made from moisture-wicking materials, such as cotton or blends, to keep your feet dry and reduce friction. Additionally, seamless socks can minimize irritation and prevent blisters by eliminating rough seams that may rub against your heel.

Using Moleskin or Adhesive Padding

Moleskin or adhesive padding is a protective barrier between your heel and the shoe, effectively reducing friction and preventing rubbing. Apply moleskin or adhesive padding to areas prone to rubbing, such as the back of your heel, to cushion the skin and alleviate discomfort. These products are readily available at pharmacies and can offer immediate relief for shoe-related rubbing.

Incorporating Heel Grips or Orthotic Inserts

Heel grips and orthotic inserts can improve shoe fit and provide additional heel cushioning, reducing pressure and friction. Choose heel grips to prevent slipping and rubbing at the back of your shoe. Similarly, orthotic inserts can redistribute pressure evenly across the foot, minimizing friction and protecting sensitive areas from irritation. Consider consulting with a podiatrist for customized orthotic solutions tailored to your foot's needs.

Stretching Your Shoes for Comfort

If your shoes feel too tight or narrow in the heel area, consider stretching them to alleviate pressure points and reduce rubbing. Use a shoe stretcher or wear your shoes around the house with thick socks to gradually stretch the material and improve overall comfort. This method can be useful for breaking in new shoes or addressing minor fit issues contributing to heel rubbing.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Shoe Selection

When purchasing new shoes, pay close attention to their design and construction to avoid common pitfalls contributing to heel rubbing. Opt for shoes made from soft, flexible materials with smooth interior linings to minimize friction against the skin. Additionally, choose styles with ample cushioning in the heel area to provide support and reduce pressure points. Avoid shoes with stiff materials or rough seams that may cause friction and irritation, even if they initially seem comfortable.

Immediate Relief Techniques

When shoe rubbing leads to discomfort, it's essential to have immediate relief techniques on hand to alleviate pain and prevent further irritation.

Managing Blisters and Discomfort

If you develop a blister on the back of your heel due to shoe rubbing, resist the urge to pop it, as this can increase the risk of infection. Instead, apply a blister pad or bandage to protect the affected area and promote healing. Opt for blister pads specifically designed to cushion and protect blisters while allowing them to heal naturally. Also, avoid wearing shoes that exacerbate blister formation until the affected area fully recovers.

Using Orthotic Inserts for Support

Orthotic inserts can provide immediate relief by offering additional support and cushioning for your heels. Insert orthotic inserts into your shoes to redistribute pressure evenly across the foot, minimizing friction and reducing discomfort. Look for gel or foam padding inserts designed to absorb shock and provide targeted support for the heel area. Consider consulting with a podiatrist to determine the most suitable orthotic inserts for your foot type and specific needs.

Applying Protective Bandages or Gel Pads

Protective bandages or gel pads can offer temporary relief by creating a barrier between your heel and the shoe, reducing friction and preventing further irritation. Apply adhesive bandages or gel pads to areas prone to rubbing, such as the back of your heel, before wearing shoes. These products can provide instant relief and allow you to continue your activities comfortably while addressing the underlying cause of rubbing.

Rest and Elevation for Healing

If your heels are sore from shoe rubbing, give them time to rest and recover by avoiding activities that exacerbate discomfort. Elevate your feet to reduce swelling and inflammation, and avoid wearing tight or restrictive footwear until the pain subsides. Resting your heels allows the skin to heal naturally and reduces the risk of further irritation or blister formation.

Toes on Feet

Long-Term Solutions

While immediate relief techniques offer temporary respite, implementing long-term solutions is essential for preventing recurrent shoe rubbing and maintaining overall foot health.

Consulting a Podiatrist for Custom Solutions

If you experience chronic shoe rubbing or foot pain, seek professional guidance from a podiatrist who can offer personalized solutions tailored to your needs. A podiatrist can thoroughly assess your foot structure, gait, and footwear choices to identify underlying issues contributing to shoe rubbing. Based on their evaluation, they may recommend custom orthotic devices, physical therapy, or footwear modifications to address biomechanical abnormalities and prevent future rubbing.

Assessing Foot Structure and Gait Analysis

A professional foot assessment and gait analysis can provide valuable insights into your foot structure and biomechanics, helping identify any imbalances or abnormalities contributing to shoe rubbing. During a gait analysis, a podiatrist observes your walking pattern to assess how your feet interact with the ground and detect any irregularities that may lead to friction or discomfort. Addressing these underlying issues through orthotic interventions or corrective exercises can improve foot function and reduce the risk of recurrent rubbing.

Investing in Quality Footwear

Invest in high-quality footwear made from durable, breathable materials that promote foot health and comfort. Look for shoes with ample cushioning in the heel area and a supportive midsole to minimize pressure points and reduce friction. Consider consulting with a podiatrist or footwear specialist for recommendations on brands known for their supportive features and ergonomic designs. Investing in quality footwear ensures long-lasting comfort and protection for your feet, reducing the likelihood of shoe rubbing and related complications.

Incorporating Regular Foot Care Practices

Regular foot care practices can help prevent shoe rubbing and maintain optimal foot health. Keep your feet clean and dry, especially after exercise or prolonged periods of wear, to prevent moisture buildup and reduce the risk of friction-related skin irritation. Trim your toenails regularly to prevent them from rubbing against the inside of your shoes and causing discomfort. Additionally, moisturize your feet regularly to keep the skin soft and supple, reducing the likelihood of calluses or dry patches that may contribute to rubbing.

Monitoring Changes in Shoe Fit and Comfort

As you wear your shoes over time, pay close attention to any changes in fit or comfort that may indicate the need for adjustments. Replace worn-out shoes or insoles promptly to maintain proper foot support and cushioning. If you notice persistent rubbing or discomfort in specific shoes, consider consulting with a podiatrist to assess the fit and identify potential issues. You can prevent recurrent shoe rubbing and ensure ongoing foot comfort and health by staying vigilant and proactive.


Stopping shoes from rubbing the back of your heel is essential for maintaining foot health and overall comfort. By understanding the underlying causes of shoe rubbing and implementing proactive preventive measures, you can protect your feet from blisters, irritation, and pain. Remember to prioritize proper shoe fit, choose supportive socks, and address any discomfort promptly to prevent long-term complications. If you need personalized advice or treatment for shoe rubbing, don't hesitate to reach out to our team of experienced podiatrists at ePodiatrists. We're dedicated to helping you protect your feet and stay comfortable.

Secured By miniOrange