Are your boots feeling too roomy around the ankle lately? You’re not alone; as the seasons change and our bodies fluctuate, boots that once felt like a perfect second skin can start slipping and sliding where they shouldn’t.

With narrow calves and ankles, I’d spend hours squeezing into tight boots only to have them fall off within minutes of walking around. I had tried some old remedies like wearing thicker socks or using dress shoe cushions, but nothing did the trick in the long term. Finally, after almost twisting my ankle during one particularly steep downhill, I looked for a more permanent solution to make my trusty boots tighter around the ankle again. And that is how I discovered these simple yet effective tricks to regain the snug ankle fit of your worn hiking boots.

Here, I’ll share my favorite hacks for taking in boots that have gone slack, from inserts and fillers to creative lacing techniques. With just a few simple tweaks and tricks, you can tighten those boots back up quickly so they hug your ankle.

DIY Tricks- Making Boots Tighter Around the Ankle at Home:

Over time, I’ve discovered a few DIY tricks to make my boots tighter around the ankle. Here’s a detailed guide based on my personal experience:

Using Thick Socks:

One of the simplest tricks I’ve used is wearing thick socks or layering multiple pairs. This fills the extra space and provides a snugger fit around the ankle. However, keeping the boots tight enough around your toes is essential.

Adding Padding:

I’ve also tried adding padding inside the boot, specifically around the ankle area. You can easily find adhesive foam padding online or in stores. Cut it into the shape you need and stick it inside the boot. This makes the boot fit better and adds an extra layer of comfort.

Trying Boot Bands:

Boot bands are an excellent solution for wide boots. They’re elastic bands that you can attach to the sides of your shoes to make them tighter. They were pretty effective, especially for knee-high or thigh-high boots.

Inserting Insoles:

While insoles are usually used to add comfort or arch support, they can also help tighten your boots. By raising your foot, the insole can help reduce the space around the ankle.

Using a Cobbler:

When all else fails, I take my boots to a professional cobbler. They have the skills and tools to modify the shoes and make them narrower. While this isn’t exactly a DIY trick, it’s an option that has worked for me when nothing else did.

These tricks have helped me transform ill-fitting boots into comfortable and stylish footwear. The ultimate solution is to invest in boots designed for narrow feet. But until then, these DIY tricks should help!

Choosing the Right Boots- Tips to Avoid Loose Ankle Fit in Future Purchases:

I’ve had my fair share of loose ankle fits that made walking uncomfortable and less confident. However, over time, I’ve learned some valuable tips that have made boot shopping a much more successful experience. Here’s what I’ve discovered:

Understand Your Feet:

The first step is knowing your foot size - length and width. As I mentioned earlier, home measurement techniques helped me identify that I have narrow feet. Understanding this was crucial in choosing boots that don’t have a loose ankle fit.

Opt For Adjustable Features:

Boots that come with adjustable straps or laces became my best friends. These features allowed me to customize the fit around my ankle, ensuring they were neither tight nor loose.

Try Before You Buy:

This might seem obvious, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to try on the boots before purchasing. Walk around in them to make sure they fit comfortably. If you’re shopping online, ensure the retailer has a good return policy.

Know The Brand:

Different brands have different sizing standards. I’ve found that some brands are better suited for narrow feet, so it’s worth researching and finding out which ones cater to your needs.

Consider Boot Styles:

I discovered that certain styles of boots naturally offer a tighter ankle fit. For instance, lace-up or ankle boots with zippers can provide a snugger fit than slip-on styles.

Don’t Ignore The Material:

Boots made of more rigid materials tend to hold their shape better. On the other hand, softer materials might stretch out and result in a looser fit over time.

Through trial and error, I’ve avoided the frustrating issue of loose ankle fit in my future boot purchases. Remember, the goal is to find comfortable, supportive boots that make you feel confident. Happy boot shopping!

The Role of Lacing Techniques in Making Boots Tighter Around the Ankle:

I’ve discovered the significant role that lacing techniques can play in achieving a snugger fit. It took me some time to realize how lacing my boots can make a difference. Here’s what I’ve learned:


This is the most common method we typically think of when we imagine lacing up shoes or boots. You can reduce the boot’s width by tightening the cross-laces, making it tighter around your ankle.

Over-Under Lacing:

This technique involves alternating between passing the laces over and under the eyelets. This creates a more secure fit as the laces are less likely to slip, ensuring the boots stay tight around my ankle.

Loop-Back Lacing:

Instead of crossing over, the laces loop back on themselves in this style and then pass under the eyelets. This method has helped me tighten the boots even more securely around the ankle.

Ladder Lacing:

Ladder lacing is a bit more complicated, but it’s excellent for getting a super tight fit. It involves weaving the laces in such a way that they create a ‘ladder.’ The laces lock into each other, which prevents them from loosening and keeps the boot snug around the ankle.

Double Back Lacing:

This technique involves lacing up to the ankle, then doubling back down before going back up again. It provides double lacing around the ankle, making the boot fit more securely.

These lacing techniques and the right boot style and size can significantly improve the fit around the ankle. It’s incredible how such a simple change can make such a big difference!

The Art of Boot Modification- Professional Ways to Tighten the Ankle Area:

After being frustrated by countless pairs of boots that didn’t fit right around the ankle, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Adding Ankle Straps:

One of the first modifications I explored was adding ankle straps. A professional cobbler can do this for you. The strap wraps around the ankle, allowing you to adjust the tightness.

Inserting Elastic Gussets:

This involves having a professional insert small elastic panels into the sides of the boots. The elasticity allows the boot to hug the ankle more closely, eliminating looseness.

Shoe Tongue Pads:

I learned about shoe tongue pads, which are adhesive cushions you stick onto the inside of the boot’s tongue. This pushes your foot back into the boot’s heel, effectively tightening the fit around the ankle.

Insoles and Heel Grips:

These are simple additions that can make a significant difference. Insoles lift your foot slightly, pushing it against the top of the boot and providing a snugger fit. Similarly, heel grips prevent your foot from sliding forward, keeping your ankle firmly in place.

Professional Resizing:

A skilled cobbler can resize the boot to fit your foot better. This is a more drastic solution, but it can be worthwhile if you have a pair of boots you love that don’t fit right.

Taking the time to explore these boot modifications has been a game-changer for me. Consider these professional modifications if you’re struggling with similar issues. 


Bucket boots may be a stylish addition to an outfit, but walking can become uncomfortable and potentially even dangerous if they are too tight around the ankle. Thankfully, some solutions range from going up a size or adding a thicker sole liner to tying scarf fabric around the ankle.

I’ve experimented with all these methods and have found success with each; however, it is essential to purchase high-quality shoes when possible to reduce the risk of ill-fitting boots. With that in mind, please continue your journey by reading more about tips on how to make boot-wearing comfort a priority!

Sniper Jones
Hi there, I'm Sniper Jones, mastermind of My digital platform is devoted to sharing valuable knowledge about various types of footwear that can help refine your shoe selection process. Shoes have always intrigued me, leading to an impressive collection of over 1000 pairs! was launched in 2023 with the objective to provide extensive information that aids you in making well-informed shoe purchases. I've assembled a squad of shoe aficionados who share my enthusiasm for delivering unbiased reviews and thorough buying guides. Our evaluations are rooted in our personal experiences, ensuring the advice we offer is practical and usable. I always welcome feedback and discussions. If you have any questions concerning footwear, feel free to leave a comment. I'm here to assist!