How To Stop Shoes from Rubbing Achilles?

Are you tired of dealing with the pain and discomfort of shoes rubbing your Achilles? I know I am! That’s why I want to share some effective tips and tricks on “How to stop shoes from rubbing Achilles.” Whether you’re wearing new shoes or an old favorite, rubbing can happen and leave you with blisters or raw skin.

Luckily, there are several methods you can try to prevent shoes from rubbing your Achilles. In this article, I’ll be sharing some of the best solutions and offering my personal experience with each one.

How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles
How to Stop Shoes from Rubbing Achilles

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to step out in your favorite shoes without worrying about painful rubbing on your Achilles. So, let’s dive in and discover how to keep your shoes comfortable and pain-free!

Understanding The Causes of Shoe Rubbing on Achilles Tendon

If you’re dealing with shoe rubbing on your Achilles tendon, understanding the causes of this issue is crucial to finding a solution that works for you. Based on my research, one of the primary causes of shoe rubbing on the Achilles tendon is the shoe’s design.

I’ve personally experienced this when a shoe’s back is too high or stiff, causing it to rub against my Achilles tendon and causing irritation and inflammation.

Another factor that can cause shoe rubbing is the fit of the shoe. If the shoe is too loose, my foot may slide around inside the shoe, causing friction and rubbing against the back of the shoe. Conversely, if the shoe is too tight, it can put pressure on my Achilles tendon, leading to discomfort and pain.

I’ve also found that the type of socks I wear can contribute to shoe rubbing on the Achilles tendon. Thick or bulky sock liners can create more space inside the shoe, causing my foot to slide around and rub against the back of the shoe. On the other hand, thin socks may not provide enough cushioning to protect my Achilles tendon from rubbing.

It’s important to keep in mind that each person’s feet are different, so what causes shoe rubbing for one person may not be the same for another. By understanding the potential causes of shoe rubbing on the Achilles tendon and my personal experience with them, I can take steps to prevent it from happening and keep my feet comfortable and healthy.

What Happens When Shoes Rub Your Ankles?

When your shoes have stiff backs, they aren’t always comfortable. That part of the footwear may not be flexible enough to support your movement. Therefore, as your feet and ankles move, they rub against the shoe. That movement can lead to several foot problems, here they are:

1. Friction Blisters

Soft bubbles of skin that form when you expose an area to continuous pressure or chafing. These kinds of blisters are common on the feet. They may happen at the toes or heel of ill-fitting shoes, but they can occur anywhere.

Friction Blisters

Clear fluid accumulates inside the outermost layer of a friction blister. A blister might hurt when you touch it. They usually drain by themselves. However, if your shoes continue to rub the same area, you might develop a chronic blister. The blister can eventually harden into a callus.

2. Achilles Tendonitis

Usually happens when you overwork the tendon. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone at the back of the leg. When that tissue becomes inflamed, it can cause tightness and pain at the rear of the ankle.

How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles
Achilles Tendonitis

You can’t cause Achilles tendonitis by wearing shoes that rub your ankles. However, if your footwear is tight in that spot, it won’t feel good. You should wear shoes that fit properly and provide adequate ankle support to avoid this condition.

3. Achilles Bursitis

This is another inflammatory condition that can affect the tissue in the back of the ankle. It’s also caused by overuse. However, it’s different than Achilles tendonitis. Bursitis happens when the bursa, a small pocket of fluid that sits between the bone and the tendon becomes inflamed. Wearing shoes that rub the area may be extremely painful.

The Importance of Proper Shoe Fit for Achilles Tendon Health

As someone who has experienced Achilles tendon pain and discomfort, I understand the importance of proper shoe fit adjustment for Achilles tendon health. Here are some key points to consider for proper shoe:

  • Shoes that are too tight or too loose can put unnecessary stress on the Achilles tendon, leading to pain and discomfort.
  • Shoes that have a heel lift or a raised heel can also increase strain on the Achilles tendon.
  • Proper shoe fit involves ensuring that the shoe provides enough support and cushioning to absorb shock and reduce the impact on the Achilles tendon.
  • A good way to ensure proper shoe fit is to have your feet measured by a professional and to try on shoes in the afternoon when your feet are slightly swollen.
  • It is also important to choose shoes that are appropriate for your specific activities, whether that be running, walking, or hiking.
  • Gradually breaking in new shoes can also help prevent Achilles tendon pain and discomfort.
  • If you experience persistent Achilles tendon pain or discomfort, it is important to see a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Overall, taking the time to find properly fitting shoes can go a long way in promoting Achilles tendon health and preventing pain and discomfort.

How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles?

I can offer some tips on how to prevent the discomfort of shoes rubbing against your Achilles tendon

1. Protect Your Skin

Once you have a raw spot or blister, you probably won’t be able to wear your shoes comfortably until it heals. Therefore, you should take preventative measures to safeguard your skin before it becomes wounded.

If the heels of your shoes feel tight or stiff, you can use moleskin padding on your heels before you put on your footwear for the day. Moleskin is a durable fabric that has adhesive on one side.

Protect Your Skin
Protect Your Skin

You can cut it to adapt to the exact size that you need. Your shoes will rub on the material instead of your skin, preventing you from getting sores or blood blisters.

You can also try sticking the moleskin to the shoe instead of your heel. To do this, grab your moleskin, shoe, and a pen or pencil. Place a large piece of moleskin inside the shoe. Trace the area that you’ll need to cover.

Then, cut the moleskin to the appropriate shape. You’d rather cut the moleskin larger than you need it to be than make it too small. You can always readjust it or cut a new piece if you don’t get it right the first time.

Clean off the inside of the shoe with a dry towel to remove dust or debris. The moleskin will cling to a clean shoe better than a dirty one. Peel off the moleskin backing. Then, stick it to the inside of your shoe.

You may not need to use the moleskin forever. Your shoes should eventually break in enough that they won’t rub on your heel.

2. Use An Anti-Friction Balm

You can find balms and sticks that coat your heels with a lubricant that protects against friction. These products are typically made with ingredients that create a buffer between the shoe and your heel.

How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles
Use An Anti-Friction Balm

Some are designed to reduce chafing anywhere on the body. Others are meant for the feet.

An anti-friction balm that is designed for this purpose will probably work better than a general anti-friction balm. If the shoes are especially tight or move around when you walk, though, they might rub the balm off, forcing you to reapply frequently.

You can use a balm on your skin in conjunction with a protective moleskin barrier on your shoe. Just don’t try to apply moleskin to your heel if you have the balm on. If you have lotions or similar products on your skin, adhesives won’t stick.

3. Wear Deodorant

You might put deodorant on your armpits every day, but did you know that the product could help with blister prevention? Keeping your feet dry is one way to avoid unnecessary friction and irritation.

Wear Deodorant
Wear Deodorant

If you don’t have anti-friction balm, try applying deodorant to the backs of your ankles before slipping on your shoes. You might have to test out a few different products before you find one that works. A powdery deodorant is probably better than a sticky gel.

4. Heel Bandages

Brands such as Band-Aid make bandages that are designed for this purpose. The cushioning on heel bandages gives your feet some relief if your shoes are stiff and press against the skin. They are also waterproof, which means that they’ll stay on sweaty feet.

Heel Bandages
Heel Bandages

If you do use a heel bandage, you might want to slip a pair of thin dress socks over them. Doing this will prevent the edge of the bandage from catching on the rim of the shoe and slipping off.

Alternatively, duct tape can also be an option in a pinch!

5. Avoid Ill-fitting Shoes

Ill-fitting shoes can quickly lead to blisters. If your shoes are too tight, your feet are less likely to move around. Therefore, you’ll reduce friction. However, the backs of snug shoes can dig into your heels, creating indentations that can eventually break the skin.

On the other hand, you don’t want your shoes to be too loose. If your heel pops in and out of your shoe when you walk, it’s bound to rub the skin. Even a slight movement can cause irritation.

6. Customize The Fit of Your Shoes

There are several ways to customize the fit of your shoes. Adding custom insoles is often the first step. Insoles raise your foot slightly. You might shift your foot enough that the shoe doesn’t rub on the same part of your heel as it used to.

This can provide you with some relief if you already have a blister or sore spot. It can also make your shoes fit better, reducing friction down the road.

It’s hard to find the perfect insoles for some types of shoes, such as heels. However, manufacturers create many products to tailor the fit of your footwear.

You can add toe pads to the front of the shoe, which will create a tighter fit at the back. When your foot is secure in the shoe, it’s less likely to move around.

Heel cushioning or padding is also a great option for adding cushioning to the rear of your footwear. These come in several colors and styles. They can make it feel like you’re walking on pillows instead of being rubbed raw by sandpaper with every step.

7. Consult Professional

The best way to find shoes that fit well is to consult with a professional. Many shoe stores offer fittings. The representatives that work there will measure your feet so that you know what types and sizes of shoes are right for you.

When you try your shoes on, walk around in them. Have a professional assess your gait and fit. Someone who is trained to evaluate a proper fit may be able to point out potential problems so that you don’t end up with surprises after you bring the shoes home.

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How to Break in The Heel of a Shoe

Sometimes, shoes that fit correctly can still rub at your Achilles. They may just need to be broken in and softened so that they move with you instead of against you.

How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles
How to Break in the Heel of a Shoe

Leather and suede soften more easily than synthetic materials. A leather conditioner activates the natural oils within the leather. Those work to add moisture and soften the material.

Here’s one method of softening the heels of new leather shoes:

  • Run some newspaper sheets underwater.
  • Squeeze them out until they’re damp.
  • Ball up the newspaper and stuff it inside the shoes.
  • Leave the newspaper in for 24 hours or until it’s dry.

The newspaper and moisture will stretch out the shoe and soften the leather. After you have taken the steps above, apply a leather conditioner or petroleum jelly to the inside and outside of the heel. Doing this will soften the material. It will also prevent the leather from cracking and becoming stiff. You can use a leather conditioner whether your shoes are old or new.

If you’re using a leather conditioner, rub a generous amount on the shoe until the leather absorbs it. Use your fingers to massage it in. Then, wipe off any excess with a soft cloth. Be aware that the product may change the color of the shoe. You might want to apply it to the entire shoe so that you don’t have errant dark spots or marks.

You can also use soap to soften the leather. Take a soft bar of soap and rub it inside the rim of the heel. Massage it in. Do this every time you wear the shoes. After a few applications, the leather should be more comfortable against your skin.

1. Stretch The Shoes

You don’t always need to stretch out the shoes to break them in. If you stretch them out too much, they may become so loose that your foot moves around inside of them.

However, some gentle stretch can soften the shoe. Try wearing the footwear with a pair of thick socks for a few days. Don’t just sit around in them; go for walks. Move your feet.

How to Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles
Stretch The Shoes

Sometimes, you don’t have too much time to break into new shoes, though. Perhaps you bought a pair of shoes at the last minute and need to wear them for a special event. Here are some steps that you can take:

  • Put on thick socks.
  • Aim a hairdryer on the hot setting all over the shoe to warm and soften it.
  • Slide the shoe on your foot.
  • Do the same thing with the other shoe.
  • Walk around until the shoe has cooled.

You may have to repeat these steps a few times until the shoes are comfortable. They’ll mold to your foot so that you can dance all night.

Wooden inserts can also help you stretch your shoes. You can heat up the footwear with a hairdryer before putting the insert inside. The shoe will retain the stretched shape after it cools.

2. Bag of Ice Method

One other method of shoe stretching involves filling them with bags of ice. Begin by filling zippered sandwich bags with water. Make sure that the bags are large enough to put pressure on the shoe as they expand.

Seal the bags, squeezing out any excess air and ensuring that the bags are locked tightly. Then, place a bag in each shoe. Put the shoes, with the water-filled bags inside of them, into a larger zipper-seal bag. Doing this will prevent them from absorbing excess moisture.

Then, place them in the freezer. The water will freeze, adjusting to the natural contours of the shoes. The frozen bags will stretch out the shoes so that they’re more comfortable on your feet.

When you remove the shoes from the freezer, you might have to wait until the bags thaw out a bit before you can take them out. Once the shoes have warmed up, try them on. Repeat the process if they still rub your Achilles.

The method described above is ideal for fabric shoes. You might not want to freeze satin or suede shoes, though. Those are more susceptible to moisture damage.

Read Also: How to Stretch Suede Shoes?

How to Break in The Heel of a Boot

Even though boots don’t have a rim around the heel, they can rub uncomfortably on your feet, creating friction spots that give you blisters. If the leather is stiff, boots can crease. Those creases can dig into your heels, feet, and ankles.

Breaking in new boots can take some time. You might not want to wear them all day at first. If you leave the house in them, bring a backup pair of shoes to change into later.

Your feet will swell during the day, making the boots more uncomfortable. If you continue to walk in them with swollen feet, you increase the risk of feeling pain.

To soften them quickly, try mashing the heel of the boot with your hands and feet. You might be afraid that doing this will ruin your shoes. However, they’ll take the right shape when you step into them again, and the leather at the back of the boot should be softer.

Wear The Right Socks

If you need to wear socks with your shoes, make sure that you’re wearing the appropriate kind. Loose, itchy socks will cause unnecessary rubbing. Consider purchasing tight socks that are designed for hiking or sports. They’ll wick away moisture and reduce your risk of getting blisters.

Wear The Right Socks
Wear The Right Socks

To stop your shoes from rubbing on your Achilles, look for socks with extra heel padding. The cushion may be all that you need to make your feet feel good.

Sweaty feet are often a recipe for blisters. If you have a problem with moisture on your feet, do everything that you can to minimize sweat. Sprinkling cornstarch or talcum powder into your shoes and socks can dry them out.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises for Achilles Tendon Health

I have found that incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises into my routine can help promote Achilles tendon health. Here are some exercises that have been helpful for me:

1. Stretching Exercises

  • Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Step back with one foot, keeping both heels on the ground. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then switch legs.
  • Soleus stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on a wall at shoulder height. Bend one knee and step back with the other foot, keeping both heels on the ground. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the lower part of your calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then switch legs.
  • Hamstring stretch: Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Reach forward and try to touch your toes. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

2. Strengthening Exercises

  • Eccentric calf raises: Stand on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off. Slowly lower your heels down as far as you can, then raise up onto your toes. Repeat for three sets of 10-15 reps.
  • Toe raises: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lift up onto your toes. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then lower back down. Repeat for three sets of 10-15 reps.
  • Resistance band exercises: Use a resistance band to perform exercises such as ankle dorsiflexion (pulling your toes towards your shin), ankle plantarflexion (pointing your toes away from your shin), and ankle inversion/eversion (rotating your foot inwards/outwards).

Incorporating these exercises into your routine can help promote Achilles tendon health by stretching and strengthening the muscles in the calf and ankle. However, if you experience persistent Achilles tendon pain or discomfort, it is important to see a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Choosing The Right Shoes for Achilles Tendon Protection

I cannot overstate the importance of choosing the right shoes to protect my Achilles tendon. If you want to stop or prevent your shoes from rubbing your Achilles heels, here are some factors to consider:

  • Cushioning: Look for shoes with adequate cushioning in the heel and forefoot areas to absorb shock and reduce the impact on the Achilles tendon.
  • Heel drop: The heel drop is the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot. Shoes with a high heel drop can increase stress on the Achilles tendon, so consider choosing shoes with a lower heel drop.
  • Arch support: Proper arch support can help distribute pressure evenly across the foot, reducing stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Flexibility: Shoes that are too stiff can restrict movement and increase stress on the Achilles tendon. Look for shoes that are flexible and allow for natural movement.
  • Size and fit: Make sure that your shoes fit properly and are not too tight or too loose. Shoes that are too tight can put pressure on the Achilles tendon, while shoes that are too loose can cause rubbing and irritation.
  • Activity-specific shoes: Consider choosing shoes that are designed for the activity you will be doing, whether that be running, walking, or hiking. These shoes will have features that are specific to the activity and can help prevent Achilles tendon injuries.

By taking these factors into consideration when selecting shoes, you can help protect your Achilles tendon and prevent severe pain and discomfort.

What Should You Not Do to Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles?

If you’ve been researching how to stop your shoes from rubbing on your Achilles heels, you might come across some unique methods of breaking them in or stretching them out. Some techniques can make the situation worse.

Don’t use alcohol on your shoes. It will dry out the leather, making it stiffer. Alcohol can also discolor your shoes.

Take The Shoes To A Cobbler
Take The Shoes To A Cobbler

You should probably avoid hitting the heels of your shoes with a hammer too. While massaging them can make them more pliable, you’ll damage them if you’re too rough.

Finally, don’t be tempted to have someone with larger feet than you break in your footwear. You want your shoes to conform to your feet, not someone else’s. As I’ve mentioned earlier, if your shoes become too loose, you will not be able to stop your shoes from rubbing on your Achilles as easily.

Take The Shoes To A Cobbler

If your shoes still rub on your Achilles, take them to a professional. A cobbler might be able to see what’s causing the problem. Proper identification of the issue can help you fix it.

Whenever you get new shoes, break them in gradually if possible.  Wear them for 10 minutes at a time. Put them on every hour. Eventually, you can start extending the length of time for which you wear them. You can even try wearing the new shoes while you’re sitting around the house or at your desk at work. Doing this will encourage them to mold to your feet and help you stop shoes from rubbing your Achilles.


In conclusion, as someone who has experienced discomfort and pain from shoes rubbing against my Achilles tendon, I know how frustrating it can be.

However, with the tips provided on how to stop shoes from rubbing Achilles, such as selecting the right shoes, using anti-friction balms, and adjusting laces and straps, you can prevent this issue and protect your Achilles tendon from injury.

Remember to listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain or any signs of infection. By taking these measures, you can enjoy your activities without worrying about discomfort and pain caused by shoe rubbing on the Achilles tendon.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can anti-friction balms help to stop my shoes from rubbing on the Achilles tendon?

Yes, anti-friction balms can be effective in reducing friction and preventing shoes from rubbing on the Achilles tendon. These balms create a barrier between the skin and the shoe, reducing irritation and discomfort.

When should you seek medical attention for persistent Achilles tendon pain due to shoe rubbing?

You should seek medical attention for persistent Achilles tendon pain due to shoe rubbing if the pain is severe, limiting your ability to walk or perform daily activities, or if it persists for more than a few days despite at-home treatments. Additionally, if you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or warmth around the affected area, seek medical attention immediately.