How Can I Avoid Shoe Bites?

Walking a mile in your shoes will be a cakewalk with these easy-to-follow tips

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jyoti Gupta, MD
By Shaheen Naser

You are excited to try on your new pair of shoes for the first time for a great night out on the town. After a couple of hours, you feel the familiar sensation of pain in your feet, and you know you have got yourself an annoying shoe bite. The good news is that there are a few simple ways to treat shoe bites without throwing away your new shoes! In this article, we explore the various causes and a few simple tips to avoid shoe bites from developing again!

What Is A Shoe Bite?

A shoe bite is the wear and tear of skin as a shoe rubs against your feet. This friction leads to blisters and swelling in your feet. It is more common with shoes that are tight or ill-fitting.

Shoe bites can be extremely uncomfortable and also cause pain. They often hurt more when you stand up or walk.

These usually occur behind your ankles or near your toes. They look like rashes or calluses. Sometimes, these calluses may even be filled with pus.

What Causes Shoe Bites?

Ill-fitting shoes are the primary cause of shoe bites. Generally, people tend to buy shoes without properly considering the dimensions of their feet. This can cause your feet to rub against the shoes. This, in turn, leads to swelling, blisters, and scars on your feet.

Sometimes, the sweat from your feet can also cause the shoes to rub against the skin, causing shoe bites.

Women are more susceptible to shoe bites than men as they tend to wear tight and narrow shoes that can leave blisters and scars on their feet.

The first measure you can take towards healing a shoe bite is to avoid wearing the shoes causing it. You can also use certain home remedies to alleviate the pain.

Natural Ways To Treat Shoe Bites At Home

1. Aloe Vera

Several studies have shown that aloe vera possesses anti-inflammatory and healing properties (1). This can help reduce the blisters on your feet. Aloe vera contains glucomannan, which can help promote faster healing.

You Will Need

½ teaspoon of aloe vera gel

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply aloe vera gel generously to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for a while before you rinse it off with plain water.
How Often Should You Do This

You can repeat this remedy two times a day.

2. Olive Oil

The bioactive compounds in olive oil exhibit anti-inflammatory properties (2). These properties can help reduce the inflammation around the shoe bite.

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of olive oil
  • 1-2 drops of almond oil (as a carrier oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix two to three drops of olive oil with one to two drops of almond oil.
  2. Apply it generously to the affected area.
How Often Should You Do This

Repeat this remedy two times a day until the inflammation reduces.

3. Toothpaste

Toothpaste contains menthol, an important component that acts as an analgesic and reduces the pain caused by shoe bite (3).

You Will Need
What You Have To Do
  1. Take half a teaspoon of toothpaste on a clean cotton pad.
  2. Apply this onto the shoe bite and leave it on until it dries.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with water.
How Often Should You Do This

You can use this remedy one to two times daily.

4. Honey

Honey exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help reduce the inflammation around the shoe bite. These properties also prevent further infection (4).

You Will Need
  • A sterile cotton ball or gauze
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a sterile cotton ball and dab it in a tablespoon of honey.
  2. Place this on the affected site.
How Often Should You Do This

Repeat 3-4 times daily.

5. Coconut Oil And Camphor

Coconut oil exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (5). The lauric acid in coconut oil possesses antimicrobial properties (6). Camphor has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties (7). Together, they can help in alleviating swelling in the affected foot and prevent further infection.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of camphor
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of camphor.
  2. Dab a cotton ball with this mixture and apply to the affected area.
How Often Should You Do This

You can do this two times daily.

6. Neem And Turmeric

The active compounds in neem leaves and turmeric (curcumin) can help reduce inflammation and infection. This is due to their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (8), (9).

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • A handful of neem leaves
  • A few drops of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Blend all the ingredients to form a thick paste.
  2. Apply this paste to the shoe bite.
  3. Leave it on until it dries and rinse off with water.
How Often Should You Do This

Do this two times daily.

7. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is moisturizing. It is also known as petrolatum, and it exhibits antimicrobial properties that promote healing (10).

You Will Need

A tablespoon of petroleum jelly

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply petroleum jelly to the shoe bite.
  2. You can cover the area with socks and leave it on overnight.
  3. You can also apply some jelly onto the sides of your shoes for a few days consecutively to soften the edges.
How Often Should You Do This

You can repeat this until your shoe bite is healed.

Treating shoe bites is that simple, and these remedies can give you the much-needed relief. But preventing shoe bites is always better, right?

How Can I Prevent Shoe Bites?

As we have already discussed, ill-fitting shoes are the primary cause of shoe bites. Here are a few ways you can prevent a shoe bite:

  1. Always try the shoes on before purchasing them. This will give you a better idea of how well they fit.
  1. Rub some oil along the sides of the shoes. Do this for a couple of days before you can wear them. This will help soften the edges and prevent shoe bites.
  1. You can use adhesive pads on your shoes. These pads go inside your shoe and stick where the back of your ankle would be.
  1. You could also use toe protectors. These are similar to the adhesive shoe protectors but are applied on the front end of your shoes. These can prevent blisters on your toes.
  1. Wear socks or pads with your shoes to prevent excessive skin abrasion.

Say goodbye to all the worries that tag along when you are out shopping for the perfect shoe!

How do you manage shoe bites? Any tips you would like to share? Post your ideas in the comments box below.

Tight or ill-fitting shoes can cause friction, and the resultant wear and tear can lead to shoe bites, which are essentially blisters that form on the toes or ankles. Shoe bites are painful and uncomfortable and can worsen unless treated quickly. The first step is to avoid wearing the shoes that caused them and then implement the various ways to get rid of shoe bites. Aloe vera gel, neem, turmeric, camphor, honey, petroleum jelly, and castor oil are some of the commonly available ingredients that you can apply to treat shoe bites. To prevent shoe bites in the future, you may use oil on the sides of new shoes and wear socks, protectors, or adhesive padding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do new shoes hurt?

New shoes could hurt if they do not fit you well. Also, the material of new shoes is rather stiff until the shoes are used well. So, to soften the edges, you can apply some oil for a couple of days before wearing them.

Can a particular type of footwear give me shoe bites?

Closed shoes like sneakers, bellies, pumps, or oxfords could cause shoe bites as they could rub against your skin.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.
Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology. She is a Geneticist with proficiency in Biotechnology, Immunology,... more

Dr. Jyoti Gupta

Dr. Jyoti Gupta is a board-certified (IADVL) dermatologist specializing in cosmetic, laser, and hair transplant surgery. She has done over... more