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How To Tighten Soccer Cleats? 10 Helpful Ways

How To Tighten Soccer Cleats? 10 Helpful Ways

Some people suck when it comes to buying the right fitting boots. No matter how they try, they always end up with boots that are either too small or too big for their feet.

Sometimes, it is not really their fault. Boot manufacturers usually make boots using universal sizes. If your feet happen to deviate from the universal sizes, you will always have to choose either one that is slightly bigger or smaller—and it is always better to choose a slightly bigger pair.

Also, it is easier to tell if a pair of soccer cleats are too small for your feet. However, you may need to use the soccer cleats for a while to discover that they are too tight for your feet.

In rare instances, you may be using a soccer cleat that gives you snug but which becomes bigger after a while. This happens because some materials used for making soccer cleats expand.

Well, it will interest you to know that the majority of people wear the wrong boot sizes—so you are not alone. Wearing a pair of soccer cleats that are too big for your feet can have dire consequences.

Wearing cleats that are bigger than your feet can also lead to blisters—particularly on your heels. This is because the heels are likely to lift each time you try to walk or run.

The sliding movement of the feet creates friction between your heels and that of the soccer cleats leading to blistering. Wearing big cleats can also interfere with your performance since you will be unable to run or walk properly.

The findings of one of the interesting studies carried out among runners show that wearing bigger shoes leads to an increase in activity on the calf and lower propulsive force.

What this means is that while wearing bigger boots will increase the amount of work done by your calf muscles, it will also lower your speed. This also increases your chance of coming down with muscle pull.

Cleats that are too large will also increase your chances of falling when you try to accelerate during a soccer game. It can also take the sting off your shots. In fact, they will lower your overall performance.

Soccer player wear socks and blue cleats

Some of the issues you may face when you use soccer cleats that are bigger than your feet include

  • Blisters on the heels
  • Heel lift while walking
  • Pain in the calves and thighs
  • Increased risk of slip and fall
  • Higher risk of ankle twist or sprain
  • Impede performance
  • Muscle pull

If you recently bought cleats that are bigger than your feet or your old cleats suddenly became bigger, what should you do? Throw them away?

Don’t discard those cleats yet until you have read this post. In this post, we are going to tell you all the techniques that you can use to tighten your soccer cleats.

Why Do You Need to Tighten Soccer Cleats?

As a soccer player, it’s important to wear fit cleats while playing the game. There are a lot of disadvantages to playing soccer with cleats that are slightly above your foot size.

Before we proceed to the methods of fixing oversized cleats, it’s important to state why as a soccer player, you should never use oversized cleats when playing the game.

Slippery feet in soccer cleats

Oversized cleats have extra space around the feet. This causes the feet to bounce around in the cleat. As the player runs around the field, the extra spaces cause the feet to slip.

With all of this movement, the heels can get exposed and it could lead to injuries. Slippery feet also don’t allow for good ball control.

The cleats might get broken

With the cleats not a perfect fit for the feet, it tends to hit the floor at disproportionate angles. Over time, this could lead to ripping along the sides or soles. The studs too may be subject to damage.

Reduced shot precision

Loosely fit cleats, not only reduce ball control but also affect shot precision. With the feet bouncing around in the cleats, proper contact with the ball is not achieved. Even when you get a chance to take a shot, oversized cleats make it quite uncomfortable.

Soccer player are shooting the ball

How to tighten soccer cleats?

Wearing soccer cleats that are larger than your feet predisposes you to a plethora of foot problems including neuromas, Achilles tendonitis, and arch pain.

Wearing it over a prolonged period can even affect your entire body including the neck, back, and knees. The right-fitting soccer cleats should offer ankle support and prevent your feet from rubbing in any area of the boots.

Inasmuch as there is a universal size labeling, there is no guarantee that a size 8 Adidas is what it is. The first thing you should always try to do when you get boots that are bigger than your feet is to return them.

However, when you end up with boots that are larger than your feet that you cannot return, try some of the tricks below to get it tighter.

1. Use padded insoles

Insoles help to provide a cushion from vibrations coming from under the soles. More specialized insoles help to support the body posture. However, they are also useful in filling up the soccer cleats to make them tighter.

Insoles are grouped into foam, gel, thermal, leather, and odor-destroying depending on the material used for their production. Interestingly, it is easy to predict what the different types of insoles do by looking at their names.

If you are stuck with soccer cleats that are bigger than your feet, using foam insoles can help to fill up the excess spaces to give you a snug fit. They have a fluid form that is adjustable to take the shape of your foot, giving you the luxury of an extra dash.


Sometimes you may need to double the insoles to properly fill whatever space there is in the soccer cleat to achieve a snug fit. The steps for using insoles are simple and straightforward.


  • Purchase the suitable insoles of your choice. Make sure they are the same size as your soccer cleats
  • Take out the insoles in the soccer cleats. If they are glued, use a sharp object to pry them out
  • Insert the new insoles and glue down where necessary

2. Change the lacing technique

One of the ways to tighten soccer cleats is by changing your lacing technique.

While the purpose of some lacing techniques is just to improve the aesthetics of the footwear, others have a more functional use. For example, army lacing is used to make boots feel freer and is most suitable when you have tight boots.

On the other hand, the ladder lacing helps to tighten your boots and is more suitable when you have bigger boots that you want to fit your feet.


  • Begin by passing the laces under the first eyelets at the base of the soccer cleats.
  • Pull them outward and balance so that the laces on both sides have equal length
  • Loop the laces into the second eyelets
  • Bring out the right lace from under the eyelet and pass it through the loop on the left and then loop it into the third eyelet. Do the same for the left lace
  • Pull them as tightly as possible before repeating the process in the third eyelet
  • Continue until you get to the top of the soccer cleats
  • End in a surgical knot to keep the laces steady and prevent them from coming undone every time

A women soccer player is tying her soccer shoelaces before a match

3. Double up on socks thickness

Wearing thick socks can help when you have soccer cleats that are slightly bigger than your feet. The socks will fill up the excess spaces in the soccer cleats to give you snug or near-snug fit.

The combination of thick socks and the right lacing technique can improve the fitting of your soccer cleats around the instep. Interestingly, thick socks work in different parts of the feet.

It can help to reduce the incidence of heel lift as well as improve fitting around the foot arch. While soccer players are usually not allowed to wear any other socks apart from their official team socks, you can beat that using the simple socks cutting trick.


  • Purchase a pair of grip socks with the right thickness. To lower the chances of getting into trouble with match officials, make sure the thick pair of socks is the same color as your official match socks
  • Wear your thicker pair of socks first. Make sure you opt for the short version of your thick pair of socks with a length that should not exceed the lower leg
  • Cut off the bottom area of your official soccer socks, turning it into a footless tube. There are four different ways of cutting the official soccer socks.
  • Wear the footless tube over the thicker socks and tape it at the ankle
  • Now you can enjoy the better fitting offered by the thicker socks without getting into trouble with the match officials
adidas Copa Zone Cushion 4 Soccer Socks (1-Pair) for Men, Women, Boys and Girls, Black/White, Medium
LUX Anti Slip Soccer Socks, Non Slip Football/Basketball/Hockey Sports Grip Pads Socks White One Size
adidas Copa Zone Cushion 4 Soccer Socks (1-Pair) for Men, Women, Boys and Girls, Black/White, Medium
LUX Anti Slip Soccer Socks, Non Slip Football/Basketball/Hockey Sports Grip Pads Socks White One Size
adidas Copa Zone Cushion 4 Soccer Socks (1-Pair) for Men, Women, Boys and Girls, Black/White, Medium
adidas Copa Zone Cushion 4 Soccer Socks (1-Pair) for Men, Women, Boys and Girls, Black/White, Medium
LUX Anti Slip Soccer Socks, Non Slip Football/Basketball/Hockey Sports Grip Pads Socks White One Size
LUX Anti Slip Soccer Socks, Non Slip Football/Basketball/Hockey Sports Grip Pads Socks White One Size

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alternatively, you can wear thick socks on the inside and wear your official soccer socks on the outside without cutting them. This will further increase the thickness and better fill up the spaces in the boots.

However, the problem with doing this is that the different pairs of socks may rub against each other thereby lowering your stability and making it easier for you to slip and fall.

4. Stuffing with soft materials

When you buy a new pair of boots (regular boots, not soccer boots), they are often stuffed with materials to keep the toe box from collapsing. Well, you can borrow an idea from this trick to tighten your soccer cleats.


  • Get soft materials like tissue paper, cotton balls, soft clothes, thin slices of foam, or any other soft material that you can find in your home
  • Stuff the toe box with some of these materials and keep checking until you’re your heel snugs with that of your soccer cleats
  • With your foot in the boot, line these soft materials on both sides of the foot to eat up any extra space that exists there
  • Lace your boots to properly lock your foot and the materials into the boots

Stuffing can look really messy but it works to tighten your soccer cleats. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most effective DIY techniques for tightening soccer cleats.

some materials to tighten Soccer Cleats

5. Taping your ankles

Taping of the ankle is something that soccer players do a lot. While the primary reason for the taping of the ankle is to provide ankle support and limit ankle movement in order to prevent injuries, it can also be an effective method in getting your foot to fit snugly into big soccer cleats.

Ankle taping takes time to accomplish but the dual benefit makes the entire process and the time invested worthwhile. For this, you will need athletic tape and pre-wraps.

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Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Place the pre-wrap around the areas of the foot that you will be wrapping with the athletic tape. Pre-wrap helps to prevent any irritation that may occur from tape coming directly in contact with your skin
  • Start by doing two anchor tapes around the ankle
  • Do two to three stirrups using the anchor tape as support
  • Perform the heel lock by taping around the heels in a figure 8 fashion
  • Close any exposed area that was not properly taped and secure any loose ends

There are three different ways of taping the ankle. Although the process differs slightly, the goal remains the same—to prevent sprain.

The bigger your soccer cleats, the thicker you should make the taping so that it can fill more spaces in the boots. See the step-by-step guide on the different ways of taping the ankle here.

6. Insert heel grips

Makryn Premium Heel Pads Inserts Grips Liner for Men Women,Back of Heel Protectors Cushions Prevent Too Big Shoe from Slipping,Blisters,Filler for Loose Shoe Fit (Black 4Pairs)
  • High Quality Materials: Made of microfiber materials,ensure breathable, comfort and cushioning
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Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If by chance the sides of the soccer cleats fit snuggly but it is slightly longer than your feet, the use of a heel insert can help to push your foot forward so that you will get a snug fit.

In addition to giving you a better fit, the use of a heel insert is a common technique used to stop heel lift and the blistering that comes from it. The use of heel inserts is simple and can be accomplished in a few easy steps.


  • Get the heel grip of your choice
  • Remove any protective film covering the side with the glue
  • Place it against the heel area of your boots making sure that there are no air bubbles
  • Apply pressure on the heel inserts until it is properly glued to the heels of your boots

7. Use a toe protector

Bukihome 12 PCS Toe Protectors, Silicone Toe Caps to Cushion Toe Blister, Corn, Callus, Great for Running, Walking, Stop Toe Pain
  • Relieve Pain Instantly - Big toe caps protect blisters, calluses, sore corn, ingrown toenail, toe...
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Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you have a slim toe but end up with soccer cleats with a wide toe area, the problem you will notice is that while the rest of the boots give a snug fit, the toe area will feel loose making it harder for you to maintain your grip.

Toe protectors are designed to protect the toes from rubbing on each other or rubbing directly with the material of the boots, which is one of the causes of blistering in that area.

However, the use of a toe protector can also help to fill up the spaces in your toe area to give you an overall snug fit. Using a toe protector is really easy as you will see in the steps below.


  • Purchase your preferred toe protector. Some are made of cotton while a vast majority are made of silicone
  • Wear them on all the toes or a few of the toes (depending on the amount of space you have in the toe area of your boots). The larger the space, the more toes you will need to cover

8. Try a tongue pad

If every other area of the boots fits snuggly except your instep, the combination of the tongue pad with the proper lacing technique can work magic in this area.

Just like the heel pad, the tongue pad is easy to use. However, the quality of experience you will get will depend largely on the quality of your chosen product.

3 Pairs of Felt Tongue Pads for Shoes, Size Large
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Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Purchase the right tongue pad
  • Peel off the protective adhesive backing
  • Place it on the tongue of your soccer cleats
  • Apply pressure to make sure that they stick properly

Note: If the gap between your instep and the top of your boots is much, you can use two tongue pads to make it tighter.

9. Ankle brace for the heels

Candy Li Ankle Support,Adjustable Ankle Brace Breathable Nylon Material Super Elastic and Comfortable,1 Size Fits all, Suitable for Sports (blue 1)
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Last update on 2023-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This product helps soccer players to avoid ankle injuries, but it’s not only limited to that. It’s comfortable and adaptable to fill up the spaces in the heel and toe region of your cleats.

With the ankle brace in place, any space behind the foot is filled up. This pushes the entire foot forward to cover up additional space in the toe area.

10. Contact a cobbler

If all methods fail to work, this is the final solution to ensure your oversized cleats fit. The fact is that you need the touch of a professional to attend to your cleats because they have the required tools and machines your cleats need.

Although it may be a more costly method to fix an oversized soccer cleat, it’s a more effective method if you’re unable to successfully apply any of the above.

a cobbler is working


The first sane thing to do when you get boots that are bigger than your foot will always be to try and return them. Only attempt to tighten your soccer cleats when returning them is not an option.

The choice of technique you should try will generally depend on the material used in making the boots. Also, it may interest you to know that you can combine one or more techniques for a more efficient result.

For example, if the soccer cleat is one inch longer and wider than your foot, you can decide to wear double socks then include heel pads to get a good fitting length-wise, and stuff the boot with soft material to fill the sides.

Likewise, some methods may not be suitable for use in certain climates. For example: Wearing a double pair of socks may not be a smart thing to do during the summer.

Hopefully, one or a combination of two or more techniques listed above should help you to get a snug fit with your soccer cleats. However, if everything else fails, take the soccer cleats to a cobbler for more aggressive tightening procedures.

Athletes will always go to extreme lengths to improve their performance and it often starts with a snugly fitting pair of boots.

Using different techniques to make boots tighter is a common practice among athletes. So, never ever feel like you are alone in this practice because you are not.