Heel slippage when walking is one of the more common problems people experience with new shoes. It can be caused by several different things, but it’s not always easy to know which. Here’s a list of the most common causes, and the solutions that exists – or in some cases don’t exist.


1. The shoes aren’t put on correctly. Solution: Push back the heel firmly and lace tight.
This is in fact very common in, many don’t push the heel all the way back in the shoe before they are being laced, and many also pull the laces too loose. This causes the foot to not be fixated in the heel area as it should, and it can easily slip.

Here’s a person who hasn’t tightened the laces properly, which makes the shoes quarters not closing in on the shoe and leaves space around the opening.

2. The shoe is too long. Solution: Inserting heel grip might work, or the last/model is not for you.
This is a different fit issue, where you simply have a shoe that is a bit too long, and it becomes loose in the heel area (the top picture is an example of this). One thing that can work is to attach a heel grip or have a cobbler insert leather distances in the back, which makes the foot come forward a bit and have the heel to ball fit working. If the shoe is to large overall an insole could solve this.  Otherwise it’s unfortunately not the shoe to recommend to you.

3. The instep of your feet is too low for the last/model. Solution: Inserting a tongue pad/distance might work, or the last/model is not for you.
If you have a slightly lower instep than what suits a last and model, the shoe can have problems with keeping down your foot in this area, and heel slippage can occur. If you have a lower instep derbys and monk shoes might be extra difficult. It can work to attach a tongue pad, either a form of self-adhesive pad which you put under the tongue, or you can have a cobbler put in one in leather, which often gets better. This fill up the space over the instep and the shoe can be tighten enough. Also a thin insole can function if the shoe is large in other areas as well. If none of this works, this is not the last/model for you.

Here the wearer has a too low instep for the shoe, which is visible in how much space there is at the sides of the opening. Even if the person would tighten the laces a but more there would likely still be problems. All photos: StyleForum

4. The heel stiffener is hard and has the wrong shape for you. Solution: Could work with to reshape the heel a bit with a leather distance, but probably the last/model is not for you.
This problem is most common on cheaper shoes with internal heel stiffeners in thermoplastic, and also celastic which are plastic-impregnated fabric, which may be hard and also doesn’t shape to the foot the same way as leather board or proper leather. If the heel in those cases has a shape that does not fit your heel, you may experience slippage. It can work to have a cobbler insert a heel distance that is different in thickness which shapes the heel a bit, but it’s hard to get this working well. It’s likely that the shoe is simply not to recommend for your feet.

5. The shoe is hard when it’s new. Solution: Break the shoe in, so it softens and bends easier.
New welted shoes with leather soles, but also rubber, and particularly if they are double, are relatively hard as new. There’s several layers of stiff leather that needs to be bent over and over until it’s soften, and during the time when the shoes are still hard it’s not uncommon that heel slippage occur. When the shoe is worn in there’s not the same resistance when the shoe bends and the slippage goes away.