It is well documented that I am a shoe junkie. I have many pairs, some of which that do not fit me perfectly. I blame it on an awkward foot size. Technically I should be a US size 12.5 M based on actual foot measurements. Since 12.5 is not a common shoe size (most shoe makers will do half sizes through 12 then skip directly to 13), and size 12s are nearly always too small I'm left with sizing up to a 13. For the most part, this isn't a problem and I have many size 13 shoes that fit me pretty well. However, it is not unusual for me to buy a pair of shoes that are just a tad too large. The consequences are usually heel slippage and what ShoeMD diagnoses as CSS (Clown Shoe Syndrome). Heel slippage is treatable whereas there is currently no known cure for CSS but patients diagnosed with it have been known to live long and happy lives.
|This is a typical tongue pad.|
For the cure to heel slippage, enter the tongue pad. The concept is simple enough: shim up the shoe to accommodate a smaller foot. The modern tongue pad takes the form of a 1/4" thick felt patch with adhesive on one side. The pad is stuck, via the adhesive, to the inside of the vamp on the shoe's tongue. This pushes the foot back into the heel Truth be told, I had no idea that these little guys existed until I bought a pair of lightly used shoes on eBay that had them already installed. I didn't know what they were but they felt nice against my foot and the shoe fit perfectly because of it. I Googled "tongue pad" and low and behold, that's what they're called. I immediately ordered seven pair. I've put a few into some of my not-so-snug-fitting shoes and I now have shoes that fit! As an added bonus, if you're a trend-hopper like me and you sometimes wear your dress shoes sans socks, a tongue pad is a comfortable buffer between the top of your foot and bare leather.
I know the shoe snobs will deride the use of tongue pads and be all "ALWAYS try on shoes before buying" or "only buy shoes that fit perfectly" and "take out a second mortgage on your house and buy made-to-measure shoes". But for me, they work. They're a simple, inexpensive alternative to selling or returning shoes that are only slightly too large. A particular pair of chocolate brown suede loafers I thought I would have to sell on eBay wound up fitting after popping in a pair of tongue pads. Hey, that's worth it to me.