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How To Stop Boots From Rubbing Ankles : 13 Practical Solutions 2023

You’ve landed here so you must be wondering how to stop boots from rubbing ankles because it’s certainly a mood killer!

Having boots rubbing the back of your ankles can cause blisters, chafing, and abrasions. 

If not treated, they will become worse. When they dry, you’ll see brown spots on your ankles O_O

After all, shoes support your feet and make you feel comfortable, especially if you walk regularly. 

So, ankle pain is the last thing you want to experience after a long day.

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

Before you decide to toss the shoes away, or give them to your brother or a friend, read on to find out how to stop this problem. 

At a glance, this article will cover:

13 Tips On How To Stop Boots From Rubbing Ankles

  1. Insert Insoles
  2. Wear Thick Socks
  3. Stick Moleskin (Gel Cushion) To Your Shoes’ Inner Collar
  4. Keep Your Shoes And Feet Dry
  5. Stretch Your Shoe Soles
  6. Minimize Foot Movement
  7. Stick Some Duct Tape
  8. Apply Anti-Friction Sticks
  9. Use A Shoe Stretcher
  10. Insert Cotton Wool
  11. Flex Shoe Seams
  12. Fix Rough Edges
  13. Send Your Shoes To The Cobbler


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13 Tips On How To Stop Boots From Rubbing Ankles

1. Insert Insoles

Inserting insoles is the most recommended tip because it provides support and comfort when walking. 

Insoles add a slight lift to your foot, preventing boots from rubbing the back of your ankle so blisters won’t form.

Another method is using silicone heel cups to help correct your heel alignment and provide stability. 

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

Recommended insoles: Timberland PRO Anti-Fatigue Technology Replacement Insole

2. Wear Thick Socks

Wearing thick socks can minimize the friction between your shoe and ankle, especially if the shoe material is stiff. If you don’t have thick socks, put on a double layer.

If you worry that this tip will make your shoes feel too tight, wear thinner socks and thicker ones on the outside. You can switch them too, whichever you prefer.

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

Recommended socks: Carhartt A207-2 All-Terrain Boot Sock 2-Pack

3. Stick Moleskin (Gel Cushion) To Your Shoes’ Inner Collar

You can easily find moleskin in most drugstores. You can either glue or sew the moleskin to the inner collar of the shoes.

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

Moleskin is smooth, friendly on your feet, incredibly resilient, and long-lasting. So, wearing a moleskin reduces the impact of shoes rubbing on the rear of your ankle. 

The boots may still rub, but you will not be wounded. 

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

Recommended moleskin: Cramer Moleskin

4. Keep Your Shoes And Feet Dry

It is more likely that you will slip if your feet are moist, which causes friction, so you should dry your shoes and feet before wearing them.

Choose merino wool or water-resistant and breathable shoe styles to help keep your feet dry and comfortable. 

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

Otherwise, you can also use this absorbent powder for the same purpose.

5. Stretch Your Shoe Soles

Use a hairdryer to heat the backs of your shoes to soften them slightly. To chill off, put on your socks and shoes and walk around. The warm back will adapt to fit your heel more comfortably when moving.

If the rubbing does not go away after a few attempts, repeat the steps. 

This idea works best for leather or suede, not canvas or other materials. Also, be sure to keep the hairdryer far enough away from your shoes so that it doesn’t burn them.

6. Minimize Foot Movement

We all have one foot that is slightly bigger compared to the other.

So, one foot will fit nicely into a shoe compared to the other. Most likely, the smaller foot will frequently move inside the shoe, resulting in pain at the rear of the ankle and heel.

Aside from using insoles, heel cups, or moleskins to reduce friction, it’d be best to measure your feet to determine your ideal shoe size.

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7. Stick Some Duct Tape

Duct tape is generally made from smooth and durable material and can be used to reduce friction before running or jogging.

However, do ensure that you don’t stick it directly on your foot as you’ll feel uncomfortable. 

It is also advisable not to stick it to your socks because it won’t stick well. Instead, stick it on the inside collar of your shoes.

Avoid using duct tape if you already have blisters on your ankles to prevent them from worsening.

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

We recommend the Duck Max Strength duct tape that sticks well to various materials. Moreover, it is stiff and sufficiently flexible to wrap around an uneven shape.

8. Apply Anti-Friction Sticks

Anti-friction sticks work similarly to ‘boot lubricant’. Make sure to apply a small amount to your ankles or feet before putting on your boots.

They come in various shapes and sizes, so choose one that works best for you. However, it’s not advisable to use these sticks if you have sensitive skin.

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

We recommend the Foot Petals Women’s Blisstick Anti-Friction Stick to prevent friction blisters.

9. Use A Shoe Stretcher

Try stretching your shoes at home with a shoe stretcher. First, place your shoes on a stable and level surface like floor tiles or wood. Next, insert the stretcher inside the toe area. 

Stretch it out until you can feel the material around the back of your heels loosening. 

Stretching one foot may take longer than the other because their sizes vary. Once done, wear your shoes for a few days to test them out until you feel comfortable.

10. Insert Cotton Wool

Insert the cotton wool into the back of your shoes or socks. This method is a quick and easy solution to ease the pain of having your shoes rub the back of your ankles. But remember, it can only last for a short while before you start getting blisters!

11. Flex Shoe Seams

You can also stop boots from rubbing your ankles without using any equipment. 

First, dampen the inside of your shoes with water. Next, with your thumb, press on the back of the boot at the spot where the top meets the back counter, and it will cause the side seams to pop away from the ankle area. 

Don’t stop until you feel that the ankle area is soft enough. You should be able to get the side seams to lay flat or even curl outward away from the ankles if you do this correctly.

12. Fix Rough Edges

When the rear heel seams and layers of materials turn rough, the stitching may come out. So, they may be uneven or unsuited to your foot features. 

Instead of bandaging your hell every time, fix the shoes. 

You can sew moleskin padding over them or get them repaired if the seams and stitching have fallen apart.

13. Send Your Shoes To The Cobbler

A cobbler can fix your shoes for you if you can’t figure out how to stop them from rubbing your ankles or if you don’t have the time to fix it.

The cobbler will spray a stretching solution on the shoe to loosen the fibers.

 They have a machine to stretch the shoe while it’s still damp and dry it for a few hours so that it can adjust to the new size.

How To Stop Shoes From Rubbing Achilles

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone. Here are some tips for avoiding shoes from rubbing your Achilles:

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

1. Insert a pair of Achilles shield

2. Stick duct tape like a band-aid on the Achilles area

3. Tuck cotton pads inside your socks on the Achilles area

4. Get a cobbler to add insole on the Achilles area of the shoe

How To Stop Shoes From Rubbing Heels

Here are some tips on how to stop shoes from rubbing the back of your heels:

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

1. Put on liner socks as a barrier between your stockings and the heel

2. Put on a thick pair of socks to widen the gap inside your boots.

3. Slap a thick layer of Vaseline on the heels

how to stop boots from rubbing ankles

4. Stick a heel grip – moleskin covered gel or foam cushion strip inside the boot right in the place of the heels. 

What Causes Your Boots To Rub Your Ankles?

Although shoes are meant to support and give comfort to your feet… What is life without some challenges? A problem with the shoe is not without a solution.

Rule of thumb – when you shop for new shoes, remember to measure both feet, not just one foot. As a matter of fact, one foot will always be slightly bigger than the other! 

Fun fact: Asian myth has it that you have to bite the collar of your new shoes before wearing them. Especially the elders, it’s how they stop new shoes from rubbing their ankles. 

Not the mouse-nibbling-on-cheese bite – I’m talking about the chicken burger kind of shark bite! 

There’s no science or logic that can prove this myth. It’s just more probable than not that Asianshappen to have a good sense of humor! 

But first, let’s see why boots or shoes rub your ankles to get to the root of the problem.

The Shoes Don’t Fit

Putting on too big shoes will cause your feet to slip around, leading to friction. There is nothing worse than having your feet move every step forward, and it’s uncomfortable and irritating, and you will walk funny.

People who wear small shoes have their feet squeezed in.

 Make sure your shoes aren’t so tight that your ankles get stuck to the back of the boot when you move around. Your foot needs to breathe too.

If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it!

Wrong Shoes For Wrong Occasions

Walking shoes are engineered for walking, and indoor football shoes are engineered for indoor football. So, you can’t possibly wear a pair of indoor football shoes to take a stroll in the park. 

Wearing the wrong shoes can cause minor cuts on your ankles and the top of your foot. If the issue persists, blisters and other kinds of problems will form. And if you don’t treat them, you might not be able to wear your favorite shoes anymore. 

What Happens When Your Boots Rub Your Ankles?

Boots rubbing ankles will cause friction and form minor cuts with excruciating pain. There are four types of cuts that can make you feel highly uncomfortable:


Blisters are the most common problem arising from boots or shoes rubbing the back of your ankles. These fluid-filled small bumps can get worse if you bend or flex your ankle. It’s best to treat them before they burst because the exposed skin will lead to more infections. They will form dark spots on your ankles when dry. 


Constant friction and pressure will cause your ankle joint to hurt and swell. This condition is called bursitis, and it’s caused by tiny pieces of debris that get caught in the shoes you wear and rub against your ankle.

Achilles Tendinosis

This problem happens when you overuse heel muscles and tissues. It’s worse than bursitis because it can rupture your tendon, making walking or running more painful due to less shock absorption. 

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis happens when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed through overuse or an injury. You will feel pain even when touching your ankle, and it’s best to treat it immediately to avoid tendon rupture, which is extremely painful.

Tips For Better Foot Care

1. Wash Your Feet Daily With Lukewarm Water

Water that is too hot or cold can damage your skin. Use a gentle soap, and after washing, dry your feet thoroughly before putting on a pair of clean, dry socks.

2. Trim Nails Diligently

Nails are home for germs! But don’t cut them too short to avoid soreness. Visit the nail parlor if you think you cut your nails badly.

3. If The Shoe Fits, Wear It

You might have heard of this idiom but in this case, take it literally, especially if you run or jog regularly. Otherwise, you’ll get blisters which can cause other problems for your feet.

4. Apply Lotion Before You Sleep

Moisturizing your feet is good for keeping your skin soft and healthy. Before going to bed, apply some lotion on your feet and wear socks to avoid staining your bedsheet.

5. Control Your Sugar Intake

If you don’t, you’ll get diabetes, a chronic disease that can make you lose your foot due to amputation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are My Boots Hurting My Ankles?

Before buying a pair of new boots, measure your feet carefully. Ankle pain from work boots is usually caused by improper boot size or inadequate padding inside the boot. Upon wearing your boots for the first time, roam around the house until they become soft. Otherwise, try one of the methods above.

How Do You Stop New Boots From Rubbing Ankles?

Tips on how to stop new shoes rubbing the back of your ankle:

1. Insert Insoles

2. Wear Thick Socks

3. Stick Moleskin

4. Keep Feet and Shoes Dry

5. Stretch Shoe Soles

6. Minimize Foot Movement

7. Stick Duct Tape

8. Apply Anti-Friction Sticks

9. Use Shoe Stretcher

10. Insert Cotton Wool

11. Flex Shoe Seams

12. Remove Rough Edges

13. Send Shoes To Cobbler

Your feet are as crucial as other parts of your body, so taking care of them is essential. I know it can be frustrating dealing with blisters, but if there’s a will, there’s a way. Buying shoes is a process, so it’s advisable to be more diligent in choosing the pair of shoes that fit you well. 

Take the time to measure your feet instead of just one foot because we all have one foot that is bigger than the other. 

Now that you know how to stop boots from rubbing ankles, you can try each method and stick to the one you’re most comfortable with.