How to add ankle straps to shoes

Updated March 29, 2018

Discovering that your shoes are too big after purchasing them can be frustrating---they can bring on discomfort, blisters, bruises and may even cause you to trip and fall. This is especially hazardous when wearing heels. Even if your shoes are a little bit too big, you can help alleviate the problem by adding an ankle strap. This can help make the shoes safer and more comfortable, while also adding a bit of style and flair.

Cut your leather or thick fabric into a strip 2 inches long and 1/2-inch wide.

Fold the 2-inch-by-1.5-inch piece in half lengthwise, pressing the two ends together.

Sew the two ends together using a whip stitch. This should create a loop about 1-inch high.

Attach the loop of leather or fabric to the inside centre of the topline of the shoe (the part that covers your heel); position the loop against the interior of the topline so that only about 1/4-inch of the strip is inside the shoe, with 3/4-inch of the strip extending upward.

Sew the strip into the topline of the shoe with needle and thread.

Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the other shoe.

Slide the longer lengths of fabric through the loops you have attached to the shoes and tie them around your ankle at the desired length.


You can switch up the look of your ankle straps by swapping in ankle straps from other shoes, or using ribbons or other types of fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Leather or thick fabric that matches your shoes
  • 2 strips of matching leather or thick fabric about 1/2-inch thick, and twice as long as the circumference of your ankles
  • Needle
  • Thread
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About the Author

Ashley Friedman graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Social Sciences. She has experience writing copy for the websites of creative professionals, and regularly contributes to several blogs covering popular culture, travel, food, and social action.