Tongue pads are used in shoes for several reasons, though the most common reason is to snug-up a loose-fitting shoe to prevent heel slippage. Most people have one foot that is slightly larger than the other, but some people may have two unique shoe sizes, which may result in foot slippage in the shoe on the smaller foot side. Certain foot or medical conditions, injuries, or congenital factors may be responsible for variations in foot size. It’s important to find shoes that are comfortable for both of your feet. If you wear shoes of different size, order the larger size and make adjustments—including using a tongue pad—to the smaller shoe to help reduce foot movement in that shoe.
Tongue pads are beneficial for the following reasons:
- They are economical and comfortable
- They can be used in many types of shoes
- They can be applied in a matter of seconds
- They gently push your foot back in your shoe, preventing heel slippage
- They can be used in place of detrimental shoe inserts that elevate your heel
- They can help reduce or eliminate any discomfort on the foot or ankle caused by a shoe's tongue
Tongue pads may also be particularly helpful in loose-fitting (i.e., loose around the ankle and heel) trail running shoes, as they prevent the repetitive jamming of your toes against the end of your shoes that often occurs when running on steep downhill terrain.
A tongue pad has an adhesive backing and is placed on the underside of your shoe’s tongue. Tongue pads work in all enclosed shoes. Simply remove the cover on the adhesive backing and place the pad in the appropriate location. Consider placing the pad a little lower down the tongue (i.e., toward your toes) than you might otherwise think; if the pad is placed too high up on the tongue, it may not have its intended effect. Tongue pads (two per package) come in one size and are universal (i.e., they can be used in either your right or left shoe).