Don't ignore your toes when they cry out for help. The world can be cruel to them, especially when they have to face it in ill-fitting shoes. They're actually looking to you for protection. Here's an age-old trick still works like a charm when finding a pair of shoes that protect your toes:
Place down your thumb between your big toe and the tip of the shoe. Your thumb should be able to press down all the way to the bottom of the shoe, without any toes getting in the way. If this doesn’t happen, try a larger size.
While standing up, spread and wiggle your toes around, to make sure there is enough room for movement.
The technical name for the part of the shoe you are pushing: the toe box, which provides your toes with space and protection from impact while allowing them to move comfortably.
As a human being, the width span of your toes should be wider than the balls of your feet. Does your shoe know this? Many do not. Find shoes that offer a wide toe box.
Here are some other toe box realities to keep in mind:
Worst case scenario of an ill-fitting toe box: cramping or crushing, leading to blisters, corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, and even black toenails. In extreme cases, it could lead to arthritis, but this is rare.
The best kind of toe box to look for: the one that offers extra depth, and is leather-reinforced, which makes the box “breathable.”
Not all toe boxes are actually "boxy:" the word “box” may be misleading, because toe boxes come in a number of shapes and styles. Many foot doctors believe that “rounded” boxes provide the best protection because it allows the most breathing room.
Toe boxes to avoid: those with pointed toes, often found in certain boots. This pointed style will prevent your toes from lying flat. This causes a condition known as metatarsalgia: pain and inflammation in the metatarsal bones and in the ball of the foot
The only shoe not to feature a toe box: sandals.
Remember that even after you find the perfect fit, your shoes -- including the toe box -- will wear down over time and will need to be replaced. It’s often recommended to replace shoes every six months to a year.
Love your toes, but don't ever let them get hugged too tightly.
Click here to find out how Orthofeet shoes can offer you the best toe box for your feet.