Toe spacers have taken off on TikTok as of lately, but are they worth doing? Also called toe separators - they sit in between your form and promote better foot positions overall.
So what are toe spacers, how do they work and how can you be sure that you’re buying the right ones?
Have no fear - we got your back :).
What Are Toe Spacers
Toe spacers are made of gel or silicon usually and slide over your toes in order to put space between your toes - and you guessed it - space them.
This is primarily done to realign toes too their proper position after years of being smashed into shoes that are likely - too small for your feet.
Toe Spacer Benefits
Toe spacers claim to have a wide variety of benefits including:
- Reduce friction
- Improve foot pain
- Alleviate foot deformities or mal-adaptions
- Improve overall arch support
- Prevent foot and ankle injuries
- Improve blood flow
- Restore proper foot position
- Create a stable foundation
- Build stronger foot muscles
- Improve your overall balance and athleticism
- Create more resilient feet
- Improve overall balance
- Improve running and walking speed
- Reverse movement imbalances
Do You Need Toe Spacers?
If you have perfect feet - you might not need toe spacers. However, if you frequently find you have ailments like plantar fasciitis, hammertoe, corns, bunions, blisters or overlapping toes - toe spacers may help fix alleviate these in the short term and promote practices that prevent you from getting them in the long term.
Think about them as very gentle braces - but for your toes instead of your teeth.
How to Wear Toe Spacers?
Depending on the specific toe spacer you buy (we’ll get into that in a second), you can wear toe spacers in a variety of settings including:
- In bed while sleeping
- Lounging around the house
- During yoga and other workouts
- At the beach
- Outdoors in the mountains as part of a grounding practice.
How Much Should Toe Spacers Cost?
We’ve seen toe spacers cost anywhere from $15 to $80. The main differentiator between the prices seem to be materials and branding, but they all do the same thing when it comes down to it.
You just want to make sure you’re not having to replace your super-cheap spacers all the time.
How Long Should I Wear Toe Spacers For?
When you first start using toe spacers, you should work your way up. Like anything else - you don’t want to push things too hard, too fast.
Start with 30-60 minutes at first and see how it feels. You may need to cut it down to 15 minutes as your feet feel the stretch for the first time in a long time.
After a while, you may be able to work up to 2, 3, 4 or even more hours in a day. Some people go on long, outdoor hikes without issue with their toe spacers - but that may take some practice
Toe Spacers for Bunions
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the base of your big toe and can sometimes cause your foot to move out of it’s proper position.
This is often caused by narrow, tight shoes that force your foot out of place.
This actually brings up one of the original uses for toe spacers since medically they were originally called “bunion correctors” or on their own were called “bunion pads.”
If you’ve been looking for bunion spacers - they’ve got a newer (and in our minds much cooler) name now - toe spacers.
Toe Spacers for Running
Toe spacers have become incredibly popular lately for runners and hikers. After spending lots of time beating their feet up - toe spreaders can help improve pressure relief, realign your feet and improve blood flow.
Honestly, it’s also just nice to be able to give back to your feet and give them a micro-spa day when you ask them to do so much for you all the time.
Toe Spacers for Hammer Toes
Hammer Toes is caused by a contracture in the tendon in your toes. This causes your toe to look bent and eventually it may begin to look like a “hammer.”
While this might not be noticeable at first, over time it becomes an issue.
Toe spacers (also known as “hammer toe straighteners” can help realign your feet into their correct position and straighten out your toes.
If done consistently and correctly over time, you can train and strengthen your feet in order to stop and possibly reverse “hammer toes” and make your feet strong again.
Toe Spacers for Pedicures
Of course, people use toe spacers for more innocuous activities - like getting a pedicure. However, if you have one you use for the other purposes - you can simply reuse them for your pedicure easily.
Toe Spacers vs. Toe Separators vs. Toe Spreaders
Toe spacers and toe separators are essentially different names for the same thing. However, the one difference is small.
Toe spacers are meant to help correct foot posture as a mobility tool for your foot.
Toe separators are sometimes used in referring to the spacers you’d get during a manicure so your feet simply don’t touch each other.
Toe spreaders are usually considered the disposable version of the ones you’ve find at the nail salon.
Similar, but slightly different.
The Best Toe Spacers to Buy
If you’re looking at buying a toe spacer - you’re in luck. There’s several great options available and the good news is that none of them are particularly expensive.
Here’s what we’ve tried out:
The Toe Spacers
Size: One size fits all
Target: Athletes + Everyone
The Toe Spacers are an athletic focused brand that offer a range of mobility products - including toe spacers.
These guys have somehow managed to make toe spacers look…cool? We’re not sure how they did it - but somehow they mashed up a Crossfit aesthetic with a weird foot mobility tool…and it works.
They also offer several other mobility tools including an “8 ball pack” that includes a mobility peanut that you can use to do several different mobility routines.,
Size: XS, S, M, L
Target: Orthopedic needs
Correct toes seems squarely focused on orthopedic needs that require toe spacing. Founded by a doctor, they have 4 sizes (the most we’ve seen) and several colors to choose from.
They have detailed documentation on how to use the spacers for different issues - so while it might not have the best branding in the world - they’ve done the research to back up their talk.
If you need to make sure you have toe spacers hat fix your feet - no matter what - you’re going to want to get your toes correct.
Size: Men’s & Women’s
Target: General population
Yoga toes seems laser focused on the female population and these almost look more like they’re focused on toe spacers for pedicures than movement.
The “GEMS®” are their primary focus - but it’s not super clear to us what they offer over normal silicone spacers.
They are colorful and if you’re going to be having your feet out and about while doing your spacing - these might be the ones you want to go with.
Size: Small, Medium, Large
Target Market: Runners
Earthrunners are targeted towards barefoot runners and walkers who want to space their toes more effectively. They launched on kickstarter in 2012 and in their words: “Earth Runners were created to rewild our lives in response to the typical modern domesticated lifestyle”
Toe spacers are one of their several barefoot focused and rewinding products. If you’re mountaineering or getting outside a bunch, these might be the toe spacers for you.
Cost: $24.95 (for two pair)
Size: Small + Large
Target Market: General Market
Awesome Toes has a great little package they send their toe spacers in. While they are slightly more expensive than other spaces on the list - they come in a pack of 2 - so you’re basically getting twice the value - and you can share the other size with a significant other or a friend.
I personally bought these and found them to be both high quality and comfortable. You can use them in a wide range of activities or just lounging around the house. The packaging is a nice touch too.
If you’re looking for a good general purpose toe spacer, this is a good start.
You can also get Toe Spacers at CVS. We recommend these ones.
The Last Word on Toe Spacers
Toe spacers are relatively inexpensive and natural way to help improve your foot posture, regain your baseline foot strength and promote better foot positions. If you’re wanting to try these out, it’s cheap and easy to do - with no special tools or prohibitive costs involved - so see how toe spacers work for you!
Other Mobility & Posture Resources
Other mobility and posture resources you might find helpful
- The beginner’s guide to mewing
- How to improve your posture
- An introduction to biomechanics
- The best cold plunges of 2022
- The best outdoor saunas of 2022
- The best posture correctors
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash