Ask The Pedorthist: Hammer Toes

Hammer_Toes For those of you that have a painful rigidity in any of your toes commonly known as a “Hammer Toe”, you know that getting a good fit in a closed toe shoe can be a challenge. It seems that every time you have enough room for your toes, the heel fit is too loose, and when you get the heel to fit properly, your toes are getting cramped. This is because hammer toes cause a problem of proportion, as your forefoot now needs proportionately more room to be comfortable than your midfoot and heel. Here’s a few pointers to help you find something comfortable:
  1. Find a shoe with a High Toe Box

    The “Toe Box” refers to the part of the shoe where your toes are sitting. The “height” of the toe box refers to how much depth is built into that section of the shoe. Shoes with more depth in the toe box will give you more wiggle room in the toes. Many styles from the brands Waldlaufer and Dansko typically offer higher toe boxes.

  2. Find a shoe made with soft materials

    Although a shoe made with softer materials won’t typically last as long, it will be much more comfortable for someone with painful hammer toes. Try to find footwear that is constructed with soft, and if possible, stretchy materials so you can fit the rest of the shoe more appropriately without cramping your toes. Check out the Waldlaufer Henni (insert link here) group of shoes for some great casual styles that are made of extremely soft materials.

  3. Find shoes with elastic, straps, or laces

    As I spoke about in m yprevious post about fitting bunions properly, having a shoe with some adjustability built into it will help you provide more room for your toes while enabling you to tighten the arch and heel fitting. Shoes with straps and lace are more popular than ever now, so take advantage while they’re in style and make yourself more comfortable. You’ll find tons of models with adjustability on our site.

    As always, you can email me at if you have any specific questions.

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