Did you know that a healthy bare foot is actually wider across the toes than it is across the ball of the foot? Ideally, our feet should be similar in shape to a slice of pizza, the narrowest part being the heel, the widest part being the toes. Ok, maybe pizza is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
A pizza-shaped foot is not a common sight in our modern world however (nor is a bare one for that matter). Most feet we see are are deformed, with the big and little toes pointed inwards (towards the other toes) rather than outwards - a torpedo-shaped foot. The culprit of course is modern footwear designed for fashion with the ever prevalent pointy toebox. Even people who have moved to being barefoot or wearing minimalist shoes will continue to maintain this deformity. It is tough (sometimes impossible) to turn back the clock on years of footwear use and abuse.
If you have torpedo feet, it might be more than just aesthetics - you may also have physical problems. Bunions, ingrown toenails, or neuromas to name a few. While being barefoot is the ideal way to deal this deformity (and the associated problems), you may have circumstances where being barefoot is not always an option or you may be looking for ways to help the process along.
I am always a little leery of products that help things along faster. Generally our body knows how fast it needs to heal. Sometimes though a little help is required to assist our body in healing correctly. Take a cast for example. Without a cast, our body would heal on it's own, but it may not be pretty or ideal.
Correct Toes is a product designed to rehabilitate feet. The position of the toes, more specifically. They are made out of hypo-allergenic, medical-grade silicone. They have slots at the big toe and the pinky toe for inserting wedges to spread the toes even wider if you need it. According the their website, correct toes provide:
- Correction of: bunions, hallux limitus and rigidus, tailor’s bunions, corns, ingrown toenails, heel pain, plantar fasciosis, neuromas, capsulitis, lower leg pain, and runner’s knee. No surgery or medications required!
- Better balance in athletes, Parkinson’s patients, and elderly.
- Decreased injury rates in athletes, due to allowing the body to make better use of natural physiological adaptations that are hampered by current footwear available to athletes.
- Increased performance in athletes (especially walkers and runners) by promoting foot positions that scientific studies have shown to have a 4 to 5% performance edge.
- Improved strength and flexibility of the toes. This enhances proprioception, and subsequently the brain signals the body to move forward more naturally.
- Less osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis), which currently plagues a majority of senior citizens, as well as a high percentage of the younger population.
I am not a foot doctor, nor have I had to deal with most of the issues that Correct Toes is claimed to help with. Therefore I cannot vouch for how well this product works in all situations. Having relatively healthy feet myself, I still appreciate what these have to offer.
When I put correct toes on for the first time, I didn't notice too much. I am used to having things between my toes by wearing my FiveFingers and some of the thicker versions of toe socks. After wearing them for a couple hours, I did notice a little bit of aching (stretching?) going on - I assumed this was a good thing. After a few days of use it went away and I do not experience it any more.
- In winter, after a day of skiing with barefoot-unfriendly ski boots, it feels really good to put these on. I feel like I am rehabilitating my feet after a day of abuse.
- I like them as a rehabilitation tool. There are times when I feel like my toes have been abused and they need to be straightened out a bit. While some would argue that I just shouldn't abuse my feet that way - there sometimes are situations and activities where it cannot be avoided.
- They can be tweaked to get a good fit. You can trim the silicone in various places to help customize the fit for your feet. I had to do trim the bottom edge of mine as some of the protrusions where pressing uncomfortably into my foot, and it helped. Northwest Foot and Ankle (the makers of Correct Toes) have a YouTube video describing ways you can alter them for a better fit.
- The product is well supported, and has a money back guarantee.
- Despite being advertised as being usable in minimalist footwear, I haven't found a pair of shoes that I can fit these in comfortably - and I have tried a lot of shoes! I think my toes are on the fat side, so for those of you who have skinnier toes this might not be an issue.
- I can't get them to stay on with toe socks. Not that I really care to do that, but they are advertised as working that way.
- If I wear them to bed, they fall off my feet. I tried fixing the problem by sleeping with a pair of socks over them, but my toes went numb due to excessive pressure points. There are not a lot of pressure points, but after sleeping for a few hours, you notice them.
- I can't really walk around the house with them on. The fall off my toes, especially around the pinky toe.
Despite the dislikes I actually really like this product, I have just had to find the scenarios for which they best work for me. Most often it is sitting on the couch while working on my laptop or reading, watching a movie, etc. Times when I am resting and recuperating - I have found them to be an excellent foot health maintenance tool.
For those suffering from foot ailments due to years of footwear abuse, these have the potential to be a drug-free, surgery-free, low-risk tool to getting back on the road to health. For those with already healthy feet, I consider them an excellent tool for maintaining good foot-form, especially in a world where sports and activities sometimes require us to wear less-than-ideal footwear.