Have you ever bought a new pair of shoes and then found out that when you wear them they rub and give you blisters? Here’s how to stop shoes from rubbing the top of toes and some reasons why your poor feet might be having a problem.
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The Best Shoes to protect your toes will have a wide toe box and plenty of room in the vamp and toe cap.
These Bronax sneakers for Women are great for walking and give your toes room to move around freely.
Whitin sells barefoot shoes that are wide and leave room for your feet to spread out.
These men’s extra wide shoes are easy to slip on and have arch support in the loafer.
Why Do My Toes Hit The Top Of My Shoe When I Walk?
If you’ve never experienced this problem before here are some reasons why a pair of shoes may be causing you problems. Sometimes you might need to do a little bit of detective work first to work out which of the issues applies to you.
These are some of the most common reasons why it happens which should give you some pointers as to what to look for it your footwear is painful and driving you crazy.
Your Shoes Are Too Small
I like to start with the most obvious explanation first and that is simply that you have bought the wrong shoe size. If you haven’t bought a pair of shoes that fit properly you are going to have problems.
I used to do this all the time especially when I was more into fashion shoes. I would see a design I liked and buy it even if it didn’t quite fit correctly because I thought I could work around it.
Age and experience have told me that this makes no sense. You need to spend time trying on shoes for size, walking around in them, and picking a pair that gives your toes enough room and that doesn’t dig into your ankle.
Don’t be tempted into thinking you can get away with a little rubbing or movement because you can’t and the friction will cause you blisters and annoyance.
Shoes Not Broken In Sufficiently
If you did buy the right size of shoes then you need to consider whether you have broken them in sufficiently especially if they are leather shoes.
Leather can be relatively unforgiving when it is stiff and new which means that when you are wearing shoes made from the material they can pinch or rub your skin whilst they are being broken in.
Learn how to break in your leather shoes and boots properly and you will find that you have much less of a problem.
Seams or Shoe Design
Shoe design can also cause problems especially if the shoe has seams that are in the wrong places.
Seams that cause friction on the inside of your shoes can cause rubbing and friction and leave your toes covered in blisters or shoe bites. This problem is however relatively easily solved with products such as moleskin.
Toe Box Too Tight
If the toe box of your shoes is too tight or doesn’t give your toes enough room that can also cause a problem.
Try and choose shoes that allow your feet enough room to spread out inside the shoe. Make sure there is enough room at the top of the shoe so your toes aren’t hitting the inside of the toe box. Plus make sure that there is a little space inside the front of your shoes so that your toes aren’t touching the front of your footwear.
I have a hammer toe on one of my feet and this can also cause a problem because it sticks up when my foot is at rest or when I am walking.
A tight toe box is the last thing you need with a hammer toe as the top section of the toe will continually hit the top of your shoe. When it does this you can create corns or calluses.
I’ve written an article on the best sandals for hammer toes which can give you some ideas of what footwear can protect your feet to prevent friction and foot pain.
Whilst new shoes are often the problem a foot injury which causes swelling can be the culprit as well.
Anything that makes your feet or toes swell means that your shoes are not going to fit as they normally would. Hopefully, this is just a temporary problem which means that it makes sense to wear your roomiest shoes when this happens.
Finally, if you love wearing shoes like high heels then you are going to find you are more susceptible to your shoes rubbing the top of your toes.
This is because gravity pushes your foot forwards in your shoe causing it to hit the front part of your footwear which can cause foot pain and friction. Read about how to stop feet sliding forward in heels for ways to prevent this from happening.
Also, some high heels have much narrower and pointed-toe boxes which can also cause a problem.
How to Stop Toes Rubbing When Walking
Now you know why you might have a problem you now need to know how to stop shoes from rubbing the top of toes.
I have a number of solutions that you can use to reduce friction so the key for you is to work out which solution is going to be the easiest for your particular issue.
Here are some of my favorite methods of solving the annoying problem.
Shoes Rubbing Top of Toes – Use a Shoe Stretcher
Let’s start with an easy one first which works if you have bought shoes that are a little too small which is to use a shoe stretcher. Shoe stretchers are particularly useful for leather shoes and can usually increase the inside of your shoes by at least a half size.
There are lots of shoe stretchers on the market so you’ll need to work out which one to buy. Some help to stretch your shoes in length, others in width, and there are even ones that will increase the size of the toe box by lifting the top of your shoes slightly.
How to Protect Your Toes From Rubbing In Shoes – Wear Socks
My next solution is a simple one but effective in many instances and that is simply to wear thicker socks inside your shoes or boots to prevent chafing and blisters. In fact, wear two pairs of socks which is an old walkers trick to prevent blisters.
Socks are an easy way to form a protective barrier between your skin and your footwear. Obviously, the thickness of the socks will depend on the room that you have available inside your shoes.
Whilst socks work for many people they won’t be useful in every situation especially when it comes to women’s shoes such as high heels where wearing them might look a little odd. If this is the case look at some of the other solutions to see if they will work in your situation.
Shoes Rubbing Big Toes – Use Toe Caps
If you want to know how to stop shoes from rubbing the top of toes then think about buying some top caps or toe protectors which can protect your feet.
There are a huge number of different types of toe protectors that you can buy and they come in different materials as well so you should find something that suits your needs.
As an example, there are hammer toe protectors, foam toe solutions as well as gel and silicone toe caps that can work. They also come in different sizes as well so there are larger sizes for big toes and smaller ones for your other toes.
Just remember that if you do choose a foam protector you are going to probably have to buy new ones regularly unlike silicone and gel protectors which will last longer.
Toe Rubbing on Shoe – Use an Anti-Friction Stick
Sometimes I find that my toes are rubbing on my shoes, boots or sandals whilst they are breaking in or when my feet are more sweaty in the summertime. So I bring out my secret weapon which is an anti-blister stick.
These aren’t expensive to buy and are really easy to use. You just apply the thick barrier cream to the area that has a problem and it forms a protective barrier on your skin. Now your shoes shouldn’t rub or stick and cause friction but glide over the thick balm stopping any pain or discomfort.
Just pop one in your pocket or bag and remember to reapply it a few times during the day if you need to stop the problem.
Toes Rubbing in Shoes – Use Moleskin
I mentioned moleskin earlier but I thought it was worth talking about it a little more as it is a great way to stop shoes rubbing in certain areas.
Moleskin can be cut to shape and is usually adhesive on one side so you can either stick it inside your shoes or on your skin. I usually put it on the shoe itself as it tends to last longer doing it that way.
As well as moleskin there are plenty of other different types of padding you can buy which can also protect your skin. If you don’t have any moleskin then think about using a Band-Aid or surgical tape instead to reduce friction.
Wear a Different Shoe Style
If you want to know how to stop shoes from rubbing the top of toes then sometimes you might need to think a little differently.
Protecting your feet from shoes rubbing however isn’t always possible if your shoes are the wrong size and fit for your feet. I know I have bought shoes in the past that were simply no good for me and constantly gave me sore feet. These are shoes that are now sitting in the back of my closet never to be worn again!
So if you want to be pain-free buy shoes that are easier on your feet. There are plenty of brands that care about your foot health like Vionic, Merrell, FitFlops, and Orthofoot to name a few. These brands make shoes that are kinder to your feet and have better support and increased comfort. They also tend to be roomier to allow your toes to spread out in the shoes.
Fashion is all very well but when you have toe pain and blisters those fashionable shoes become unwearable so you may as well buy some shoes that are kinder to your feet rather than suffering for your footwear.
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