The 5 Best Shoes for Hammer Toe, According to Podiatrists

The best hammer toe shoes are made with durable materials and have more room in the toe box.

Image Credit: Creation LIVESTRONG.com

If you have hammer toe, you know how embarrassing it can be. And you’ve probably realized that choosing the right shoes is key to managing the condition.

Hammertoe is marked by an abnormal curvature of one of the toes (most often not the big toe), as a result of an imbalance in the small muscles, tendons and ligaments that hold the toe straight, explains Jackie Sutera, DPMpodiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab.

According to 2012 National Foot Health Assessment commissioned by the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, an estimated 3% of American adults (7 million) are affected by hammer toe or claw toe, a similar condition that occurs when the tip of the toe bends down.

“A very common cause of this condition is from imbalances resulting from the structure of the foot, for example when the second toe is longer than the big toe, as longer toes tend to get stuck in the toe box when walking. walking and running and eventually lead to hammer blows.” explains Dr. Sutera. “Injuries, such as broken, knocked, or trapped toes, may be more likely to develop hammertoe.”

Unfortunately, genetics may also play a role, as people with inherently flat feet or a high arch are also more prone to hammertoes, according to a 2013 study on Arthritis care and research.

Hammertoe can also develop over time due to certain lifestyle choices, such as excessive use of tight-fitting shoes or high-heeled shoes for long periods of time, and long periods of standing and walking with it. heels, notes Dr. Sutera. “This type of shoe wearing can cause the toes to flex and contract.”

Largely due to the shoes they wear, those assigned female at birth tend to be more prone to this foot condition.

The good news: More often than not, choosing the right shoe can make all the difference. Here, podiatrists reveal the best shoes for hammer toes

The Best Shoes for Hammertoe

We reached out to four podiatrists, who offered product recommendations and explained what to look for in shoes that can help with hammertoes. We have selected these products based on their criteria, including:

  • In shape
  • Comfort
  • Extra depth
  • Spacious toe box

Why are some shoes marketed to men or women?

Although hammerhead can affect men and women equally, the shape of the foot often differs between genders, notes Najwa Javed, DPMSilicon Valley Podiatry Group podiatrist and founder of E’MAR Italy. “Women tend to have narrower, shorter, and thinner overall feet than their male counterparts, while men will have wider, bulkier, and deeper shoe shapes than women,” she says. “When women can’t find a shoe that’s wide enough, podiatrists usually recommend that they buy a men’s shoe instead to give them the room they need.”

1. Best Overall: NAOT Galaxy

With a lightweight knit upper, these shoes offer plenty of room for a hammer toe without limiting movement or causing irritation. They also feature the classic NAOT insole, which Tim Oldani, DPMpodiatrist at Missouri Foot and Ankle in St. Louis, notes that it relieves pressure under the metatarsals, or the bones of the foot that sit just behind the toe.

Another benefit of this shoe is that it is endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) to promote good foot health.

Buy it:​NAOT.com (men’s sizes 7-14); NAOT.com (women 4-12);​​​Price:From $154.95

2. Best on a Budget: Vionic Classic Walker

All Vionic shoes provide excellent support, whether you’re exercising or sitting still on the couch or behind a desk. Their athletic apparel features Active Motion System (AMS) technology which is a brace to relieve pressure often associated with foot conditions such as hammer toe.

These shoes are made from a flexible material that is also breathable, sweat-wicking and easy to clean with just a washcloth (throwing these shoes in the wash is not recommended). They’re tough and durable too, thanks to a rubber outsole and thermoplastic heel.

Buy it:Vionic.com (men’s sizes 7-14); Vionic.com (women’s sizes 5-12);​Price:​ $109.95

​3. Ideal for walking:​ OrthoFeet Stretch Knit

Designed to improve the comfort of patients suffering from a myriad of medical conditions, from back pain and arthritis to bunions and, of course, hammer toes, these shoes are a top choice among podiatrists looking relieve the discomfort of their patients.

With their premium orthotic insoles, they provide the right kind of support and their wide toe box helps alleviate the pressure often associated with hammer toe.

“These shoes have extra depth in the toe box and a stretch knit fabric upper to reduce hammer toe irritation,” says Dr. Oldani.

Buy it:​OrthoFeet.com (men’s sizes 7-14); OrthoFeet.com (women’s sizes 5-12);​Price:​​ From $109.95

​4. Best for Running: HOKA Bondi 7

For a running shoe, this pair has one of the roomiest toe boxes with added depth on the market, as well as a forefoot rocker that helps reduce toe grip, notes the Dr Javed. They’re packed with a ton of cushions to provide support as you put on the miles and are light enough that you won’t feel weighed down during your run.

Although these shoes are designed specifically for running, Dr. Javed points out that they can be useful for just about any activity for someone with hammertoe.

Buy it:​Hoka.com (men’s sizes 7-16); Hoka.com (women’s sizes 5-12);​​​Price:​​$160

5. Best for bunions and hammertoes: Allbirds Wool Runners

With a contoured merino wool upper design, these stylish and comfortable shoes can accommodate even the worst hammer toes, according to Dr. Javed.

Thanks to their wool material, they naturally regulate the temperature, preventing your feet from getting too hot or too cold. They’re also ethically sourced, with laces created from recycled plastic bottles and soles created from castor oil.

They’re also super lightweight, so you won’t feel tied down like you would with a heavier shoe.

Buy it:​ ​Allbirds.com (men’s sizes 8-14); Allbirds.com (women’s sizes 5-11);​​​Price:​​ $110

What to Look for in Shoes for Hammertoe

Here are some features to keep in mind when shopping for the best shoes to relieve hammer toe symptoms.

The best shoes for hammertoe sufferers are those with wide, very deep, flexible toes, Dr. Javed says. “This allows the toes to bend and rub against the material without causing blisters,” she adds. “If the toe area is narrow, the toes will be irritated and blisters or corns may develop, which can scar the skin irreversibly.”

She recommends going a half size up to ensure you have that extra room.

“Hammertoes will eventually wear through the leather and cause holes in your shoes, so buying materials that stretch easily will help the longevity of the shoe,” says Dr. Javed. “Adding a stretching spray to the prominent areas can also help soften the material without wearing it down.”

She recommends avoiding synthetic leather if possible, as it doesn’t conform well to bony prominences.

When looking for shoes that can help with a medical condition like hammertoe, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality product.

“For sneakers, the budget is around $140 to $180, for sandals around $80 to $130, and for heels around $200 to $400,” says Dr. Javed.

It’s important to take care of your shoes to make sure they last as long as they need — about a year, depending Pedram Hendizadeh, DPMpodiatrist and foot surgeon at Advanced Podiatry in the greater New York area.

“Give them a thorough cleaning job every two to three weeks to not only keep them visibly clean, but also rid them of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms left behind by all that daily sweat,” he says.

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