What Are Toe Spacers?
Toe spacers are a tool that promotes healthy toe splay by separating the toes. Benefits of toe spacers include recovering natural shape and function of the feet by fanning the toes out into a natural position.
Who Do Toe Spacers Benefit?
Most of us have been wearing conventional shoes since childhood. While natural, healthy feet are widest at the toes, modern shoes feature a narrow toe box (the part of the shoes where your toes sit).
A lifetime of squishing our feet into narrow shoes causes the actual shape of our feet to change. Our toes point inwards, the connective tissue of our feet shortens, circulation is restricted, and we might even have bunions.
The first place many of us make a change is by transitioning to minimalist footwear, which is arguably one of the best things you can do to regain foot health. However, a lifetime spent in conventional shoes does not reverse overnight. This is where toe spacers enter the picture! The benefit of toe spacers is that they can help expedite our foot health journey!
The Benefits of Toe Spacers
The benefits of toe spacers are vast! The prime benefit of toe spacers stems from their ability to assist the foot in returning to its natural shape: widest at the toes. The downstream benefits of toe spacing include increased circulation, improved balance, and stronger feet. Let’s dive into the benefits of toe spacers!
Better Balance & Stability
Toe spacers help distribute the force of body weight more evenly over the surface of the foot. Wide, healthy toe splay improves balance and stability, which benefits everything from athletic performance to preventing falls.
Increased Blood Flow (Bye bye cold feet!)
Cold feet? Most modern footwear restricts blood flow to the toes. After just an hour of wearing toe spreaders, thermal-photography research shows a noticeable improvement in blood circulation and increase in temperature of the toes. Another benefit of ample blood flow is faster healing. A foot injury can become trouble without sufficient blood flow to heal the site of injury, like when squished into narrow shoes.
Regain Natural Foot Alignment
Properly aligned feet are required to help prevent and recover from a vast array of modern foot ailments, from bunions to hammer toe to flat feet! These modern foot ailments are almost always a result of improperly fitted footwear– A.K.A. modern/conventional footwear– which cause many foot deformities and painful conditions.
Yes, spacing the toes can benefit the arches! When our foundation is aptly supported by strong and stable toes, we are better able to activate our arch. With the toes in their proper anatomical position, foot muscles fire more frequently. This makes them stronger and boosts the integrity of the arch.
Increased Range of Motion
Toe separators stretch the small muscles around the toes as well as the toes themselves. The toes bear our full body weight with every step, so toe flexibility is critical. In particular, the benefit of toe spacers for big toe flexibility can help prevent injury, as the flexion of the big toe determines how we land on each step, which affects a whole chain of reactions upstream. Increased toe flexibility and range of motion also helps stretch and active the plantar fascia, which increases our ability to absorb shock with each step. (This also helps us avoid plantar fasciitis!)
How to Use Toe Spacers
The benefits of toe spacers take effect immediately after slipping a pair on, but like all good things, get better over time.
The first benefits of toe spacers to take effect are the stretching of the toes and increased blood circulation. With regular wear, the benefits of toe spacers compound– this is where we start to notice better balance, increased range of motion, and less pain.
Toe spacers are similar to orthodontic braces for the toes. Just like braces for the teeth, their corrective potential is a result of time wearing the corrective device allowing it to slowly spread one's physiology to be less impacted and more naturally spaced.
By wearing toe spacers while partaking in physical activity–working out, walking, hiking, running, yoga, etc.– the benefits of toe spacers are amplified. Not only can toe spacers benefit our athletic performance by giving us a stronger and more stable foundation; wearing spacers while being active accelerates the positive benefits of toe spacers. When our body weight is on our feet in a dynamic sense, our muscles are being activated in a variety of ways. Our body is learning how to move while being better supported by our feet, and our body is loading our feet with more weight which encourages them strengthen.
Everyone’s foot health journey is unique, so the amount of time to heal conditions like bunions or plantar fasciitis will depend on where you started, how long you wear toe spacers each day, and what else you are doing to support the health of your feet. For example: Are you still wearing conventional shoes 10 hours per day, or are you wearing solely minimalist footwear? Are you implementing any other tool for healthy feet?
The Benefits of Toe Spacers by Earth Runners
Our Toe Spacers are the product of years of R&D to formulate our own philosophy on how to obtain the benefits of toe spacers while maintaining max comfort and aesthetics.
While most toe spacers can be uncomfortable and insecure, we have developed a form-fitting active toe spacer design that offers moderate spacing between the toes to maximize wearability, as the benefits of toe spacers are compounded with consistent wear!
Our active ergonomic design allows you to reap the benefits of toe spacers all day long with any (healthy) footwear of your choosing. We believe the benefits of toe spacers are a result of time spent wearing them in combination with active use to help correct all the biomechanical chains of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments of each foot.
Earth Runners Toe Spacers are made of medical grade silicone and available in three sizes to ensure a perfect fit. The voided holes between each toe not only allows for a comfortable and durable design– but has many additional benefits including being lighter weight, more fashionable, more secure, more elastic for easy installation, and allows for modification of the toe spacer widths– insert material into the holes to increase spacing effects!