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The Footwear Debate- Are Toe Shoes right for you?

By 26/07/2015Footwear

Toe Shoes- the best thing since sliced bread- or a disaster in the making?

Podiatrist Jason Bruce helps you decipher the information about their origins and how they work. This is Part 1 of 3 for the Footwear Series.


“The 1960s Olympics in Rome was a big year for running. Not only did Abebe Bikila win the marathon gold medal, but he did so in bare feet! Feeling uncomfortable pre-race, Abebe decided to remove his shoes and complete the race bare foot. This sent waves across the running community to see if running barefoot or running with toe shoes would be beneficial to its athletes.

So what are the Pro’s and Con’s?

One of the most common concerns with wearing toe shoes is the injuries that they may cause.

  • A common injury is a stress fracture which is a tiny crack in the bone caused by repetitive stress. Some believe that wearing toe shoes puts more pressure through the foot and can result in injuries such as these.
  • There are other simpler concerns- such as lack of protection on the sole of the feet from sharp objects such as glass and rocks.
  • Blisters and callus build up are also very likely to occur when running in toe shoes.
  • Is there a higher incidence of joint stress and fractures when wearing toe shoes? The research is still being reviewed and no firm conclusions are yet being offered to the medical fraternity.

There are some known benefits to running with toe shoes however.

  • Strengthening and stretching of muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot and leg can occur which will allow a person to develop a more natural running style. A shorter stride length occurs due to foot ideally impacting the ground in the midfoot region rather than the heel.
  • Many believe there is also an improvement of balance and proprioception and that pressure of the foot is distributed more evenly.
  • And it can be a lifestyle choice- wanting to feel the nuances of the running environment without a cushioned blockade of a more structures shoe.

Whether you run in “new style” toe shoes or “conservative” supportive shoes, research has shown us that injuries will occur with both varieties. We always suggest you use Shoe Stores that provide a great fitting service. Our footwear partners are listed below, as well as our local shoe stores- such as Bakers Shoes and More.

Your Podiatrists are able to work with the shoe recommended for you, and help you adjust it if required. Don’t put up with foot and ankle pain. Come and see us today!

Next time…………………. I’ll be talking about Sketchers and Nike Frees – Fashion vs support and comfort.

Jason Pic

Jason Bruce- Podiatrist at Southern Podiatry

– Jason”.