Educational Articles

Tapering Toe Boxes

Posted By Robyn Hughes, ND


The above content is for educational or informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or augment professional medical instruction, diagnosis, or treatment. Read full disclaimer here.

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January 27, 2017

Dr. Robyn, what do you recommend for insulated winter boots? How about hiking boots?

January 27, 2017
Natural Footgear

Greetings, Muhammad,

Thank you for your questions! It’s really difficult to find an insulated winter boot that conforms to our criteria for foot-healthy footwear. One of the best bets, and something that covers both things you asked about, is the Lems Boulder Boot:

The Boulder Boot can be paired with a warm wool sock on cooler days and makes for a really good hiking boot. Another great option for hiking is the Astral Hiyak, which offers amazing traction on slippery surfaces.

I hope this info is helpful!

Robyn Hughes, ND

March 11, 2018
Karen G. Krueger

Please encourage the manufacturers of the shoes you feature to make their shoes in different widths. My feet, though medium in length for a woman, are very wide—4 inches across the ball of my foot—and even men’s shoes are often too narrow for me.

The only ones among your selection that fit me are the Altra (men’s size 8) with the mesh top. I tried a pair of Altra hiking boots, but the more rigid uppers made them too tight.

Feet come in a variety of widths, and so should shoes!

March 11, 2018
Natural Footgear

Hi, Karen,

Thank you for your message. We’re sorry to hear that you’re having trouble finding sufficiently wide shoes!

We highly value your feedback, and we’ll do our best to pass along your request to the various manufacturers. A couple of additional options for you from our site that might work for your feet include:

The Altra Vali (an everyday shoe with an engineered mesh upper):

The Ahinsa Ananda Ballerina (a foot-healthy barefoot dress shoe):

We’d be happy to take your measurements and help you determine some other options. If there’s anything else we can help with, please do let us know!

Kind Regards,
Andrew Potter

March 11, 2018
Kyle Watkins

Dr. Robyn, what do you recommend for a foot-healthy men’s dress shoe? Thank you!

March 11, 2018
Natural Footgear

Hi, Kyle,

Thank you for your comment. I’m happy to provide suggestions!

Our best option for a men’s dress shoe is the Lems Nine2Five (see links below). The Nine2Five has a foot-healthy shape and comes in black and brown leather:

Other brands you might consider researching include Ahinsa and Vivobarefoot.

I hope this information is helpful. If there’s anything else I can help with, please just let me know!

Kind Regards,
Robyn Hughes, ND

March 30, 2018

This is great information. You mentioned that conventional footwear is harmful to the development of an infant’s feet. Do you have recommendations for toddler/children’s shoes that aligns with your recommendations?

Also, are there any hiking boots you recommend that are not Lems? I would love to get these boots, but they are not waterproof and I live in a rainy/snowy area most of the year.

March 30, 2018
Natural Footgear

Hi, Laura,

Thank you for your kind words! In our experience, Softstar shoes have some of the best foot-healthy options for toddlers and kids. You can find their options at the link below:

Wildling Shoes are also worth a look:

One possible option for waterproof hiking boots is the Kuuva 4 boot by Feelmax. Alternatively, many of our customers have had great results using an aftermarket product such as Nikwax to waterproof their Lems Boulder Boots, so you might want to give that a try:

If you don’t think that will work, you can also check out Altra’s line of Neoshell trail runners. You can view those here:

I hope all of this info is helpful for you. If you have any questions moving forward, please just let us know!

Kind Regards,
Andrew Potter

March 30, 2018


If you do happen to have shoes that have slightly tapering toe boxes, can you wear Correct Toes to mitigate the effects, especially if a bunion is present?

Thank you!

March 30, 2018
Natural Footgear

Hi, Morgan,

Thank you for your question. It’s a really good one!

In our experience, we’ve found that it’s counter-productive to wear Correct Toes inside any type of footwear with a tapering toe box (slightly tapering or otherwise). Correct Toes must be used in combination with footwear that possesses a sufficiently wide toe box to accommodate the spacers without there being any pinching of the spacers.

I recommend performing the Shoe Liner Test, which ideally is performed while wearing your Correct Toes, to get a better sense of whether or not your current shoes will accommodate the toe spacing device:

If you have any other questions, please do let me know!

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

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