Educational Articles

Top 10 Foot Health Tools & Tips

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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October 19, 2018
Darcy Scott

I have severe bunions and currently cannot run. I’m hoping to find a nonsurgical solution.

October 19, 2018
Natural Footgear

Hi, Darcy,

Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that your bunions are preventing you from running. I have some recommendations and resources for you that I think you might find helpful.

Bunions usually form over long periods and are the result of wearing conventional footwear that holds the big toe in a bunion configuration. Because this big toe dislocation happens slowly, it often takes a bit of time, patience, and diligence, too, to rehabilitate the foot and realign the big toe to its normal anatomical position.

In our experience, we’ve found that using Correct Toes toe spacers ( is one of the most helpful ways to address or prevent bunions. Wearing wide toe box (i.e., foot-shaped) shoes that are also flat and flexible in the sole is another important part of naturally rehabilitating the big toe. The shoes you wear should have a sufficiently wide toe box to accommodate Correct Toes. You can find Correct Toes compatible footwear here:

Men’s Foot-Healthy Shoes:

Women’s Foot-Healthy Shoes:

Here are several resources from our site that focus on bunions and how to approach this problem from a natural perspective:


Bunion Reversal Strategies:

Bunions: Conventional vs. Natural Approaches:

I hope this info helps, Darcy! Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

February 21, 2021

Hi. I have been plagued by a number of foot issues for years, and I’m looking for some guidance. I currently have plantar fasciosis in my right foot and an undiagnosed pain in my left that presents as acute pain when torque is applied in any direction. An MRI was inconclusive, but the findings are consistent with Morton’s neuroma. The pain increased in 2020, and my working theory was that being barefoot due to COVID/work from home was at fault. So I began wearing new Adidas running shoes and arch support insoles, and most recently, metatarsal pads. After reading on your site, I’m thinking that maybe buying the Adidas shoes was the wrong move and that I should be using a more natural style of shoe. But a few things are still unclear: Given the choice, would it better to NOT wear shoes? If so, should Correct Toes be used barefoot, or is the device primarily for wearing with shoes? Should arch support insoles be used, and if so, should they be combined with met pads? Or should met pads be used alone without the insoles? Thank you so much. Any help is appreciated.

February 21, 2021
Natural Footgear

Hi, Jed,

Thank you for reaching out to us with your questions. And thank you for providing a bit of background about the current foot health issues you’re dealing with. I’m really sorry to hear about the pain and discomfort that seems to be lingering in both feet.

First off, I wanted to share a couple of applicable condition-related resources with you from our site:

Plantar Fasciosis: Conventional vs. Natural Approaches:

Neuromas: Conventional vs. Natural Approaches:

In our experience, we have found that both problems typically respond quite well to natural foot care techniques, of the kind discussed in this article and in the videos linked to above. If you have any further questions about either problem, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

In terms of the Adidas shoes, we’re yet to see an Adidas model that could even remotely be considered foot-health-positive. Any shoe, including any Adidas model, that possesses heel elevation and a tapering toe box could easily be the underlying cause of both issues you mentioned. Here’s a bit more about heel elevation and tapering toe boxes and the problems that can arise as a result of them:

To answer your other questions:

1. “Given the choice, would it better to NOT wear shoes?”

In most cases, yes! Especially if your only footwear options incorporate the usual variety of problematic designs elements:

Spending at least some time barefoot is an important part of the foot rehabilitation process in most cases, though for some who have very sensitive feet, it may take some time to be able to do this pain-free, even around the house. For activities outside the house, there are plenty of footwear options available now that let your foot function like a barefoot inside the shoe (while providing your foot with a protective covering). You might consider checking out this article, which focuses on how to shop for truly foot-healthy shoes, to learn more about this topic:

2. “Should Correct Toes be used barefoot, or is the device primarily for wearing with shoes?”

You can use Correct Toes in either way! In fact, the device can be worn on bare toes, over a pair of toe socks, beneath a pair of conventional socks, or within footwear that possesses a sufficiently wide toe box to accommodate it. For the greatest and quickest corrective effects, we recommend wearing the device over toe socks and within wide toe box footwear while weight-bearing.

3. “Should arch support insoles be used, and if so, should they be combined with met pads? Or should met pads be used alone without the insoles?”

In general, we’re not big fans of arch support insoles (or any kind of artificial support that attempts to prop up the main foot arch). Here are a couple of resources on this topic that you might find interesting:

Metatarsal pads, on the other hand, are useful for a variety of reasons:

Combining metatarsal pads with toe spacers, toe socks, and foot-healthy footwear is the most effective way we know of to activate the main foot arch, stabilize the foot/ankle complex, and build a strong, healthy foot that’s capable of standing up to life’s many physical challenges.

Please do let us know if you have any other questions we can assist with!

Kind regards,
Robyn Hughes, ND

February 23, 2021

I adopted this approach to foot health in 2016 and all my foot pain and dysfunction ceased. My biggest problem now is that I have wide feet, so that almost no pre-made shoes have enough room for my forefoot, let alone my very wide toe splay. Fortunately, I have been able to buy custom-made minimalist shoes from The Drifter Leather. Without those, my shoe wardrobe would be limited to Unshoes’ sandals and the few shoes that Softstar makes with the “Primal” footbed (which is the exact shape of my feet). I hope you will encourage the shoe brands you work with to expand their sizing to include a full range of narrow and wide shoes. Feet come in as many widths as lengths, and I have never understood why we are all stuck with the average width.

February 23, 2021
Natural Footgear

Hi, Karen,

Thank you for your comment. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve benefited from the approach we discuss on our site! Your lamentation about not being able to find wide enough shoes is duly noted; this can certainly be frustrating for individuals such as yourself who possess relatively wide feet (especially after adopting footgear and techniques that seek to restore optimal toe splay and natural foot shape). It sounds like you have been able to source at least a few options that can conform to your wonderfully wide foot, which is great to hear. We are always advocating for manufacturers to incorporate wider toe boxes into their footwear, and we will continue to do so with all such companies we encounter in our work here at Natural Footgear.

All the best,
Robyn Hughes, ND

May 01, 2024

I’m looking to improve my balance and stability. What products or approaches can you recommend for these particular goals?

May 01, 2024
Natural Footgear

Hi, Steven. Thank you for your question! We’re glad to hear that you’re interested in improving your balance and stability, and we support your desire to make gains in both of these important areas—areas that are sometimes thought to be one and the same, though they are not. To clarify, then, balance entails maintaining your center of mass within the confines of your support base, whether stationary or in motion. Stability, on the other hand, concerns your capacity to control your body while in motion. In other words, balance is the ability to maintain a steady position, while stability is the ability to return to a steady position after being “perturbed.” Both are essential when it comes to achieving optimal musculoskeletal health and avoiding injuries, and both can be trained and improved to enhance the quality and efficiency of your movements (often using the same tools with slightly different approaches).

One of the best ways to improve both balance and stability is to incorporate balance beam work into your regular foot care routine. There are a number of consumer-oriented, home-based balance beams available in the marketplace today that range in both gauge and length, and there are many exercises you can perform on them (ranging from less difficult to very difficult) to help you build better balance and stability. Most of these beams sit quite close to the ground, so it’s a relatively low-stakes way to work on the things you’re interested in improving. Other helpful tools for training both balance and stability include the BlackBoard Basic (especially in combination with BlackBoard PerformanceBars) and the Naboso Kinesis Board. The BlackBoard Basic is a powerful tool for enhancing balance and activating and stabilizing key lower leg structures, while the Naboso Kinesis is particularly helpful in boosting single-leg stability. More about these tools here:

BlackBoard Basic:
BlackBoard PerformanceBars:
Naboso Kinesis Board:

Apart from the tools mentioned above, we have found that, when it comes to improving balance, the combination of Correct Toes, Naboso insoles, and men’s and women’s flat-soled, wide toe box footwear can be quite potent:

Correct Toes:
Naboso Insoles:
Men’s Footwear:
Women’s Footwear:

There are, of course, a whole range of stability and balance drills you can perform at home or at the gym to enhance both of these crucial components of overall musculoskeletal well-being. You might consider hiring a personal trainer or working with a performance coach in your particular discipline (if you’re a competitive athlete) to determine which specific exercises might benefit you most.

We hope this info helps, Steven! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional thoughts or questions you might have.

Yours in Foot Health,
Drs. Marty & Robyn Hughes

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