The very first of its kind, Correct Toes remains the most popular toe spacing device available to consumers today. The nature of the device—and the simple, yet powerful function it performs—offers those dealing with foot pain hope for relief (at long last). It also offers users the possibility of experiencing a wide range of foot and musculoskeletal health benefits as well as developing the kind of foot strength and resiliency typically found only in barefoot cultures around the globe. But there are a lot of questions associated with Correct Toes toe spacers that arise for prospective adopters, including how best to use them to achieve maximum foot health gains. In this review, we seek to unpack all the nuances, answer all the key questions, and assess all aspects of this inventive natural foot health tool. Read on to learn more about Correct Toes toe spacers!
The Importance of Toe Spacing
Before we dive into discussing Correct Toes in detail, it’s helpful to first understand the importance and necessity of toe spacing in general. Toe spacing—the act of using an external device to separate and spread the toes—is a relatively new concept in the foot care world and is usually employed as a natural, noninvasive alternative to various conventional approaches, such as orthotics or surgery, for a variety of foot and toe problems. The basic idea behind toe spacing is to gently and precisely restore optimal toe alignment, which for most wearers of conventional footwear, with its litany of problematic design elements, is required in order to properly align the toes with their corresponding metatarsal bones, as nature intended.
Toe spacing is a corrective treatment approach that’s suitable for just about anyone who has ever worn conventional footwear for long periods. Most people in our society have at least some degree of footwear-induced passive toe deformity that can be helped by proper toe spacing and other natural approaches. Indeed, toe spacing is one aspect—one very important aspect—of a comprehensive approach to foot care that also involves making footwear changes and actively working on the feet through daily stretching and strengthening exercises. Toe spacing is, therefore, an essential part of the foot rehabilitation process that so many of us (whether we know it or not) must undergo in order to achieve optimal long-term musculoskeletal health and function.
Even if you’re not experiencing acute foot pain, there are still plenty of reasons to space your toes (we’ll discuss all the benefits of optimal toe splay, enabled by Correct Toes, in one of the subsequent sections of this review). And even if you feel that your toes are already somewhat spread out, the splay you possess may be far less than your full potential. Plus, by using toe spacers, you’ll be hedging against the possibility of future foot and toe problems that can cause pain and prevent you from participating in your cherished leisure activities or athletic pursuits. Perhaps most importantly, though, by engaging in the act of toe spacing, you’ll be consciously exploring a longer-lasting, more holistic approach to foot and musculoskeletal health that puts the power of your own health decision-making squarely back in your control—a laudable goal for anyone seeking more autonomy over their own body and well-being. The good news is that optimal toe spacing is within reach for almost everyone, and devices such as Correct Toes, with its clever construction and conscientious design, have already done most of the heavy lifting.
With the importance of toe spacing as an essential foot care approach now established, let’s take a closer look at Correct Toes-related terminology in order to better understand the component parts of this important foot health tool.
Correct Toes Terminology
The following terms describe unique physical aspects of the Correct Toes appliance and are helpful to know when handling the device or performing customizations to it. Having a good grasp of this terminology can also be helpful when discussing the device with healthcare providers and others. So, with that in mind, here are the most important Correct Toes-related terms to know:
Bridge: The relatively thin part of a toe spacer that spans the gap between two pylons, both above and below the device's toe slots.
Cavity: The hole in which shims can be placed. Each individual Correct Toes toe spacer incorporates two cavities: One in the first pylon, and one in the fourth pylon. The cavities built into Correct Toes can also be used in combination with toe loops.
Nub: The semi-rounded part of a pylon that projects toward the base of the toes (when the device is worn on the toes). Each individual toe spacer possesses at least two nubs.
Pylon (aka Pillar): The vertical silicone post that separates the toes. Each individual toe spacer incorporates four pylons.
Shim: A rectangular piece of soft material that’s placed into one or both cavities of a spacer. Shims can be helpful additions for those who need a bit more spacing between the toes than the spacer alone can provide (i.e., shims help “bulk up” the spacers to enhance toe splay). Small pieces cut from an old shoe liner or insole, or a conforming piece of silicone, tend to work best as shims. In some cases, it can be helpful to use a pair of tweezers to pull the shims into position, especially if more than one shim is added to a given cavity.
Toe Loop: A thin velcro strap or band that can be looped through a cavity in the device and around either the 1st or 5th toes to help keep the spacers on bare toes, if need be.
Toe Slot (aka Interspace): The openings in the device that accommodate the toes. There are three toe slots, or interspaces, built into the Correct Toes device.
With this key Correct Toes terminology in hand, let’s now examine the most notable design features or attributes of the Correct Toes device itself.
Correct Toes Notable Design Features or Attributes
Correct Toes represents the gold standard when it comes to toe spacing devices, in large part due to its conscientious design, but also because of its incredible customizability. A significant amount of time, thought, consideration, experimentation, clinical expertise, and resources went into the creation of these toe spacers, and the end result is a toe spacing product that is maximally versatile and highly effective in addressing or preventing a wide range of common foot and toe problems. Some of the key differentiators between Correct Toes and other toe spacers available to consumers today (i.e., the things that really set Correct Toes apart from the competition) include the following:
Anatomical Spacing: Correct Toes does much more than simply “space your toes.” While other toe spacers on the market arbitrarily splay your toes, Correct Toes gently guides your toes into the proper anatomical position in relation to the ground and to one-another. In so doing, Correct Toes allows you to replicate (and, over time, develop) the kind of healthy foot and toe alignment that’s so prevalent among unshod populations around the globe (who experience a fraction of the foot problems that plague shoe-wearing Westerners). During the research and development phase of Correct Toes creation, much thought was given to the optimal degree of toe splay for each toe and how that could be applied across diverse sets of feet. Insufficient toe splay translates to insufficient correction; excessive toe splay puts undue stress and strain on the collateral ligaments of the toes and increases susceptibility to injury. Correct Toes strikes the best possible balance between these two crucial considerations.
Medical Grade Silicone: Correct Toes is constructed of medical grade silicone, which means that the device is simultaneously flexible and durable. Materials make a difference, and medical grade silicones, which are tested for biocompatibility (i.e., how biomaterials interact with the human body), can be safely used for a variety of medical applications. Silicone itself is inert, hypoallergenic, non-toxic to humans and the environment, and highly versatile, and the medical grade version of silicone products—including toe spacers—yields an even higher-quality, softer, more comfortable, and more durable medical good. Other toe spacers available on the market today may be made of lower quality (or even suspect) material that breaks down quickly under light use, causes skin irritation or discomfort, or requires you to apply a lubricant to your toes in order to thwart chafing. Correct Toes, on the other hand, can be worn as is, straight out of the package, without having to worry about any of these potential problems. Possessing an optimal durometer rating (i.e., the degree of hardness or softness of a given material), Correct Toes offers users an excellent combination of device flexibility (i.e., comfort) and device durability (i.e., longevity).
Modifiable & Customizable: Correct Toes stands alone when it comes to the ability to modify or customize the device to precisely target the unique foot health needs of a diverse set of users. Because there is such a wide variation in toe length, toe width, existing degree of toe splay, and the presence of passive toe deformities in our society, it’s essential that a toe spacing device be able to accommodate as many different sets of feet as possible. Correct Toes answers this challenge, and the device can easily be tailored to address problems such as bunions, hammertoes, corns, and webbed toes, among other concerns and considerations. You can add material to the device or remove material from the device, all for the purposes of achieving an optimal fit, and all without compromising the integrity or the effectiveness of the device itself. Indeed, one of the main reasons that Correct Toes is a superior toe spacing product is the ease with which it can be customized and the number of customizations possible.
Available in Multiple Sizes: The fact that Correct Toes comes in four distinct sizes (X-Small, Small, Medium, and Large) is hugely consequential, as it—along with the ability to customize the device as mentioned above—helps increase the likelihood of achieving a perfect fit, and therefore the kind of optimal toe splay that’s so important for overall foot and toe rehabilitation. Other toe spacers available to consumers today come in only one size (or, at most, two sizes), and when it comes to toe spacing, where precision is paramount, a “one size fits all” approach simply falls short in delivering the kind of outcomes or user experience so commonly achieved with Correct Toes. The multiple sizes available in Correct Toes, then, offer you, the user, the ability to realize the most comfortable and productive fit for your unique feet—two factors that determine long-term success when it comes to toe spacing, straightening, and realignment.
Can Be Worn Inside Wide Toe Box Footwear: The vast majority of toe spacing products out there can only be worn while you’re barefoot or while you’re at rest or stationary. While this is certainly a viable way to use toe spacers, including Correct Toes, this scenario produces only relatively minor benefits in terms of lasting changes in toe alignment and orientation. One of the key differences between Correct Toes and other popular toe spacers is that Correct Toes is designed to be worn inside sufficiently wide toe box footwear during all sorts of weight-bearing activity, such as walking, hiking, running, jumping, and gym activities. The ability to impart force through the various joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and other foot and toe tissues while the toes are properly splayed and aligned yields the most potent and longest-lasting corrective effect on the toes. In one of the following sections, we’ll explain in greater detail what to look for in terms of Correct Toes compatible footwear and why it’s counterproductive to wear Correct Toes inside footwear with tapering toe boxes.
Created by a Renowned Sports Podiatrist: Correct Toes toe spacers are designed by Dr. Ray McClanahan, a true visionary in the field of sports podiatry and, with his 25+ years of experience in treating patients with foot issues, the ultimate authority when it comes to natural approaches to foot and toe ailments. Indeed, there is nobody out there with more experience (or who is more vetted) in this realm, and the toe spacing device Dr. McClanahan created is a reflection of his attention to detail, his vast clinical experience, his immense knowledge of foot anatomy and human physiology, and his genuine desire to provide the best possible foot health tool for those seeking to build stronger, healthier feet. The fit, function, and overall feel users experience with Correct Toes is a direct result of the extensive time, testing, and conscientious effort put into the development process by Dr. McClanahan himself.
The above factors, when taken either individually or in aggregate, make it abundantly clear that Correct Toes is a highly intentional product that possesses a superior design. Correct Toes is a toe spacing device that caters to the widest possible range of users and, with a versatility that is unmatched in the marketplace, has an outsized impact on all manner of foot and toe complaints and considerations. But what, specifically, are the benefits associated with using Correct Toes toe spacers on a regular basis? The next section of this review article takes a closer look at the most important outcomes users of Correct Toes may experience after adopting the device.
The overarching intention or goal of using Correct Toes is to reclaim your natural foot heath heritage: To recover the kind of foot strength, toe dexterity, and foot form that our unshod (or more minimally shod) ancestors would have possessed, and to prevent or address the wide range of foot and toe problems that befall so many in our society. Through the process of using Correct Toes, there are numerous positive foot health outcomes possible. In our experience, we’ve found that the following are (in no particular order) the most significant benefits associated with using Correct Toes. Correct Toes toe spacers, then:
Address Foot & Toe Issues: Dr. McClanahan designed and developed Correct Toes to address and prevent a variety of foot problems and toe deformities, painful or otherwise. Given that the fundamental cause of most long-term foot problems typically has a common origin (i.e., ill-fitting footwear that makes natural foot movements impossible), there is often a universal approach to dealing with these problems as well. Based on our experience, we have found that restoring optimal toe alignment and splay is the most effective way to address toe or ball of foot problems such as bunions, tailor’s bunions, hammertoes, other kinds of crooked toes, hallux limitus, ingrown toenails, sesamoiditis, neuromas, and capsulitis. What’s also interesting is that using Correct Toes to spread the toes can help address foot and lower leg problems—plantar fasciosis, shin splints, runner’s knee—by either boosting foot blood flow (in the case of plantar fasciosis) or by stabilizing the foot/ankle complex (in the case of shin splints and runner's knee).
Enable Natural Arch Support: Natural arch support is one of the most important concepts in the field of natural foot health. This is the idea that your main foot arch (that is, your medial longitudinal arch), along with your other foot arches, is capable of supporting itself if your foot is allowed to operate the way nature intended; this means without external intervention—such as conventional arch orthotics or motion control footwear—that attempts to prop up your arch or rigidly control the motion of your foot. In order to achieve natural arch support, your toes must be optimally splayed and your foot must rest or act upon a completely flat surface (such as within a men’s or women’s flat-soled shoe). Adopting Correct Toes and “zero drop” footwear, then, provides you with maximum arch stability and helps generate healthy arch “loft” in weight-bearing situations. After many years of wearing conventional footwear, with its tapering toe boxes and other injurious design features, adopters of Correct Toes can benefit greatly from the arch stabilizing effects this device so effectively brings about.
Boost Proprioception & Toe Dexterity: Proprioception is the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation that comes from stimuli within your body itself. It’s the sense each of us possesses of the relative position of our body parts in space as well as the level of effort being expended by those parts during movement or activity. Sensory feedback is a big part of proprioception, and Correct Toes plays an important role in this regard. The device helps flatten your toes toward whatever support surface they are acting upon, whether it be the ground or the footbed of your shoe. In so doing, Correct Toes encourages your toes to more fully participate in weight-bearing activity, which enables more of your foot’s sole to interact with the ground or the support surface. Because more skin is in contact with the support surface, the many nerve endings in your sole (including in your toes) can send helpful information to your brain about how to place your feet to achieve optimal low-impact gait. In addition to boosting proprioception, Correct Toes can help you develop better toe dexterity, which most of us who have worn conventional footwear for many years or decades have lost (to varying degrees). The consistent use of Correct Toes can help you develop the ability to spread your toes on their own, without having to use your fingers to manually realign them—an important outcome marker on the road to optimal foot health.
Prevent Overpronation & Ankle Sprains: Correct Toes is superb at preventing both overpronation and ankle sprains. Pronation is a natural inward rolling of the foot and ankle that occurs during weight-bearing activities, such as walking, running, and stair climbing. When pronation becomes excessive, however, painful problems in your lower extremities can arise. The circumstances that contribute to overpronation—principally, the wearing of conventional footwear—can be combated by using foot-health-positive footwear and adopting Correct Toes, the latter of which has a healthy supinatory effect on your foot and ankle. Wearing Correct Toes also confers protection against ankle sprains, due to the inherently stabilizing, splayed-toe configuration it produces. Indeed, this toe configuration, in combination with a shoe that possesses a thin, level, and flexible sole (along with other beneficial design features) can significantly reduce your chances of rolling your ankle. This article talks a bit more about how Correct Toes, in combination with foot-healthy minimalist shoes, can help prevent ankle sprains.
Improve Blood Flow to & From the Foot: One of the lesser known and perhaps less intuitive benefits of Correct Toes is that it helps boost circulation throughout your foot, including blood flow to and from your plantar fascia—a common location for pain and problems within the foot. The device does this by realigning your big toe with its corresponding metatarsal bone, which in turn reduces the tension on your flexor retinaculum—a fibrous band of tissue at your ankle under which various vessels and structures pass, including your posterior tibial artery and vein. The tension on the flexor retinaculum is the result of a chronic deviation of the big toe toward the second toe and is a common outcome associated with the long-term use of tapering toe box footwear. By restoring proper toe alignment, Correct Toes removes the tension on your flexor retinaculum and encourages more fresh, oxygenated blood to enter your foot while allowing more spent blood and metabolic byproducts to be flushed out. This has important ramifications on your plantar fascia, in particular, where the improved circulation directly leads to a reduction in dead tissue (the source of plantar fasciosis-related pain) and allows for the faster regeneration of damaged cells.
Restore Proper Sesamoid Bone Orientation: The sesamoids—two tiny bones located beneath the base of your big toe—play an important role in big toe function, especially when it comes to force transfer from your lower leg muscles to the base of your big toe. The sesamoids also help bear some of your body weight, which in turn helps reduce the stress on your other forefoot structures, including your metatarsal heads and the sensitive structures that pass between them. The sesamoids are intended to sit within special grooves on the bottom of your first metatarsal bone, but the tapering toe boxes of conventional footwear push your big toe toward your second toe, stressing your first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint and forcing your sesamoids out of their intended position. This, in turn, can cause damage to nearby cartilage and bone, leading to pain and problems at the base of your big toe. When your big toe is properly aligned with your first metatarsal bone, your sesamoids are also properly situated in their grooves and function as they were intended. The best way to achieve this realignment and thwart any irritation or inflammation in this part of your foot is to use Correct Toes to anatomically space your toes.
Enhance Your Balance & Weight Distribution: Using Correct Toes to restore proper anatomical toe position can help enhance your balance and distribute the force of body weight more evenly throughout your foot. The greater your toe splay (to a point—excessive toe splay comes with its own set of potential problems), the greater your balance will be—a fact that’s helpful and relevant for all users of this device, but perhaps especially so for seniors, or for those who struggle with balance issues and who are hoping to reduce the likelihood of falls. Splaying your toes to the optimal degree helps spread body weight over a larger surface area on the sole of your foot and diminishes point pressure on the most commonly-loaded aspect of your foot: The ball of your foot. Minimizing the pressure routed through the ball of your foot helps lower your chances of experiencing common (and painful) forefoot problems, such as neuromas and stress fractures. It can also significantly improve your foot comfort in weight-bearing situations, including while standing or during gait.
Provide You With the Most Stable Foundation Possible: You can think of your feet as your body’s foundation. As with a building, having a solid and stable foundation is essential in ensuring the long-term health and well-being of your (musculoskeletal) structure. In the absence of a strong, stable foot foundation, you run the risk of developing problems further up your kinetic chain, whether it be patellar tendinitis at your knee, osteoarthritis in your hip, or pain in your lower back. Enhanced stability in your ankles and knees is among the most significant outcomes associated with Correct Toes use—a clear indication that so many ankle and knee issues originate in the foot. By restoring optimal foot position and toe alignment, Correct Toes can help you recover your stable footing and, in the process, help you develop more natural and efficient lower limb movement patterns. The implications of a stable foundation on both posture and gait are immense, and using Correct Toes is a simple and effective way to optimize these important musculoskeletal considerations.
Promote the Development of Your Intrinsic Foot Muscles: Intrinsic foot muscles (aka plantar arch muscles) are a group of muscles that originate at your heel bone, attach to your toes, and exist solely within the confines of your foot (i.e., they do not cross your ankle). Intrinsic foot muscles, all four layers of them, are important because they provide dynamic support for your medial longitudinal arch. Among those who have worn conventional footwear for prolonged periods, atrophy of the intrinsic foot muscles (or suboptimal functioning of these muscles, at the very least) is common, due to insufficient recruitment and use. This occurs because conventional footwear, with its rigid soles and built-in arch bumps or props, essentially immobilizes your intrinsic foot muscles and robs them of their vitality and resiliency. Using Correct Toes toe spacers, then, counteracts this intrinsic foot muscle decline by causing these muscles to fire more frequently, become stronger, and participate more fully in buttressing your main foot arch. When combined with men’s and women’s foot-healthy footwear and key strengthening exercises, Correct Toes can help you “wake up” your intrinsic foot muscles and rehabilitate them to the greatest degree possible.
Encourage You to Become the Best Possible Athlete You Can Be: From our point of view, we consider every human being to be an athlete in one form or another (or, at least, we believe that almost everyone has the potential to be athletic). For this reason, it’s important to foster the kind of situation in which athletic success, however you define it, is possible, and a crucial part of this is making sure your feet can stand up to the demands encountered in all sorts of athletic activity, whether it be running, jumping, dancing, pedaling, etc. Incorporating Correct Toes into your daily foot care routine is a fantastic way to develop strong, healthy feet that will support your athletic endeavors and keep you from being sidelined due to foot, toe, and other lower leg problems. For serious athletes hoping to carve out a competitive advantage, Correct Toes can be very helpful as well. World-class runners, basketball players, football players, golfers, and other elite athletes have used this flexible, comfortable, and durable device to build foot strength, improve propulsive force, and ensure quality footfalls on the track, trail, court, or other field of play.
Make Your Feet Stronger, More Resilient & Better Able to Support Themselves: A strong and resilient foot ensures that you'll be able to stand up to any physical challenge life throws at you, whether that be on the job, during activities around your house, or while participating in athletic competition. The confidence that comes from knowing your feet can take you anywhere you please, without pain, is perhaps the greatest benefit of using Correct Toes. Correct Toes is, without a doubt, a foot rehabilitation tool that’s designed to improve foot strength, resiliency, and self-sufficiency, but it’s more than this, too: It’s an important source of hope for so many people who struggle with foot problems of all sorts. For the many individuals who have dealt with chronic foot problems that diminish quality of life and prohibit participation in previously enjoyable athletic or leisure activities, the possibility of a profound and enduring solution to these problems is a true source of joy, motivation, and inspiration. With sufficient time, patience, diligence, and dedication to Correct Toes use, most people, most of the time, can develop the kind of bulletproof feet that resist injury and easily bear all of life’s many physical challenges.
Taking the above into full consideration, it’s quite extraordinary what this one elegantly-designed device can achieve when it’s appropriately applied. In order to realize the benefits listed and described above, it’s essential that you know how to best use this device. The next section of this review article takes a closer look at the various ways that Correct Toes users put the device to good use in achieving lasting foot health gains.
Versatile Correct Toes toe spacers are reversible and can be worn on either foot, and they can be used in any number of ways to help you restore optimal toe alignment and rehabilitate your feet. You can wear your Correct Toes toe spacers on your bare toes, over a pair of Injinji toe socks, or inside a pair of conventional socks, as long as, for the latter, you manually stretch the sock seam that runs across the ends of your toes to eliminate the toe-squeezing forces of the socks themselves. You can also wear Correct Toes inside appropriately wide toe box footwear; that is, footwear that’s widest at the ends of the toes, not just wide at the ball of the foot.
Indeed, unlike other toe spacers, and as mentioned earlier, Correct Toes is actually designed to be worn within wide toe box shoes during weight-bearing activity such as standing, walking, hiking, running, and gym workouts. In fact, the more time you spend in Correct Toes in a weight-bearing situation—whether that be out and about during athletic activity, at work while carrying out your job-related tasks, or even at home while performing your usual household duties—the greater the corrective effect the toe spacers will have on your toe splay and alignment. Some people also choose to wear Correct Toes as a sort of “night splint” while sleeping; you can read more about this particular topic in our article entitled Should I Wear My Correct Toes at Night?
Correct Toes Sizing
As noted earlier in this review article, Correct Toes currently comes in four sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, and Large. These four sizes do an impressive job at accommodating the vast sizing differences present in feet and toes. The following sizing guidelines are proposed by the manufacturer and have, in our experience, been quite helpful (and accurate) in determining the best possible size of Correct Toes for unique sets of feet:
Please note that the X-Small size really is intended for kids or individuals with very petite feet. Please also bear in mind that it’s not uncommon to (ultimately) need to size up (or “graduate”) to a larger size in Correct Toes as foot and toe adaptations occur; this process may take some time (up to a few years) to unfold, so it’s always best to select the size that’s most appropriate for you right now and then see what changes occur down the line. Finally, very large-footed individuals may wonder if the Large size will be sufficient. Based on our experience, we’ve found that it usually is sufficient, even for those who wear men’s US shoe sizes of 14, 15, 16, and up.
You can find additional Correct Toes sizing info in this video, or you can use this printable document to confirm the best possible Correct Toes size for you. Note: When printing this document, please be sure to print using “Actual Size” and not “fit to page” or “scale.”
Correct Toes Customizations
With four distinct sizes to select from, Correct Toes works great for many people right out of the box. Because all sets of feet and toes are unique, however, it’s sometimes necessary to make changes to the device to accommodate different needs. Correct Toes toe spacers are incredibly versatile, and the modifications possible with the device can address pretty much any fit or medical issue you might encounter, including things such as webbed toes, hammertoes, and corns.
Here are some of the most common customizations you can perform on your Correct Toes to help optimize fit and comfort:
Irritation or Rubbing: Should you experience any skin irritation or rubbing when using the device (rare), you can use Injinji toe socks to establish a barrier between the spacers and your skin. Performing the Shoe Liner Test (described in greater detail in a subsequent section of this review article) is another constructive strategy that can help prevent irritation or rubbing. View Customization
Too Much Pinky Spread: If you find that your little (i.e., pinky) toe is being pushed too far out and this is causing you discomfort, or if your pinky toe is rubbing against the toe box of your footwear, there are a few customizations you can perform on the device that may be helpful. This is one of the simplest fit issues to solve when it comes to Correct Toes use. View Customization
Correct Toes Sliding Off: For those who prefer to use the device barefoot and who find that the spacers are sliding off the ends of the toes, there are a few things you can do to prevent this from occurring. You can use Correct Toes beneath a conventional sock or in combination with Injinji toe socks, or you can trim the pylon nubs so that the device sits closer to the base of your toes. You can also use two thin velcro straps looped through the cavities built into the device to keep the spacers rooted in place. View Customization
Bunion & Tailor’s Bunion: This modification can be particularly helpful for anyone who is rehabilitating a bunion or tailor’s bunion and who is seeking to gain additional space between their 1st and 2nd or 4th and 5th toes, respectively. This customization involves the use of one or more of the shims discussed earlier in this article to help expand the device. Up to three such shims can usually be added to each of the device’s cavities, if need be. View Customization
Too Tight on Toes: In the event that Correct Toes feels too tight on your toes, the first approach is to try the next size up to see if that provides a better fit and feel. If the tightness is localized to just one toe, however, you can perforate the bridges over and under the involved interspace using a small-diameter hole punch or a pair of scissors to help free up some additional room around your affected toe. View Customization
Hammertoes: Hammertoes, a relatively common (though not normal) foot problem in our society, may require special consideration when it comes to using and wearing Correct Toes. If your hammertoe happens to be irritated by the device’s bridge, there are a couple of simple customizations you can perform that may be helpful in alleviating this discomfort. View Customization
Corns: If you happen to have a corn on your toe, there are several customizations you can perform on the device based on the location of your corn. A good first approach before trying these customizations, however, is to apply a moleskin bandage to the affected area to help reduce any irritation you might be feeling. View Customization
Webbed Toes: Thanks to Correct Toes’ brilliant design, there are a couple of helpful customizations you can make to the device to accommodate partial or fully webbed toes, should this be a consideration for you. Performing these customizations does not compromise the integrity or longevity of the device, despite the fact that a portion of a pylon (or even a full pylon) may be removed. View Customization
“Large” Size Modification: The “Large” size in Correct Toes possesses a slightly different design than the other available sizes (it has more nubs). There is a special customization you can perform on this size, then, to help address any irritation that arises at the ball of your foot or at the base of your toes. View Customization
Most of the above customizations are best performed using a pair of sharp, fine-point scissors.
In our experience, we’ve found that, if you are between sizes, it usually works best to size up in Correct Toes and make any necessary modifications to the larger size. If you’re on the fence about sizing, you can also order both sizes, try them on in person, and then simply send back the size that doesn’t fit as well for a refund. Please also note that you can perform customizations on your Correct Toes and still exchange them for a different size or return them for a refund, as long as it’s within 30 days of when you received your spacers.
Correct Toes Longevity: How To Ensure It
Proper care and handling of Correct Toes, especially when placing and removing the device, is an important consideration in preserving its integrity and enhancing its longevity (even the most durable medical goods can break down when not handled with appropriate care and attention). Like any other silicone device that sees heavy use, replacement will eventually be necessary. You may need to replace your Correct Toes every one to five years, depending on many factors, including how often you use the device, the specific activities you use it for, and the degree of care you apply in handling it (we recommend using both hands and a rocking motion when applying and removing the device from your toes; you should also apply great care when hand-washing the device in soap and warm water). Should your spacers happen to develop a tear—perhaps from an overzealous pet thinking the spacers are a chew toy—you can repair them using fish tank/aquarium glue/sealant to reconnect the torn bits.
Correct Toes Compatibility With Other Helpful Footgear
Correct Toes is, on its own, a potent foot health tool that can help you combat foot problems, improve your foot resiliency, and take you far on your journey toward optimal foot health. But there is a multiplicative effect to overall foot health that occurs when you combine this device with other footgear that has, in our experience, proven to be beneficial to the structure and function of the human foot. We have found that Correct Toes naturally pairs well with the following items:
Injinji Toe Socks: Injinji toe socks encourage proper toe splay and balance, and they help keep your feet dry and cool. Injinji toe socks can be used in combination with Correct Toes, foot-healthy footwear, and the other items mentioned here to help achieve or preserve long-term foot health.
Pedag Metatarsal Pads: Pedag metatarsal pads are both helpful and minimalist in design. These easy-to-place pads offer a natural approach to restoring and preserving foot health and are particularly helpful in treating capsulitis, sesamoiditis, and neuromas. They also work well in addressing hammertoes and other crooked toe problems.
Naboso Insoles:Naboso insoles are designed to provide daily foot stimulation to enhance foot sensitivity and awareness, foot circulation, and peripheral nerve activation. Comfortable and unobtrusive, Naboso insoles work great in almost all footwear, including all the models that we feature on our site.
Foot-Healthy Footwear: Correct Toes compatible footwear for men and women serves a very important role in the foot rehabilitation process. Accommodating footwear can allow you to use Correct Toes in weight-bearing situations (which helps speed recovery), build lasting foot strength, and experience optimal ground feel.
BlackBoard Training Tools: Incorporating BlackBoard foot training tools— including the BlackBoard Basic, ToeBands, and Meta Trigger—into your regular foot care routine, along with Correct Toes and the other footgear mentioned here, is a potent way to build stronger, sturdier feet capable of standing up to all of life's many physical challenges.
All the men’s and women’s footwear we feature on our site is completely flat from heel to toe, is lightweight in design, possesses a flexible sole and low stack height, and has a toe box that’s sufficiently wide to accommodate Correct Toes and natural toe splay (for most sets of feet). These are the key footwear features that, in our experience, we’ve found best support overall foot and toe health. We select our featured footwear based on extensive personal testing, and we take great pride in offering to our customers only the footwear that we ourselves have thoroughly assessed and that we believe offers the possibility of significant and lasting foot health benefits.
Other products that can play a helpful supporting role in the foot and toe rehabilitation process include the Naboso Neuro Ball (pictured above) and the FootFitter Shoe Stretcher. The Naboso Neuro Ball is a powerful massage tool that you can use for self-myofascial release, and it’s studded with hundreds of raised domes that provide your foot with optimal sensory stimulation. The Neuro Ball also contains a bonus “Micro Round” for targeted tissue work. The FootFitter Shoe Stretcher is a highly durable tool that you can use to “spot-stretch” your footwear, targeting those areas of the toe box that may be encroaching on your toe spacers, or to prevent your shoe from rubbing on vulnerable toe areas and pressure points. The FootFitter Shoe Stretcher can be used on a variety of upper materials, from leather to synthetics.
The Shoe Liner Test is an important measure of how foot-healthy a given shoe is and whether or not the shoe is compatible with Correct Toes and natural toe splay. This simple test involves pulling the liner out of your shoe (or a shoe that you are thinking of buying) and standing on it, with the full weight of your body centered over the insole. Ideally, you want to see your entire foot (with Correct Toes on) exist completely within the margins of the shoe liner. In some cases, however, there may be a small amount of liner “spillover,” usually involving parts of the big and little toes. As long as the spillover is not excessive, this can be acceptable if the following two conditions are met:
The shoe has a sufficiently soft and expansile upper.
The shoe’s toe box exhibits some curvature (i.e., outward bowing) in its sidewalls.
These two design features can, in many cases, accommodate a small degree of liner spillover, so it’s important to keep that in mind when performing the Shoe Liner test on a given pair of shoes. If you do notice a small amount of insole spillover, you might consider permanently removing the liner from your shoe to create a bit more space for your foot and toes inside the shoe.
Though it’s important to consider how your foot feels inside the shoe when wearing Correct Toes, for most people (especially those who are used to having their toes squished inside conventional footwear), it can be difficult to accurately assess toe box width and whether or not there is any toe impingement occurring. One of the merits of the Shoe Liner Test is that it asks you to rely more on your eyes and on objective findings than on the subjective feel of the shoe on your foot.
Note: Performing the Shoe Liner Test without Correct Toes on may lead to misleading results. Many peoples’ feet have, over years and decades of conventional shoe wearing, become molded in a deformed position that will conveniently fit within the margins of almost any liner. This is not an indication of a sufficiently wide shoe, but rather, an indication of a deformed forefoot that requires rehabilitation. So, for this reason, and so that the true width of your foot can be known, we always recommend performing the Shoe Liner Test while wearing Correct Toes.
Note: We strongly recommend that you avoid using Correct Toes inside any footwear that possesses a tapering toe box or a toe box that acts to pinch, squeeze, or constrict your toes in any way. Doing so will be both uncomfortable and counterproductive in restoring healthy natural toe splay. Trust the Shoe Liner Test, and use it as your guide.
Note: If the shoe you’re assessing does not, for some reason, have a liner, you can simply turn the shoe over and use the bottom of the sole as a proxy for the insole.
Correct Toes vs. Other Toe Spacers
Industry-leading Correct Toes is a long-established standout in an increasingly crowded field of options. Since the creation of Correct Toes back in 2001, a number of other toe spacing devices have been introduced to the market by competitors, many of which purport to deliver the same user experience and foot health outcomes so commonly enjoyed by users of Correct Toes. Despite the ever-increasing number of options available to those interested in restoring optimal toe splay, Correct Toes has remained the ultimate benchmark for toe spacers. We receive a lot of questions from readers asking what sets Correct Toes apart from the rest, and our answer is that not all toe spacing devices are created equal; indeed, there is a vast difference between Correct Toes and other brands in terms of comfort, durability, functionality, and versatility.
Correct Toes succeeds where other devices fail thanks, in large part, to its plethora of sizing options, the quality of the materials used in its construction, its incredible customizability, its compatibility with sufficiently wide toe box footwear, and the anatomical (not arbitrary) toe spacing it promotes. Also, the elegance of Correct Toes’ design cannot be overstated and is the direct result of the uncompromising pursuit of perfection on the part of its inventor, Dr. Ray McClanahan. One of the big concerns surrounding the other devices on the market is that users will try one of these products, have a substandard or negative experience, and then equate that with the practice of toe spacing in general, which means they will forever miss out on an opportunity to achieve real, lasting foot health gains.
This post from our Educational Articles blog dives deeper into the topic of Correct Toes vs. other toe spacers.
Correct Toes Considerations
While Correct Toes, in our opinion, stands alone in the world of toe spacers, it’s still important to scrutinize the device to better assess any possible drawbacks or areas of improvement. This helps ensure that you, as a potential user of this product, have all the information you need to be the most informed consumer possible. Here are some of the main considerations for you to contemplate when deciding whether or not to give Correct Toes a try:
Price: The price tag for Correct Toes is $65, making it the most expensive toe spacer on the market. There are a number of reasons for this, all of which we’ll unpack in the following section of this review article, but this may be something that potential users of the device will want to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase it. Helpfully, Correct Toes comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which affords you the opportunity to try the spacers, risk-free, before fully committing to them. You can even modify the device and still return or exchange it as long as you do so within 30 days of receiving it.
Adaptation Time: The early stages of Correct Toes use can, in some cases, bring on some (typically mild and temporary) muscle soreness, cramping, or fatigue in your feet and lower legs, due to the musculoskeletal system changes that are occurring in your body. Years of wearing conventional footwear can, in many cases, set up aberrant lower extremity movement patterns and other soft tissue issues that need to be unwound and dealt with before healthier, longer-lasting changes can take root. The length of this adaptation period varies from one user to another and depends on a number of factors. Some Correct Toes adopters may not experience any muscle soreness, cramping, or fatigue, or only minor such issues, while others may undergo a longer adaptation period.
Cold Weather Use: You can safely use Correct Toes in a wide range of temperatures, but trying to use the device when it’s very cold outside is not recommended, due to the chilling effect the spacers can have on your toes if your foot is not properly insulated. Indeed, at very low temperatures, the device itself can become rather cold, which acts to draw heat away from your toes, causing discomfort and potentially more serious problems should the spacers remain in close contact with your toes. So, if you live in a frigid climate and don’t have a highly insulated and Correct Toes compatible winter boot, we suggest holding off on wearing the device until milder conditions arise. You might consider checking out our Cold Weather Footwear article for more thoughts on what constitutes foot-healthy winter footwear options.
Footwear Changes: Many people who adopt Correct Toes quickly come to see the potential merits of using the device in combination with wide toe box footwear. Using Correct Toes in this way requires you to make very conscientious footwear selections, and, for some, this may mean adding up to several (or more) new pairs of shoes to their existing footwear lineup, which can be a potentially costly proposition (though certainly a sound investment in long-term foot health, in our opinion). In fact, it’s not uncommon for Correct Toes adopters to ultimately replace their entire collection of conventional footwear with healthy-foot-shaped options, as the thought of returning to rigid, inflexible, tapering toe box footwear (even for brief periods) becomes unpalatable. This isn’t a knock against Correct Toes per se, but just a heads-up that using Correct Toes may precipitate additional spending you had not initially considered. Most people start with one pair of Correct Toes compatible footwear and go from there, but the choice is, of course, yours to make.
The above are some key considerations to ponder when it comes to Correct Toes. None of these things may, by themselves, be dealbreakers, but they are all important factors to think about when gauging whether or not Correct Toes will be right for you. Overall, we feel that Correct Toes is a great option for most sets of feet and most common foot and toe problems, and, in our opinion, there is very little that can (or should) be done to improve upon the already stellar design of this powerful foot health tool.
A Word About Correct Toes Pricing
As mentioned above, Correct Toes costs more than other toe spacers on the market, and people often wonder why this is the case. Here’s why: Correct Toes is more than just a premium product; it represents an entire approach to foot care that upends decades of conventional foot care treatments. Because of this, it’s a product that requires extensive educational resources to instruct users about its many applications, uses, merits, and nuances. Indeed, the time, effort, and resources that go into educating users about Correct Toes is substantial, and the cost of the device ($65) is what allows natural foot health educators like us to continue creating the kind of content, such as e-courses and digital guides, educational articles, shoe and footgear reviews, Q&As, and educational videos, that empower people to achieve lasting foot health. Also, the Correct Toes company itself pours a tremendous amount of time, money, and resources into providing natural foot health education for users and healthcare practitioners alike.
For those who still feel that the cost of Correct Toes is too high, we encourage you to think about it this way: Correct Toes offers you a method for preventing or addressing numerous toe, foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments without having to resort to some of the most common conventional treatment methods, including custom orthotics, injections, motion control footwear, and surgery. Custom orthotics and injections can run well into the hundreds of dollars (with no guarantee of a permanent solution), while motion control footwear, usually quite expensive itself, is ineffective in addressing the underlying cause of foot issues and only serves to further weaken the foot. Surgery, the most invasive possible approach, easily runs into the many thousands of dollars and may result in a long and sometimes painful recovery period. Compared to these conventional options, Correct Toes is a reasonably priced alternative.
How to Get Started With Correct Toes
New adopters of Correct Toes often wonder about the best way to get started with the device. Our recommendation is to start slowly, giving your body plenty of time to process the musculoskeletal adaptations that are occurring. Correct Toes gently manipulates your toes, subtly shifting and stretching numerous bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints in the process. Too much continuous wear-time in the early stages can, in some instances, cause unnecessary strain and discomfort and cause users to abandon what is otherwise a constructive and effective way to combat foot problems and build a strong and stable foot. In our experience, we’ve found it most helpful to begin by wearing Correct Toes for 30 minutes per day for the first few days (or even up to a week). You can then add an additional 30 minutes of wear-time per day, every few days, until you feel comfortable wearing the device for longer periods of time. Most people find that they can, ultimately, wear Correct Toes for as much time as their lifestyle permits, including during athletic activity, where the device does some of its most restorative work.
Correct Toes Timeline: What to Expect in Terms of Results
Those who are new to using Correct Toes (or prospective users who are curious about the device) understandably wonder when they will begin seeing noticeable changes in toe alignment and foot health. Questions such as the following are quite common: When can I expect to see results? What factors will impact my success with the device? For how long, and with what frequency, will I need to wear the spacers? Will there ever be a point in time at which I no longer need to use Correct Toes? These are all excellent questions, and we will endeavor to answer them to the best of our abilities in this section of our Correct Toes review.
In terms of when you can expect to see results from using the device, in general, we have found that most people, most of the time, experience some immediate relief, with continued positive musculoskeletal health benefits occurring over a period of months and years. Of course, results may vary from one person to the next, and the direct and indirect health benefits of Correct Toes depend on numerous factors, including your age, your tissue mobility, how frequently you use your Correct Toes toe spacers, your physical activity level, and how often you wear appropriate footwear, to name a few factors among many.
For lasting architectural changes to occur in the foot, both time and dedication to Correct Toes use are important. For example, in attempting to reverse a bunion, some movement of the big toe (which is lacking in many people with this foot problem) likely will be visible within a few months of regular Correct Toes use (especially in people who use Correct Toes during weight-bearing activity). Further favorable changes will continue over months or years. Wearing Correct Toes is, ultimately, an investment in lifelong foot health, and we encourage you to think of it this way: It took a lifetime for your feet to conform to the narrow toe boxes of conventional footwear. Over many years or decades, your foot shape changed, causing the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues involved in standing, walking, and running to adapt to help slow this deformation. It is most certainly possible to undo these negative changes, but sustained, long-term improvements in foot structure do not occur overnight.
Therefore, you should anticipate using Correct Toes as a part of your daily foot care routine for many years. Positive changes in your foot symptoms, form, and function will occur much sooner than this—most people can expect to begin feeling the beneficial effects within the first 30 minutes of use—though only continued use of the Correct Toes appliance will ensure ongoing and lasting natural foot health in adults who have used conventional footwear since youth. For most Correct Toes adopters, there does come a time when painful problems are no longer an issue, but most users continue to wear the device beyond this point to address the structural challenges associated with footwear-induced passive toe deformities, which tend to take longer to fully correct or resolve.
Links to Research Studies
For the academically-curious, there have been a number of research studies that have looked at the impact of toe spacing on foot health, and one study in particular, published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, examined the role of Correct Toes on dynamic balance:
Another interesting study, published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, looked at the effects of a deviated big toe on foot blood flow (something we have talked about quite a bit on this site), with the clear—though not stated—implication that restoring optimal big toe orientation, enabled by a device such as Correct Toes, can also help restore optimal foot blood flow:
We hope you find these resources useful. If you have any questions about Correct Toes or the practice of toe spacing, or if you'd like to see an article written about another Correct Toes-related topic, please do feel free to contact us.
Correct Toes Review — In Summary
For many, Correct Toes represents a powerful natural alternative to conventional foot care treatments such as orthotics, injections, motion control footwear, and surgery. In our experience, we’ve found Correct Toes to be helpful in addressing conditions ranging from bunions to neuromas to plantar fasciosis (and beyond), and the elegant and unobtrusive design of this device—along with its superior-quality materials, multiple sizing options, customizability, and compatibility with wide toe box footwear—truly sets it apart from other toe spacers available to consumers today. Correct Toes helps enable natural arch support, prevents excessive pronation, and encourages the development of your intrinsic foot muscles, among many other benefits, and it gives you the kind of stable foundation that your entire musculoskeletal system needs to function optimally. You can use Correct Toes in a variety of ways, based on your preferences, to achieve your foot health goals, and you can easily pair the device with other helpful footgear to realize synergistic foot health benefits. Overall, Correct Toes is a revolutionary tool in the foot health arena that can help you build the sort of strong, sturdy, and resilient feet that stand up to all of life’s many physical challenges.
We ourselves sell Correct Toes toe spacers on this website. Even though we receive compensation when you purchase Correct Toes and other products from us, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on or about all footgear that appears on our site or in our online store. See our Ethics Policy for more details.
Dr. Marty Hughes is a chiropractic physician, or DC. He received his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College (WSCC), now known as the University of Western States (UWS). Dr. Marty has always been interested in foot health, due to the connection between the feet and the spine. He has worked as a freelance writer for LiveStrong.com, for whom he contributed over 2,200 health-and-fitness articles. He is a co-founder of Natural Footgear and an ardent supporter of natural foot care approaches. Dr. Marty enjoys road cycling, trail running, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing as well as exploring the mountains of Western North Carolina.
WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR FOOT HEALTH?
Let the team at Natural Footgear help you! Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest offers and helpful info, and sign up for our FREE email courses on various topics and foot health conditions.
We are here to help you every step of the way. Get our newsletter for the latest offers and helpful info, and sign up for our FREE email courses on various topics and conditions, including bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, plantar fasciosis, shin splints, ingrown toenails, and more.