How Wide Toe Box Shoes Can Help or Prevent Bunions

Our customers here at SOM Footwear approach us about our products for so many reasons and it’s always an honor to hear their stories. One subject that people hold near and dear to their hearts (and their toes!) is their individual requirements for footwear. If you have ever had a problem with your feet, or you have specific needs when it comes time to purchase a new pair of shoes, you know what we are talking about! This week we’re going to dive into how wide toe box shoes can help bunions.

(**Disclaimer: While we at SOM do have a PHD (Positive Happy Dedication) in Sneakerology, we are not podiatrists or physical therapists! We are presenting information we have found helpful and insightful, but as with anything, your mileage may vary!


Many modern shoes are designed for a specific design aesthetic, such as high heels and dress shoes without giving consideration to how the shoe is going to serve the foot that’s in it, and ultimately the person wearing it. While we’ve come a long way since the 1800’s where shoes were exactly the same for the right and left foot, bunions are becoming an increasingly prominent foot health problem, but can be helped or prevented with proper footwear.



Bunions can vary in severity, from a small, bony protrusion that occurs on the joint where your big toe connects to your foot, to a larger bump that sticks out and becomes painful to where the protrusion gets so bad that it can cause your big toe to turn inwards so far that it overlaps your second toe. There are a number of treatments for bunions, including specialized padding, splints and taping methods, medications such as Tylenol or Advil to help with the pain and inflammation, cortisone injections and icing and stretching methods which can help which we’ll outline below. Cases of severe bunions can even result in surgery and can be quite involved and needless to say expensive. According to many different sources, proper footwear with a wide toe box can prevent or help bunion pain.


Any shoe that is narrow or forces the toes into an unnaturally pointed position may cause a bunion. We’ve outlined various bunion treatment methods above, let’s talk about some stretches that can help with bunion pain:


Toe Spread - flex your feet and try to spread your toes as wide as possible, hold for 1 second at your widest flex, then return to normal.
Toe Circles - Using your hands, manipulate your big toe in a circular motion for 20-30 seconds. You may also use a “figure 8” pattern. The motion should be completed both clockwise and anti-clockwise for the best effect. This stretch can be modified to be done while standing: place your big toe on the ground while rotating your foot around the toe.
Big Toe Pull with Band - Place an exercise band around both of your big toes and pull outwards until the band begins to reach tension. You should be able to feel a stretching in your big toes and arches. Bunions can cause your feet to pronate, or bend to one side, and can cause all kinds of problems with the structure of your foot including your arches.
Toe Pull With or Without Band (sitting) - In a seated position, with a straight leg, place a band around your big toe or reach to it if not using a band. Gently pull backward so the big toe is flexing back towards your body. Be careful not to use too much force! This stretch will also stretch your hamstrings and arches.


While nothing can fix your bunions completely (even surgery has it’s pros and cons), providing your feet with enough room to function as intended and not crunch your toes together can be a huge step in the right direction to better foot health. The bottom line is a wide toe box shoe can help bunions because your toes are happy, and not fighting each other for room. If you are looking for other methods to help your feet, you might be interested in Correct Toes (, an anatomical toe spacer that can help your toes realign into their natural positions.


Thank you for taking a journey with us into this subject and we hope we have provided some more information. We endeavor every day to produce products that let people do more, play more, get more out of life and start ENJOYING their footwear again. We get lots of feedback on how our wide toe box minimalist shoes are helping with back pain, enabling people to be active again and just generally be more in touch with their Sense of Motion that it drives us to be better, everyday, for you! Thank you for reading our foot health blog about bunions and we hope that one of our wide toe box shoes can help with foot pain cause by bunions or other issues. Keep your eyes peeled for more foot health blogs as this is the first installment in a series. Thanks for reading and GO OUT AND PLAY!

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