Benefits of Spreading Your Toes

May 11, 2015

Your feet and toes carry you through life, and it’s important to care for their health on a daily basis. One way you can care for your feet is by practicing the act of spreading your toes, whether that is by using toe spacers/separators, wearing toesocks, or doing toe exercises. There are many benefits to spreading your toes, and many ways to easily access these benefits in your daily life.  

A closeup of a man adjusting his Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show toesock. A closeup of a man adjusting his Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show toesock.

Why Should You Spread Your Toes? 

  • Modern Shoes Restrict Your Feet: While spreading your toes may sound like a simple concept, it’s often overlooked with foot health! There are many reasons to incorporate intentionally spreading your toes into your foot health. Our feet spend all day crammed into tight shoes and socks, whether that is dress shoes for work, or form fitting shoes for exercise. These shoes put our toes into unnatural positions for 8-12 hours per day. It can be easy to get used to this lifestyle without stopping to ask yourself how this impacts your feet in the long term. If when you take off your shoes at the end of the day you feel an intense freedom and relief in being barefoot, it’s a sign that your should try spreading your toes more often. 
  • To Achieve Natural Toe Splay: Your natural toe splay is how your foot lays naturally on a flat surface without any restrictions. When toes are naturally splayed rather than contorted or restricted, it positively benefits your entire foot, which in turn benefits your ankles, knees and lower back.  

The Benefits of Spreading Your Toes for Overall Health  

  • Improved Balance and Stability: Allowing your toes to splay naturally provides essential support to your entire foot, especially your arch. Consider this, what has more stability, a wide base, or a narrow one? When your foot is crammed into a small shoe or tight sock, it takes up a smaller surface area and therefore supports you less efficiently than if it were given full range of motion. Restricting your foot and toes also restricts all of the small, individual components that make up your feet and help to keep you balanced. Letting your toes spread opens up your entire foot and its components.
  • Increased Circulation: Keeping your feet in the same position in tight shoes all day can restrict blood flow to your toes. Have you ever noticed your little toes going numb after a long day on your feet? Spreading your toes can help to bring blood flow back into those digits.  
  • Reduced Risk of Foot Injuries: Caring for your feet by spreading your toes is a great strategy for preventing injury and health conditions. When we care for our feet in this way, combined with the proper socks and shoes, and following the advice of health care providers, our feet really benefit. 
Looking down on a person's foot wearing Injinji Women's Ultra Run No-Show toesocks in Berry. Looking down on a person's foot wearing Injinji Women's Ultra Run No-Show toesocks in Berry.

How to Incorporate Spreading Your Toes into Your Daily Routine 

  • Studio Exercises: A great way to improve mobility is by doing exercises that focus on toe and foot flexibility, such as yoga and pilates. These exercises encourage participants to root into their feet, flex their feet and toes, and attempt balance postures where foot strength is essential. 
  • Toe Spreading Exercises: If you’re looking for something to do at home, try out Toe Yoga. Simply stand with your foot flat on the ground and lift your big toe without moving your smaller toes. Then, practice the inverse. You can also try a Big Toe Press by standing tall with your feet flat and pressing your big toe into the ground. Focus on keeping the other four toes neutral. If this is done correctly, the arch will lift the smaller toes into the air. Repeat on each foot 10 times for 10 seconds. 
  • Wearing Toesocks: Injinji Toesocks will help to give your feet and toes freedom inside any shoe by providing individual sleeves that move and flex with your toes. You will notice a difference with every stride, you can even wiggle your toes in your shoes, which is a great way to practice your toe mobility on the go. The Injinji x Pointe Studio series is the perfect toesock choice to pair with yoga and pilates, as they come with a grippy bottom, and offer a toeless style for even more stability and toe mobility. 
  • Toe Separators and Spacers: You may have seen the foam toe separators that you receive after getting a pedicure, but you may not have heard of toe separators. So, what do toe separators and spacers do? Toe separators and spacers manually keep your toes apart, and can be worn all day, or for a short period of time. Many athletes will lean on these devices to prevent or reverse damage to their feet and toes. 
  • Wide Toe Box and Barefoot Shoes: If you’d like more freedom throughout your day, you could try out shoes that are designed to allow your feet and toes to splay naturally. Barefoot shoes are a great option to try and are perfect to pair with your Injinji toesocks. 
  • Practice Barefoot Activities: Enjoy time without shoes on at home, and when you are in places where you feel comfortable walking barefoot, such as the beach or a park, give it a try! The more barefoot time, the better. 
  • Massage Therapy for Feet: Getting a foot massage is great for the overall health of your feet and toes. This is something you can book an appointment for or easily do yourself at home. 
A person adjusting their Injinji Run Lightweight Mini-Crew toesock. A person adjusting their Injinji Run Lightweight Mini-Crew toesock.

The benefits of spreading your toes are a game changer, and the ways to do so daily are plentiful. Next time you’re hanging at home barefoot, check in on your feet and try out some toe yoga. If you can tell your everyday shoes and socks aren’t doing your feet any favors, it’s time to look into barefoot shoes paired with toe spacers and Injinji's Everyday toesocks. If you’re a runner, check out the Run series. Hikers are sure to love the Outdoor series, and yogis will enjoy the Injinji x Pointe Studio series. No matter what you choose, your feet will surely thank you.