How to Choose shoes for Hammer Toes

Updated April 17, 2017

Hammer toes can be a real hindrance when it comes to finding shoes that fit, as they make the toe area of your foot deeper and the toes are easily irritated due to their position. Hammer toes are toes that are subluxed (partially dislocated) at the first joint. The hammer toes protrude above the other toes and can become painful and awkward to fit into shoes. The condition usually occurs to the second toe. Wearing the wrong type of shoe for just a short period can result in extreme pain and cause you to limp. Hammer toes are often seen with a bunion, but they can occur on their own with no other foot problems. In many cases both feet will be affected. In others only one foot is affected. Whatever your situation, this article will help you choose a shoe to accommodate your hammer toes.

Look at the collection of shoes that you have in your closet. Which ones do you find comfortable and which ones cause you pain? By answering these questions, you will have a good indication on the style of shoe you need.

Visit your podiatrist before you go shoe shopping if you have any corns, calluses, blisters or foot pain. Otherwise, any shoe that you try on will feel uncomfortable. It is best to clear up these problems first.

Wear any toe pads, devices or orthotics that you may usually wear for your hammer toes when buying new shoes. You want to be sure that your feett and these devices fit well into your new shoes.

Look for shoes with adjustable straps or laces. If the shoes are held on your feet by firm laces or straps, then your toes will be relaxed and not squashed into the front of the shoes.

Choose open toe shoes for the warmer weather. This will instantly relieve pressure on hammer toes, but be sure that the shoes or sandals have good ankle straps to support your feet. Poorly supported or unstable feet is one of the causes of hammer toes.

Stay away from loose or slip-on shoes, as your toes will curl up in order to grip the shoe and hold it on. This will make the deformity worse or cause other deformities to occur such as bunions and claw toes. Your toes will also be irritated by the shoe slipping forwards and backwards, and corns, calluses or blisters may form.

Avoid shoes that are too narrow, short or high heeled. These styles of shoe will cause a great deal of pressure on the toes and make the deformity worse.

Make sure that there are no seems or ridges in the toe box of the shoes. You may not notice this when first trying on the shoes, but it will soon become apparent when you walk for a while and the toes becomes irritated, red and painful.

Search for shoes with a removable inserts. This will provide more depth in the shoes once you remove the inserts and so your hammer toes will not be irritated by the top of the shoe.

Visit a specialist shoe store in your city if you have no luck finding comfortable shoes. They may stock shoes that have a deep toe box that fits your foot well. You may be able to adjust shoes to allow more room for your toes.


As your feet swell as the day goes on, it is best to shoe shop towards the end of the day rather than in the morning. This will ensure that your new shoes fit your feet all day long.


Take your shoes to your podiatrist for their opinion before you wear the shoes outdoors or for prolonged periods. They may adjust your shoes or refer you to a specialist to have the shoes adjusted or to obtain a more suitable pair of shoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Podiatrist
  • Specialist shoe store
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