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Toebox Width & Depth – Is There a Solution to Prevent Blisters?

Long term Bartold Clinical member Rebecca, who has a terrific website on blister prevention, asked me a great question.. “Runners and hikers have trouble with the width of the toebox in some shoes when their feet swell and this contributes to blisters among other issues. As soon as there is not enough width, blister treatment…

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical

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2 responses to “Toebox Width & Depth – Is There a Solution to Prevent Blisters?”

  1. Thanks for the article Simon!

    I want to narrow in on toebox dimensions though. Putting “the future” of shoe fit to the side, putting company claims and concepts to the side, and putting rearfoot, midfoot and even forefoot aspects to the side, how can one compare toebox depth and width between shoes, apart from “feel”. Is there really no objective measure?

    Is there an agreed-upon way to measure toebox depth? Is there an agreed-upon way to measure toebox width? Possibly there’s not. But if there was, and using it against shoe length, there would be a ratio of toebox depth to shoe length, and toebox width to shoe length that could be plainly stated to help people make purchasing decisions. Sure, it would come down to feel in the end. But when you’re looking to find a new shoe because your current shoes are not accommodating your toes adequately, it would help to know where to start looking.

    I would certainly find it helpful to provide this information to people who have toe issues. Not just in ultrarunning where swelling is a big factor and people are wearing toe-socks and all sorts of paddings, cushions and tapes on their toes for blister management. But possibly even more so for my patients in general with hammertoes, hyperextended hallux IPJs etc. I would love to be able to say “the shoe you’re wearing has a toebox width (or depth) score of 2.6, you should try a shoe with a score of 2.8 or higher, like brand X”, or something like that.

    It seems kind of simple to me – I am a bit simple though :). I guess if there’s still such variability in shoe size and width, a new measure like this is a long way off.

    Thanks again Simon.

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