Best Shoes for Hammer Toes in 2021

If you wear high-heeled shoes often or have sneakers or trainers with a narrow toe box, you may be at risk of developing hammer toes.

This condition can be painful. If it’s not treated early, the toes can also become fixed in this curled position and immovable. Surgery might be the only way to correct.

This is why it’s important to consider changing your footwear to a pair of the best shoes for hammer toes.

Our favorite pair of shoes is the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush, as they have a comfortable FootShape toe box, a sculpted PU footbed, and uses FootPod outsole technology to help your foot move naturally. Here’s the full list so you can find a shoe that works for you!

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Altra Torin 4.5 Plush

 

  • FootShape toe box
  • Quantic foam midsole
  • PU Sculpted Footbed
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Brooks Dyad 11

 

  • BioMoGo DNA midsole
  • Dual Arch Pods
  • Wide toe box
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Saucony Echelon Walker 3

 

  • PWRRUN midsole
  • 8mm drop
  • Walk-Trac slip-resistant outsole
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Best Cushioned Walking Shoes

1. Altra Torin 4.5 Plush

Part of wearing a comfortable pair of shoes when you have hammer toes is choosing something with adequate cushioning. The name of the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush says it all—these shoes are plush and well cushioned and also have a wide toe box.

One of the best things about this shoe is their FootShape toe box. Altra is known for having a wide toe box, and their unique shape allows your foot to splay naturally and lets your foot bones fall into their natural alignment.

This is helpful for hammer toes as it gives your toes room to straighten and won’t cause them to be cramped, even when walking or possibly running in them. These are also zero-drop shoes, which means that there’s no leaning forward in your shoes, like there is with shoes that have a heel-to-toe drop.

The cushion is provided by a Quantic foam midsole and Perf-X insoles in a PU sculpted footbed, which is padded but lightweight. This allows for shock absorption and good energy return, so whether you’re just walking or taking a jog, you’ll feel light on your feet.

You can see Altra’s FootPod outsole technology just looking at the outsole. This is designed to keep the bones of your foot in a natural position so conditions like hammer toes are less likely to happen.

Depending on the shape of your foot, you may have to look at getting an extra-wide size as some people may find that these shoes can run a bit narrow in the midfoot and heel.

PROS:

  • FootShape toe box
  • Quantic foam midsole
  • FootPod outsole technology
  • PU Sculpted Footbed

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the midfoot/heel too narrow

Top Underpronation Walking Shoes

2. Brooks Dyad 11

The Brooks Dyad 11 is our choice for the best walking shoes for underpronators who also happen to suffer from hammer toes.

The wide toe box is one of the best features of this shoe, giving the toes space to splay and stretch comfortably, especially on every foot strike. They are also well-cushioned, and quite supportive.

The BioMoGo DNA midsole is a mix of two of Brooks’ cushioning types. It adapts to your foot, your stride, and your weight, to offer you an almost personalized cushion to protect your feet and toes as you walk.

Although this isn’t necessarily a stability shoe, this shoe has an arch support system consisting of Dual Arch Pods. These provide a platform for the supinating foot, preventing it from falling over while still being supportive and comfortable for a neutral foot.

A heel segmented crash pad makes heel landings less jarring and prevents the wearer from leaning too far forward and putting pressure on the toes. This is also helped by the zero drop.

If you want more volume in the shoes, you can remove or replace the insert with something thinner. This will allow plenty of room for hammer toes.

Some wearers may find that the cushioning is too firm and that it doesn’t offer the necessary softness underfoot.

PROS:

  • BioMoGo DNA midsole
  • Dual Arch Pods
  • Wide toe box
  • Heel Segmented Crash Pad

CONS:

  • Some people may find the sole to be a bit too firm

Best Stability Walking Shoe

3. Saucony Echelon Walker 3

Stability shoes were created to give extra support to individuals who overpronate—that is, whose feet turn inwards while they’re walking. Saucony shoes feature a wider toe box which is exactly what people with hammer toes need.

A walking shoe doesn’t need as much cushioning as a running shoe. The Echelon still provides excellent comfort and shock absorption with the PWRRUN midsole, and an 8mm drop keeps the foot in a slightly downward position—just enough to encourage forward motion but not enough to put extra pressure on the toes.

Saucony’s Walk-Trac anti-slip outsole also helps those with hammer toes. When walking on unstable surfaces, the toes tend to grip more to keep the balance.

With the slip-resistant outsole, the toes can relax and spread out comfortably in the spacious toe box, without worrying about catching the walker if they slip.

The leather and synthetic upper gives this shoe a slightly smarter appearance than a regular shoe.

If you walk vigorously or are planning on walking at a pace, some people find that the shoe’s heel cup isn’t deep enough to provide a tight, supportive fit.

PROS:

  • PWRRUN midsole
  • 8mm drop
  • Walk-Trac slip-resistant outsole
  • Leather and synthetic upper

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the heel cup isn’t deep enough

Top Lightweight Walking Shoe

4. Altra Escalante 2.5

If you dislike having a shoe weigh heavily on your feet, then the Altra Escalante 2.5 may be the right shoe for you. It weighs just 6.9 ounces, so you will hardly notice that you’re wearing a well-cushioned shoe.

The sock-knit upper conforms to your foot, preventing hot spots and providing a supportive but not restricting fit. It’s also perforated to allow for the best possible ventilation.

Individuals suffering from hammer toes will find the toe box to be comfortable and roomy, giving their toes space to stretch out and get the ligaments and muscles back to normal. The zero drop design takes pressure off the toes, which also helps to prevent further damage being done.

An Altra Ego midsole is both soft and comfortable as well as being responsive on the foot strike.

It also incorporates InnerFlex technology, which is a series of grooves in the midsole that help your foot to be positioned correctly. They also help your feet flex correctly too, which can help to prevent injury.

Some wearers may feel that the midsole cushioning is a bit too firm for their liking but it does depend on personal preference.

PROS:

  • Altra Ego midsole
  • InnerFlex technology
  • FootPod outsole technology
  • Sock knit upper

CONS:

  • Some people may find the shoe to be a bit too firm

Best Leather Walking Shoe

5. New Balance 928v3

A leather shoe can look smart, be more supportive than a mesh running shoe, and can also be more durable.

The New Balance 928v3 can double up as your go-to shoe for walking around town, and for smarter occasions when you need something comfortable but not completely casual.

These shoes are very stable and are categorized as a Medicare A5500 diabetic shoe. New Balance is also known as a wider-than-average shoe, so you’ll have ample space from heel to toe.

The ABZORB cushioning is soft but still responsive and there’s also a removable foam insert that molds to the shape of your foot for a custom fit. You can choose from two hook-and-loop closures or laces to allow you to fit it as tightly to your foot as you wish.

To keep your rearfoot stable, New Balance employs a ROLLBAR system, which uses medial and lateral TPU posts to provide secure foot placement and prevent unnecessary motion. Walking Strike Path technology also helps to keep the foot within its natural gait and helps the toes to spread out as they should.

Some people may find that the tongue on this shoe is noticeably shorter than its predecessor’s, which may be uncomfortable on the bridge of the foot.

PROS:

  • ROLLBAR medial and lateral TPU posts
  • Walking Strike Path technology
  • Available with hook and loop straps or laces
  • ABZORB midsole cushioning

CONS:

  • Some people may feel that the tongue is shorter on this pair of shoes than the predecessor’s

Top Casual Sneaker

6. Men – Drew Boost

The Drew Boost has a casual style that would go with denim, shorts, or even a more smart casual type of outfit. Whatever the occasion, this shoe would suffice.

For those with hammer toes, the deep, roomy toe box and extra depth in the forefoot are welcome. These shoes come with two removable footbeds so you customize the depth of the shoe, or you can remove them both and add your own orthotic.

The ULTRON footbed offers arch support, strengthened by a nylon shank, and a cushioned heel for high levels of comfort. There’s also a heel stabilizer, which helps to prevent foot-rolling.

The wide rocker bottom platform is stable and spacious, allowing your toes to flex and spread but providing support where you need it most.

Unlike most of the shoes on this list, these shoes have an elastic lacing system. This can be convenient, but some people may feel that they can’t get a tight enough fit for their feet.

PROS:

  • ULTRON footbed with heel cushion
  • Extra-depth and deep toe box
  • Wide shank with built-in heel cushion pad
  • Extended medial heel stabilizer

CONS:

  • Some people may feel that they can’t get a tight enough fit with the elastic laces

Women – Orthofeet Coral

Ladies looking for a casual sneaker to wear while out and about or around the house, that will give their toes room to heal, may want to try the Orthofeet Coral.

Orthofeet makes orthopedic shoes that are made to reduce foot pain and discomfort from a variety of foot conditions. The Coral is a Medicare-coded diabetic shoe, with an APMA Acceptance seal as being good for foot health.

For those with hammer toes, the wide toe box and extra depth are a good combination for excellent comfort. Anatomical arch support also ensures that the foot stays put and is held in place properly, preventing extra movement of the foot within the shoe.

A gel-padded heel absorbs shock and reduces pain on the foot strike. This in turn reduces pressure on the toes. For some who need firm arch support, these shoes may not feel like they provide enough. But thanks to the depth, a custom orthotic can be added to remedy this.

PROS:

  • Gel padded heel
  • Anatomical arch support
  • Spacious toe box
  • Extra-depth design

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the shoe doesn’t provide adequate arch support

Top for the Office

7. Men – Propet Villager

For individuals with hammer toes, spending the day in the office wearing dress shoes can be a painful experience. But the Propet Villager could be the answer.

They offer a spacious toe box and a removable insert that can be taken out to accommodate a custom insole. The EVA midsole shape to your feet to provide the best padding possible and reduce pain and strain on the feet.

There’s a heel counter and a heel stabilizer to keep your foot locked in place. It also has a slight rocker bottom, which isn’t enough to aggravate hammer toes but does help to propel you forward more effortlessly when walking.

Weighing 16 ounces each, some people may find that these shoes are too heavy on their feet to be comfortable when wearing them.

PROS:

  • Medial arch stabilizer
  • Internal heel counter and contoured heel stabilizer
  • EVA foam midsole
  • Rocker shape

CONS:

  • Some people may find the shoe to be bulky or heavy on the feet

Women – Drew Tulip

These shoes come in a wide variety of different designs. There’s something to match every outfit!

They have a naturally wide toe box, but they also come in different widths including narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide. This is another shoe with extra depth inside it, and it has two removable inserts that you can use to cushion your feet or remove if you have a custom insert or just want the extra toe space.

The upper is made of premium leather, and features perforations for ventilation. There’s a slight heel, but it’s not enough to put pressure on the toes. A heel stabilizer and wide shank in the midfoot offer support and structure and a wide shank area allows the foot to remain comfortable and not be restricted in its movement.

Some people may find that the shoe is wide in the heel as well as the toe box, and this can cause heel slippage.

PROS:

  • Dual-density insert
  • Extended medial heel stabilizer
  • Plus Fitting System
  • Wide shank area

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the shoe is wide in the heel

Top Dress Shoes

8. Men – Apex Lexington Cap Toe Oxford

These shoes come in black or brown, so no matter what suit you’re wearing, you can match. Their high, wide toe box is the main attraction for men with hammer toes, but they’re surprisingly stable and padded too.

A midfoot shank and solid heel counter make sure that your foot doesn’t move anywhere it shouldn’t. Both individuals with neutral feet and those who pronate should be comfortable in these shoes.

An EVA midsole provides a layer of comfortable cushion. It also has an antimicrobial lining to keep your feet cool, dry and fresh. Thanks to the extra depth, it’s also easy to add a customized orthotic if you need to.

PROS:

  • High and wide toe box
  • Firm heel counter
  • Reinforced midfoot shank
  • Antimicrobial mesh lining

CONS:

  • Some may find that the soles of the shoe crack under the ball of the foot after a few months of use

Women – Apex Evelyn

You can order these feminine shoes in medium, wide or extra wide. Whichever one you choose, the shoe has a naturally wide toe box to accommodate women who need extra room for their toes to be comfortable.

A firm and padded heel counter absorbs shock and provides extra stability. The depth is customizable, and you can get it to a size that works for you by removing one or both of the extra layers in the shoe.

PROS:

  • Firm heel counter
  • Soft padded collars
  • Antimicrobial mesh lining
  • Removable depth in 2 layers

CONS:

  • Women with narrow feet may find that the medium is too wide for their feet

Best Hiking Shoe

9. Altra Timp 2.0

If you suffer from hammer toes, hiking could be difficult. You never know what terrain you may come up against, and your feet may be changing positions a lot as you ascend and descend or climb over rocks.

The Altra Timp 2.0 is our choice for the best hiking shoe for hammer toes, although technically it’s a trail running shoe. Altra’s FootShape toe box is known for being accommodatingly wide, which is extremely helpful for individuals with hammer toes.

While your toes are able to spread comfortably, the zero drop means that there’s no extra pressure on the toes from the usual slight angle in normal shoes. A dual-layer EVA Quantic midsole is said to be both lightweight and luxurious underfoot.

The Timp’s outsole is made from MaxTrac, a grippy, non-abrasive compound. It should keep you safe and secure on your feet, thanks to its stickiness and a range of uniquely-shaped lugs underneath the foot. The traction of this shoe also helps prevent the toes from gripping too hard inside the shoe trying to stabilize.

Hikers or trail runners with high feet may find that the upper is too tight on the bridge of their foot and the stitching can create hotspots.

PROS:

  • FootShape toe box
  • Full-length Quantic midsole
  • MaxTrac outsoles
  • Zero drop

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the stitching creates pressure points on the toes

FAQs

What are hammer toes?

Hammer toes, which are also known as rotated toe, can be a painful condition that millions of people suffer from. Hammer toes are caused from a muscle imbalance in the surrounding ligaments, muscles, and tendons, which causes the toes to bend abnormally in the middle joint.

The imbalance is most often caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow in the toe box or that have high heels. The pressure that’s placed on the toes by the shoe generally affects the toe that’s next to the big toe, but can also cause the third and fourth toe to bend abnormally.

Sometimes hammer toes are hereditary and people who have a second toe that’s longer than the big toe are more likely to develop hammer toes.

Age and conditions like arthritis and diabetes can play a role in developing foot conditions like hammer toe.

In the beginning, the affected toes may be flexible but if left untreated they’ll become fixed, making it hard to move or even painful when the toes are moved. The pressure points that are created on the hammertoes can lead to calluses, corns, and bunions.

How do you treat a hammer toe?

To get your toes to try and splay in a natural alignment, you should wear shoes that have a wide toe box and a low heel. You may have to use insoles, foot straps, or corn pads to alleviate the pain, as well as help straighten the toes.

Should your toes be too fixed, you may have to have surgery to realign the tendons as well as reposition the toe.

What exercises can straighten a hammer toe?

There are a number of exercises that you can do that may help to reposition your toe, like the following:

  • Towel Curls: Place the towel on the floor under your feet and then using only your toes try to crumple the towel.
  • Gently pull and stretch your toes, which you can do several times throughout the day. If your toe is bending upwards, then stretch it downwards and then hold it downwards for a few seconds. You should feel a slow, gentle pull. Make sure that you work on one toe at a time.
  • Pickup Marbles: Put a towel on the floor in front of your feet and place marbles on it. Then, using your toes, pick the marbles up and move to a corner on the towel or drop them into a cup.
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