Sometimes the smallest things have the most potential to make daily life miserable. If you’ve ever had a blister form on your pinky toe as it rubs against your shoe, you’ll know what we’re talking about.
We’ve put together a list of 12 ways to stop your pinky toe from rubbing in your shoe. They’re simple tips that you can implement right away to stop feeling the stinging, chafing feeling when you’re walking or jogging.
Try them all out until you find what works best for you!
What’s the Best Solution to Avoid the Pinky Toe Rubbing in Your Shoe?
To prevent your pinky toe from rubbing against your shoe, the fix may be as simple as changing your shoes. If the toe box of your current pair of shoes is too tight, your toes won’t be able to spread out and rubbing could occur.
Of course, you probably don’t want to change your shoes. You can try a few of these simple tips and tricks at home. If you can find one that works for you, then you won’t need to replace your shoes.
What Could Happen if the Rubbing Isn’t Addressed?
When you first feel your pinky toe rubbing on the upper of your shoe, it may be just a mild annoyance. But if it isn’t addressed and if you don’t make a plan to stop it from happening, it can quickly progress into a blister or corn.
Along with a blister or corn, you may feel pain and have red, inflamed skin in the painful area. If it’s still not addressed at this point, it could develop into a more severe skin infection.
Tips to Avoid Rubbing
In this case, prevention is definitely better than cure. If you wish to stop your pinky toe from rubbing and causing pain and inflammation, try some of these tips.
1. Buy Shoes With a Roomier Toe Box
Shoes with a tight, small toe box can constrict the forefoot and force the toes into an unnatural position. The pinky toe may be forced against the upper, leading to chafing that could progress into a blister.
Choosing a shoe with a wide toe box will allow your toes the room they need to spread out without bumping or rubbing on the inside of the shoe. When trying on a shoe, your toes should have enough space to wiggle freely.
As well as being wide enough to not compress the forefoot, the shoe you choose should have enough depth that the toes can bend without the middle toe joint rubbing against the upper.
2. Seamless/Flexible Upper
There’s no avoiding the upper. If you’re going to buy a new pair of shoes to prevent your toes from rubbing, make sure that the upper has no seams in the toe area that could cause hot spots or place unnecessary pressure on the toes.
The upper should be flexible enough to move with your foot. In the event that your toes do come into contact with the upper, there should be some play to allow for flexibility and mobility.
3. Thick Socks
Wearing thick socks can help to prevent your pinky toe from rubbing against the side or the upper of your shoe. They will provide cushioning and comfort, as well as be a protective layer between your toe and the shoe.
If your shoes seem to be slightly tight in the toe box, wearing thick socks regularly may help to stretch them out a little bit.
However, wearing thicker socks than usual can also make your shoe feel like it’s tighter on your feet and may lead to hot spots in other places.
They both use high-density cushioning and are reinforced in areas that take the most impact. Targeted compression helps to increase circulation, and the Perfect Toe means there’s no seam that could contribute to chafing.
4. Blister Protectors
Blister protectors are ideal if you already have a blister or if one is beginning to form and you want to protect it from more chafing.
These are little band-aids that you place over the chafed area. It acts like a second, tougher skin, so if your toe rubs on the shoe, it actually rubs the protector and not your skin.
We recommend Compeed Corn Plasters. They come in a pack of 10, and they’re compact enough that you can carry them with you all the time in case you need one.
They’re waterproof, breathable, highly adhesive, and stay in place for days. As well as protecting the chafed area from further rubbing, they also help to keep bacteria, dirt, and infection away.
5. Stretch Your Shoes
If your shoe’s toe box is too tight and that’s what causes the rubbing, you can try to stretch your shoes before buying a new pair. A shoe stretcher can be used to widen the shoe to an extent.
The KevenAnna shoe stretcher is a perfect example. It’s a high-quality wooden shoe stretcher that comes in a pair.
You simply place the wooden section into the shoe you wish to stretch and use the hook and knob to stretch the upper gently.
It also comes with a variety of corn plugs, which are small add-ons that can widen particular spots on the upper that are common problems for corns and blisters.
This may be a helpful option, as you can use it on every pair of shoes you own instead of having to possibly replace multiple pairs of shoes.
6. Gel Toe Cap
If blister protector adhesives don’t work for you, you may prefer a gel toe cap to act as a barrier between your toe and the upper of your shoe. These are small gel pockets that fit right over your toe like a glove.
You can get them in packs of 30, which will be more than enough. They’re small enough to carry around with you in case you need one, can fit inside any shoe, and can be reused.
You can also cut them down if they’re too long, to fit your toe. Those who have a silicone allergy may have to pass on this method.
7. Stretch Your Shoe by Freezing
If you want to stretch your shoe but don’t want to invest in a shoe stretcher yet, you can stretch the upper by using something we all have close by—water.
Fill two plastic bags with water and place them in the toe box of your shoes. Make sure the plastic bags are properly closed and that they don’t break when you push them into the toe box.
Then, place your shoes in the freezer overnight. As the water freezes, the bag will stretch the toe box slightly. You may need to do this a few times to stretch it more.
8. Antiperspirant Cream
Excess sweating can cause the pinky toe to chafe more than it should. If you feel that sweating may be what’s causing your toe to rub on the inside of your shoe, you should consider an antiperspirant product like Carpe Foot Lotion.
It’s a dermatologist-recommended cream that’s designed specifically to reduce sweating. As well as preventing sweating, this lotion contains moisturizing ingredients to keep the feet soft and comfortable.
It’s safe for sensitive skin as it’s free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and formaldehyde. It’s also non-greasy, quick-drying, and very easy to use.
Just a pea-sized drop on the sole of each foot can help to reduce perspiration significantly. Rub it into your feet each night and every morning for the best results.
9. Tighten Your Shoe Laces
If your shoes are too loose on your feet, your foot may move around in the shoe while you’re walking, which can lead to rubbing.
A simple solution is to tighten your shoelaces more than you usually would. Cinching down on your laces—or strap—can help to create a better lockdown on your foot, reducing or even eliminating movement of the foot inside the shoe.
10. Moleskin Padding Roll
Similar to blister prevention pads, these moleskin pads protect the painful, chafed part of the foot from being rubbed more. They’re soft and easy to use, and some people may prefer them to the traditional band-aid type of adhesives.
You can place a piece of this on your foot right where the toe touches the upper, to act as a shield between the toe and the fabric of your shoe.
Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Plus Padding Roll is a good choice. You can cut it to the size you need and place it on the skin to protect your toes. It should not be placed on open wounds or rashes.
11. Anti-Blister Balm
Anti-blister or anti-chafing balm can help to prevent rubbing that causes blisters, corns, and pain.
We recommend the Solemates Anti-Friction Balm. You can get it in original—for women—or sport—for men. Once it’s been applied, the coat lasts for up to 6 hours, so you can be confident in your shoes for a long period of time.
It’s also compact enough to take with you in a handbag or gym bag so you can reapply if necessary.
You can also use this anti-blister balm on existing blisters to prevent them from getting worse, as it’s non-toxic and uses natural lubricants and moisturizers.
12. Toe Spreader or Separator
In some cases, it’s not a small toe box that’s causing the toes to become blistered, but instead, the toes are rubbing against themselves or overlapping. In this case, a toe spreader or toe separator may be the best solution.
These gadgets help to keep the toes apart, so there’s no friction between each toe. If you suffer from blisters between your toes, you should definitely consider a toe separator.
We suggest the Mind Bodhi Toe Separator. It’s lightweight and compact enough to fit into almost any shoe, and the gel construction is soft on the skin. Those who have a latex or silicone allergy may not be able to use it, though.