How Do I Choose the Best Toe Separators?

H. Bliss

Toe separators are usually worn for one of two reasons: to widen the space between toes during foot beauty treatments, or to separate your toes to relieve discomfort while you walk. They can also be called toe spacers. The best toe separator will be the one that comfortably fits your foot and accomplishes its purpose. Once you have decided which type of toe separator you need, the best way to find the right ones is often to try them until you find one that works for you.

Foam toe separators are great at keeping pedicures tidy.
Foam toe separators are great at keeping pedicures tidy.

The toe separators that are meant for beauty use are usually squiggly foam shapes with a spot for each toe, though they can also be made with other soft materials, like gel. They are usually sold in the beauty section, near bottles of nail polish remover. Generally, the main idea of this beauty tool is to keep your toes apart for ease during a pedicure and polish. They come in many different sizes and decorated with many different colors and patterns, and they can be inexpensive disposable units for single use or washable tools designed for repeated use. The size of the toe separating protrusions and the softness of the material used to make the beauty toe separators are common issues with this item.

Podiatrists may prescribe toe separators for a number of foot disorders.
Podiatrists may prescribe toe separators for a number of foot disorders.

Foam toe polish separators need to be soft enough for comfort, but hard enough to push your toes apart. The spaces in the separators need to be wide enough for your toes, and the parts that go between the toes should be wide enough to separate the toes without stretching them so wide that they hurt. Having your toes properly separated during polishing allows you better access to the nail, which helps prevent unattractive painting errors. If you have tried many beauty toe separators and none seem to suit your toe shape, you may benefit from individual toe spacers. Cotton balls can also be used to separate the toes.

Moleskin can be custom cut to prevent issues from occurring with new shoes.
Moleskin can be custom cut to prevent issues from occurring with new shoes.

A different type of toe separator helps treat foot problems that are caused by toes touching or overlapping, such as toe irritation, blisters or foot pain. Rather than a large squiggly foam device for all your toes, these toe separators separate individual toes slightly for all-day wear inside shoes. Toe separators for foot discomfort are usually found in the pharmacy section of variety stores, often near therapy insoles and other products designed to improve foot comfort. They come cut to different sizes and in slightly varying thicknesses. You can also cut adhesive moleskin pads to design custom toe separators for your feet.

Cotton balls may be used to separate toes.
Cotton balls may be used to separate toes.

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Discussion Comments


I want something to put under my toes that will make up the space between my toes and shoes.


@ZipLine-- What are you planning to use the toe separators for? Do you need pedicure toe separators or separators for relaxation?

Silicone separators are actually the most flexible, so they are more likely to fit than solid plastic or foam ones. I'm guessing you bought separators that are a single piece with individual holes for the toes to go into.

You need to get separators where the holes for the toes have an open end. Or you need to get individual separators where each piece is placed separately between the toes. These can never be too small or too big, they will fit perfectly.


I've been looking for good silicone toe separators that will actually fit my toes. I've tried two already that didn't fit. With the second one, all my toes fit except my pinky toe.


My mom uses bunion toe separators in the evening because she has a bunion on her right toe. The bone in her right toe has grown out which has pushed her toe to the other side. She says it causes pain when she wears shoes all day.

She's using separators that are thick and made of gel type of material. She puts them on as soon as she gets home and usually doesn't remove them until morning.

Which are the type of separators that are worn during the day inside shoes? I don't think my mom knows about those.

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