Yoga Toe & Toe Stretchers

Written By: Chloe Wilson BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed By: FPE Medical Review Board

Toe separators such as the yoga toe can help relieve foot pain due to a whole range of problems

Toe stretchers such as the popular Yoga Toe are a simple, natural way to relieve foot pain.

They spread, stretch and exercise your toes helping to prevent and treat a number of foot problems including Hammer ToePlantar Fasciitis and Bunions.

Whether you are on your feet all day, are a runner or simply love your high heels, yoga toe stretchers are great for sore, tired feet.  

There are a number of different toe stretcher products on the market ranging from gel/plastic spacers to comfy cotton toe spreader socks. People are often amazed how something so small can make sure a difference to their tired, aching feet.

Here we will look at how they work, what conditions they can help, how to put them on and we compare the different products out there so you can find the toe stretchers that are best for you. 

How Do Toe Stretchers Work?

Many foot problems are caused by tightening up of the muscles and ligaments in the foot.  This makes subtle changes to the position of the foot and how forces are transferred up the leg to the back. It can affect your posture and how you walk and run. 

Toe stretchers sit between your toes, close to the webbing and help to stretch out the toe muscles and ligaments while improving the alignment of the feet. Most are worn whilst you are sitting or lying down relaxing rather than when you are up and about, but some are slim enough that you can wear them when walking barefoot or with wide shoes/slippers. 

In time, they increase the flexibility and length in your toes which helps combat a whole range of foot problems. They may be made from gel, like yoga toes, foam or even specially designed cotton spreader socks. 

Conventional Toe Stretchers

Conventional toe stretchers, like the Yoga Toe, are the most popular type of toe separators on the market. Made of gel, plastic or silicone, they slide in between your toes and sit above, between and below your toes. This helps to spread the toes apart and away from the ball of your feet. They are usually sold in pairs so you only need to buy one set. 

It used to be that Yoga Toes had the monopoly on toe stretchers, but in recent years, more manufacturers have started to make them and there are some really good, and often cheaper alternative brands. However, Yoga Toe stretchers tend to come out on top for user reviews.

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1. The Original Yoga Toe

Original Yoga Toe Toe Stretchers: Find out how they work and what foot conditions they can help

The Original Yoga Toe stretchers are made of medical grade gel and can be heated up or frozen so you can benefit from heat or ice therapy at the same time as stretching your toes.

The patented ergonomic design of the Yoga Toe straightens and re-aligns feet. The spacer for the big toe is larger than the rest to ensure maximum stretch and they are curved to align to the natural shape of the foot, features unique to the Yoga Toe brand.

Yoga Toes are more expensive than other brands, but they tends to receive better reviews. People often say they have tried cheaper versions first but then switched to Yoga Toe toe stretchers as they find they provide a much stronger stretch, making them more effective. Yoga Toes are BPA and latex free.

The Original Yoga Toe is available in three sizes, XS, S and M. They really do provide the ultimate stretch and get an average user rating of 4.4/5.

2. Vivesole Toe Separator Set

Vivesole Toe Stretchers set: a great mid-range toe stretcher alternative to the Yoga Toe

The Vivesole Toe Separator set contains a pair of toe separator loops and a pair or toe separator stretchers. They are made of ultra-soft silicone gel, providing comfortable cushioning between each toe. The medical-grade gel is latex-free and resilient for extensive use. They are easy to wash - either wipe down with a wet wipe or wash in warm soapy water.

With the toe loops, you simply slip your toes through the holes, whereas with the toe stretchers, you simply pop the spacers in between your toes. The toe stretchers tend to give a stronger stretch than the toe loops, although slightly less stretch than the original Yoga Toe.

The Vivesole Toe Separator set is available in two colors, blue or green and comes with a 60 day guarantee. It has an average user rating of 4.3/5

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $12/£13)

3. Budget Toe Stretchers

Budget Toe Stretchers: The cheaper alternative to Yoga Toes

These budget Toe Separator Correctors are the least bulky style on the market making them the easiest to wear when walking barefoot or in shoes. They are made of soft, flexible gel and are extremely comfortable - people often comment that within a few minutes they forget they are wearing them.

Simply slip them over your toes and they will begin stretching immediately. They can even be worn overnight. A few people complain that they feel a bit tight on their toes as they fully enclose your feet but most people find them very comfy, and the low price makes them worth a try.

These budget Toe Separator Correctors come in packs of 2 or 3 pairs and have average user rating 4.3/5.

Read: User Reviews    Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $6/£4)

Toe Stretcher Socks

Another popular type of toe stretchers are stretcher socks.  As well as all the advantages of stretching your toes apart, they are extremely comfortable, keep your feet warm and they don’t fall off!  Some people find they are more comfortable than the yoga toe style stretchers as they are less bulky and create less friction. 

Toe stretcher socks are also comfortable enough to sleep in and never fall off, however much you roll around, unlike the gel/plastic toe spacers.  They are considerably cheaper than the gel versions like yoga toes, but they won’t provide as much of a stretch. 

The biggest downside is that they usually come in a creamy white colour so can get dirty quickly.  But, they wash well and you can always wear another loose sock over the top. 

1. Happy Feet Socks

Happy Feet Socks: The original toe alignment socks

Happy Feet Socks are the original foot alignment socks with toe spreaders designed to stretch, separate and align your toes. Made of 90% cotton, 7% polyester and 3% elastene, they are very comfortable to wear day or night.

They are extremely effective at stretching the toes apart and also improve circulation and keep your feet warm. Original products always have a foot embroidered at the top of them. Happy Feet socks do cost more than other alignment socks but users find them more effective and long lasting.

Happy Feet Socks are available in three sizes and a range of colors including rainbow, black, white, blue and pink and are machine washable. People often find them more comfortable than gel toe stretchers like the Yoga Toe, particularly when wearing them overnight. Average user rating 4.3/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $26/£33)

2. Budget Toe Stretcher Socks

Budget Toe Stretcher Socks

There are loads of Budget Toe Separator Socks on the market made by companies such as ReachTop and Yoga Sports. They are generally rated slightly lower than Happy Feet Socks but at a third of the price they are appealing! They are generally comfortable and warm and provide a good stretch, but the quality and thickness can vary.

Budget Toe Stretcher Socks come in a variety of sizes and colors. Some need hand washing. They are a good option if you are wanting to try out separator socks but if you are going to be using them long term, it may be worth spending a bit more. Average user rating 4.1/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (prices from $9/£8)

What Conditions Can They Help?

Toe stretchers, whether its the yoga toe or stretcher socks, help to improve circulation, straighten bent toes and realign joints. They can be used for both the prevention and treatment of a number of different foot and toe problems such as: 

As well as varicose veins, toe stiffness, arthritis, overlapping toes and metatarsalgia.

Other benefits of using yoga toe or toe stretchers are that they relax, stretch and realign the toes, improve balance, circulation and posture, decrease foot pain, strengthen the toes and improve the overall appearance of the foot.

How To Wear Toe Stretchers

Toe stretchers like the yoga toe should be worn when you are resting – let your body relax while the toe stretchers do their work.  Sit or lie down while you wear them.  Start off wearing them for short periods, 10-15 minutes at a time and then gradually, over a few weeks, increase to at least an hour a day.

If you try and wear toe stretchers like the yoga toe for too long when you first start, you may get cramp in your feet and the toes may become very uncomfortable from being overstretched. 

To put them on, simply slide your toes into the toe stretchers, starting with your big toe and working along. They should sit as close to the webbing as is comfortable.

Top tip, if your yoga toe or other toe stretchers feel uncomfortable when you first wear them, start with the spacers sitting between the ends of your toes rather than all the way down.  After a few days, slide the dividers half way down between your toes and then within a couple of weeks you should be able to slide them all the way down to the webbing.

What Else Can Help?

Toe stretchers like the Yoga Toe are a great way to help relieve foot and toe pain, but there are a number of other things that can help, such as exercises, footwear and shoe insoles. Visit the Foot Pain Treatment section for a whole host of ideas. 

Or if you are looking for different styles of toe separators such as foot corrector splints, toe spacers which sit in between individual toes or night splints, check out the Toe Splint section.

If you need help working out what is causing your foot pain and how to treat it, visit the Foot Pain Diagnosis section. You may also be interested in the following articles:

Page Last Updated: 05/06/24
Next Review Due: 05/06/26

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