A shoe or foot issue?

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My big toe has bored a hole in the top of my left running shoe. It’s pretty much only netting, but I’m wondering if it is a shoe or foot issue.– Steve B

Dr. Rehbok answers:

It’s fairly common for that to happen and it’s not serious. The big toe sometimes lifts up too much and damages the shoe upper causing a hole to appear.

Getting a proper fit is important. There must be a thumb’s width of space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe when you’re standing up. Care must be taken that the shoe is not too big either or you will slide forward in it and your toe will hit the front of the shoe.

Clip with care and trim your nails. Some running shoes have built in stronger material over the big toe that will prevent this hole from happening.

You can also apply tipex to the upper over the area or use duct tape on the inside of the shoe toe box over the area as a preventative measure.

Tie your shoe firmly so that your feet do not slide forward or use running shoes with a deeper toe box.

Visit your local cobbler to get him to sew a leather or vinyl patch over the area to strengthen the upper.

Some runners get a lot of toe movement as part of their running stride. This upward movement (hyperextension) of the toe then rubs on the shoe upper and makes a hole. It is not easy to biomechanically fix this malfunction.

This hole in the upper does not affect the function of the shoe in any way and it’s not a running shoe weakness or fault.

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