“It’s the first point of contact with the ground, and there’s a chain reaction,” Stephen Pasterino, founder of P.volve, previously told Well+Good about our feet and toes. “So the rest of the body reacts to what’s happening with the foot—which starts at the ball of your foot with the big toes, and transfers to the midtarsal joint and then the ankle, up to the knee, to the hip, lower back, the spine, and up to the shoulders.”
Any time we’re walking or running, our feet carry our weight and take the impact of every step. Which means your tootsies could probably use some TLC right about now. You can start with a foot soak that will help relieve tension and improve circulation. You can strengthen with some foot and ankle exercises and do a little foot mobility work. And you can let your toes spread and flex naturally without being restrained by shoes and socks once in awhile. “Get out of your shoes more,” Lara Heimann, physical therapist and yoga teacher, previously told Well+Good about toe health.
You can also go the extra mile with foot care products specifically meant to baby those little piggies. That’s what Olympic runner Molly Huddle does to help recover from long races and training sessions. Increasing toe mobility, preventing blisters and bunions, and a pampering moment of self care are all on Huddle’s foot care agenda. Here are her favorite products from the podiatrist-recommended foot care brand ZenToes, and how she likes to incorporate them into her routine.
Foot care products Olympian Molly Huddle swears by
ZenToes Silicone Toe Spacers — $15.00
Toes need personal space, too. Huddle says these toe spacers are “great for creating space between tight intrinsic toe muscles, which increases foot mobility and function.”
Heimann says she often suggests spacers like these to her patients. “I also always recommend the toe separators because it’s important to keep [the toes] apart sometimes,” she says. “The big toe needs to be in line, if you follow it from where it inserts into the sole and all the way to the tip. You don’t want it tracking inwards.”
ZenToes Heel Socks — $15.00
Cracked, peeling heels don’t need to be a consequence of pounding the pavement.
“My feet can get pretty beat up from all the mileage,” Huddle says. “It feels good to once a week or so pop on the fuzzy cool heel moisturizers, paint my nails and say thanks to my feet for taking so much load.”
ZenToes 6 Pack Gel Toe Cap — $13.00
The feeling of a moist Band-Aid sliding off of a blister only to float around your sock somewhere is both frustrating and gross. Huddle turns to these gel toe caps instead.
“Blisters are inevitable for me after long workouts, I always seem to have a hot spot on my second toe, so the caps are great. They stay on better than Band-Aids,” Huddle says.
ZenToes Big Toe Spacers — $13.00
If your big toe likes to get too cozy with your index toe—which can lead to alignment problems—you can wear a single toe spacer to keep those digits in line.
“I like this one for wearing while I’m in the gym,” Huddle says. “It helps me cue my big toe when I’m doing any leg exercises or even just walking around. I’ve had bunions all through my running career so I’m always trying to correct and make space around that big toe.”