Skip to content
Free Shipping over $99. Flat Rate $7.99 under $99

My Steel Toe Hurts! What Can I Do?

What Can You Do When A Steel Toe Rubs Your Toes?

There are lots of things you can do to get relief. The answer depends on how it hurts. If a steel toe is rubbing your little or big toe it is probably because the shoe is either too short or too narrow. The best answer in that case is to get the correct size. But what if you can't return the shoe or boot and you want to make it feel better.

Steel Toe Boot Closeup 

Ok, Here Are A Few Things You May Try:

-Make sure the boot is laced snug. This will pull your foot back away from the toe and keep your foot from sliding forward.


-Adding some padding can help, especially if the edge feels sharp or rough. We use an adhesive felt tongue pad, cut into strips and stick the strips to to the inside edge of the steel toe.


-If the shoe has a removable insole or insert, then you could either remove the insert and wear the boot or cut the toe off of the insert. Doing this will give your foot more room in the toe of the shoe. This works very well if you have a hammer toe or a middle toe that rubs on the top edge of the safety toe.


How You Can Prevent Having A Safety Toe Hurting Your Foot.

If you consistently have problems with steel toes rubbing your toes and causing problems, there are some alternative answers. Look for safety footwear that has a wider style safety toe. Look for Asymmetrical or Oblique safety toes. These are special safety toes that come in true right and left shapes. Most safety toed footwear have the same safety toe on the right and left. Keen Work shoes all have Asymmtrical toes. Some select styles of Carolina, Rocky and Timberland bootsand shoes have Oblique Safety Toes.

Buying composite safety toes often can help eliminate toes from rubbing too. Composite toes carry the same safety ratings and do not conduct the winter cold through to your toes. And they are usually bigger to give you more room.


Slim, The Boot Guy 

Previous article Can A Heel Be Raised or Lowered?
Next article This Is a Site To Answer Your Boot and Shoe Questions


Rachel - March 18, 2024

I het cuts under my feet and between my toes. Now I noticed bruising under my big toe on both feet due to work boots. My friend has blistering and cuts under the feet due to work boots. What can we do

HOR - November 22, 2023

I was lucky, recently I bought a pair of old school Dickies safety boots designed by T. Kumagai with safety toe cap visible on the outside (not inside}, toe cap stamped ANSI Z41 JR 59 11 L, must be an obsolete model , absolutely no trouble of toe rubbing the toe cap

Sarah - August 22, 2023

I have tried 3 types of their steel toe cap boots they have to be white Iv gone size up and wide but I think the damage from one pair is now causing me to fined it hard to get a pair of comfy boots it’s the knuckle on big toes
Are their any boots out their you can recommend I don’t care of the price fed up of throbbing

Kenley Wong - June 22, 2023

Unfortunately, protective toe caps like steel toes and composite toes lasted into shoes and boots are manufactured differently than say over forty years ago. When shopping for footwear with steel toes from decades ago, the toe caps were noticeable and bulbous because the caps were placed over shoe forms and covered with the shoe upper material before being turned into boots . The telltale caps would bulge from the sole edge and the toe portion of the footwear making them unattractive. Nowadays, the current offerings are far more attractive and with the same protection. So, how is this accomplished? The shoe lasts used are made with a portion of the toe giving way to the steel toe caps to countersink into the shoe lasts and be flushed into a product that is streamlined as designed. This innovation did compromise on a degree of fit. Since the thickness of the toe cap have been flushed into the shoe last, this meant that the thickness has taken some real estate in the toe portion of the footwear. This also meant the wearer may experience discomfort from feeling the surface or edge of the toe cap. What to do? One may find comfort by going up a size, use an insole to take space, and or put on an extra pair of socks. Or if the style is available in a wider width, go for it and take up some unwanted space with insoles and or extra pair of socks.

Jimmy Rock - December 28, 2022

Hi I see it’s a corporate corruption case when they push everyone to buy the steel toed shoes and they hurt my foot especially toes that after a few days of work I have sores and pain. Concentration camp shoes and that’s the truth

The Boot Guy - September 27, 2022

Hello Rob, many go with short, wide boots. I recommend trying a longer and slightly narrower boot to get your pinky toe away from the safety toe that may be rubbing your foot raw.

Rob - September 15, 2022

I have a curve pinky toe and I think it’s starting to get worse. I thought it was my whole foot at first but I’m starting to see swelling on pinky toe side. Advice?

Leave a comment

* Required fields