Toe armor

I smashed my big toe yesterday on a rolling hop attempt onto pallets. It’s beautifully purple and swollen today and I’m going in to have it x-rayed this afternoon. Whether or not it’s broken, I’m going to have to find a way to protect it - and continue to ride - during the healing process.

I’ve looked through all the old threads on shoes and toe injuries. The most relevant ones are from like 2004, so I’m starting a new thread.

I’m looking for good recommendations on shoes or splints that will protect my toe. What I think I want is a bmx freeride or skate shoe with a stiff sole and a reinforced toe box.

This is what people have suggested in the past:
5.10 Freeride shoes like the Impact or Sam Hill. (Doesn’t sound like the toe box is especially beefy though.)
661 dually (Same issue here?)
Lake freeride shoes (descriptions sound good - anyone tried these?)
Doc martens or Brahma steel-toed work boots
Carbon fiber foot splint that goes into any shoe as an insole. (This sounds awesome - anyone know how to go about getting one?)

Thanks for any advice.

If you’re willing to compromise a bit on the sole, I’ve had good success with rock-climbing approach shoes like the La Sportiva Cirque Pro. It has a 2mm tread depth and a bit of an arch, so it’s not a full-on skate shoe.

Those sound quite similar to the shoes I was wearing yesterday when I got dinged. Unless it’s got some kind of armor in the toe-box that they don’t mention, then it’s not an upgrade for me.

Approach shoes have worked fine for me up to now as well, but right now I need some extra injury protection in the toe area.

The toe box is a rock climbing shoe compound, designed for jamming into cracks. Much better toe protection than any of the sneakers. But it’s not steel-toe or carbon fiber or anything.

I use 5.10 impacts, high tops. The toe protection isn’t very good, I sometimes get whacked there and it can hurt. But the ankle protection is pretty decent, because of the high tops. And the tread is super grippy and has been wearing really well with the pinned platform pedals that I use (the same pedals literally chewed the tread off my cheapo hiking boots).

So if you need massive toe protection, I’d suggest something else than 5.10s. LIke maybe redwing work boots.

Check these steel-toed light hikers out. Pretty cool. I didn’t know stuff like that existed. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks.

Wow I didn’t realize redwing made those kind of shoes! I was kind of joking about redwing - I knew they were famous for steel toed boots, but I had no idea
they made athletic styled shoes with ASTM approved toe protection.

And the $130 MSRP isn’t that much more than the $95 or so I paid for my 5.10s.


I use Brahma’s for muni (and, well, for walking too)… I fractured my big toe in 5th grade, and the doc said I could still ski that season because the ski boots acted like a cast… it just hurt like hell getting the boots on & off :smiley:

I got a pair of 661 filter’s. I havent ever smashed my toe while wearing shoes, and i havent with these either. Their nice shoes, great souls.

edit: if you DO buy 661 shoes, you might want to buy 1 size bigger. They come 1 size small. I normally wear size 9 US, they are mega comfy size, and my 661’s are size 10, they feel the same size as 9’s to me.

I rode with Sketchers steel toed shoes. They are pretty heavy compared to the mountain bike shoes which I just started using. The sole in the mountain bike shoe is quite stiff.

Sure, with Tennis shoes you can feel the pedal better but Ouch!! I kicked 5oolb boulders and hurt three toes twice before I got steel toes. But now I would say steel toe is too extreme. They’re safe but clunky.

I have smashed toes twice (broken!) but still unable to find the proper shoe: I bought security shoes … but the problem is that the sole may bend and thus I hurted my toe (and those shoes are damn heavy!).
I need a very stiff sole: I still watch the thread about shoes but the big problem is that I can’t find many models here in France and that I can’t order by mail (I must try shoes: my feet are real bear paws -very wide-:frowning: )

Hi Tom,
I have Pearl Izumi. mid-range on the ankle. I could not locate a model name.
The sole was stiff when I bought them. I find that they have loosen up.
I also wear ankle braces(preventative).(not pictured)
You can see I was playing in the mud:)
Not as much protection as a steel toe.




ok - so I was out to lunch when I said that my shoes were like the La Sportiva Cirques. My shoes (some Merrell light hikers) have about the softest toe box around. I tried on the Cirques today and found my toe armor. For the benefit of anyone who has the same issue, here’s a quick review of the shoes I looked at.

To protect the toes, a shoe has to have a stiff toe box, a stiff sole - and it has to fit well enough and tight enough that your toes can’t hit the inside of the toe box.

5.10 impact. This is a bmx freeride/dh shoe. It’s made for hucking on flat pedals and it’s got tons of foot protection, toes, soles, and sides. People rave about the tread stickiness on pinned pedals. It’s got a great toe box and a stiff sole, but they’re too wide for my feet.

Lake RS Signature II. Hey - it’s advertised as “foot armor”. It’s got to be good, right? Also a bmx dh shoe. I ordered a pair (no one’s got them in town). We’ll see how they are when they arrive.

La Sportiva Cirque Pro. Tholub’s shoe above. These are climbing approach shoes, meant for sticking your toes into cracks. The toe and the sole are reasonably stiff, they fit my feet perfectly and they lace tight all the way to the toe, so there’s no movement in them. The sole and the tread are almost as flat as a bmx shoe, but there’s not as much protection on the side of the foot.

Pearl Izumi X-Alp Mid. Critter’s shoe above. This is an spd-compatible mountain bike shoe, that’s got a sole and tread closer to a flat-pedal shoe - made for hiking around in. The toe and sole are plenty stiff, but the tread and the arch aren’t quite as good for flat pedals as the others.

Shoes I didn’t try, but had on my list were:
661 dually
Lake DH165
Nike Air Whistler
VIZ bike trial shoe
Safety shoes like Brahma or Redwing or Skechers or Dunlop Volleys

Thanks for the research, Brah,
I love the lightness of my shoe, but I beginning to understand about the pedal flatness. I’ve notice my foot would sometimes come off the pedal on a over the top rotation. So yeah I’m not fully comfortable with them. I will try a bit longer but I see myself getting one of these.
Again thanks for doing your homework.:wink:

i got some steel toe hiking boots at walmart for $25 for bucking hay. they are not bad.

I got the Lake RS Signature II shoes in the mail today. They’re ok, but not great. I don’t know why they’re billed as “foot armor”. They’re significantly less armored than the 5.10 Impacts. The toe is pretty soft and there isn’t even much padding on the sides. The only thing that’s really padded is the tongue.

I’m returning the Lakes and keeping the La Sportiva Cirques. In those, I can kick the ground moderately hard with my broken toe without hurting it. None of the other shoes I’ve tried even comes close on that test. I think if I’d had the Cirques on before, I wouldn’t have a broken toe now.

Glad you wound up liking them; they’ve been pretty good for me so far. (Unfortunately mine are still lost in airline hell somewhere, along with my RTL unicycle).

:frowning: bummer. maybe they’ll end up in Hawaii:D

Are those shoes(cirques) sized normally( run large or small)?

If anything, they’re a little small. Mainly, they are a bit narrower across the ball of the foot than sneakers tend to be, and they’re not as stretchy; but the toe doesn’t taper as much as most sneakers, so my toes don’t feel jammed in. It depends on how your foot is shaped; they tend to be fairly wide in the heel and a bit narrow at the ball.

I got mine a half size larger than my street shoe size. (size 43 = US10 - I normally wear US 9.5).

I agree about them being a bit narrow - but that’s good for me. Narrow in the ball of the foot and slightly long in the toes means my foot doesn’t move around in the shoe and nothing is touching my big toe.