Could any problem that you’ve ever had with your feet, with your ankles, with your knees, with your hips, with your back, just be because of something going on with your toes?

I don’t know, but we’re going to find out on today’s episode of The MOVEMENT Movement Podcast, with special guest Dr. Ray McLanahan, the creator of Correct Toes.

This podcast is for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body feet first, because that is your foundation. I’m Steven Sashen, your host for The MOVEMENT Movement podcast. If you want to engage with us, please do go to where you’ll find all the places you can subscribe to the podcast, on iTunes, Google play and more.  If you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe. And as always, thank you for being here and live life feet first.

Comments (7)
  1. So if our feet are really suppose to fan out at the toes like we see in the feet of infants, before a parent forces shoes on them, why aren’t Xeros shoes flared out accordingly? Instead do I have to buy the shoes extra large to get that open space that doesn’t squeeze the little piggy towards the big one? For this reason I think the best product Xeros sells is the original DIY sandal.

    • While people who never wear shoes do have a foot shape with the 1st joint of toes being the widest part, it’s not quite the same as a baby’s foot shape.

      Xero Shoes are designed to accommodate a wide toe area for over 90% of all people, even as their toes spread (there’s sadly no way to accommodate every possible width with one shoe).

      And, you’re right, our DIY kits are made to work with anyone.

  2. First off your clientele is not made up of 90% of all people. In fact, your clientele just might be the 10%. There are not a large percentage of bare footers and minimalist foot wearers in the First World economies. I know you are trying your best to expand that percentage but . . . and those of us who are bare footers don’t have average feet because AVERAGE FEET HAVE BEEN AVERAGED BY BEING IMPRISONED IN “STANDARD SIZED SHOES” for most of their lives. Of course the feet are narrower. Of course the toes are always scrunched together. You have to look in Third World economies to see normal feet where the little toe is not smashed inward and the big toe is not angled toward the outside of the body. Dedicated bare footers soon achieve wider feet and splayed toes.

    This link is a picture of two feet for the same baby. The foot on your left with the toes together is great for your shoes. The foot on your right with the toes splayed will not fit properly in any of your shoes. How about shoes for splayed toes? When you watch babies first walking; notice how the toes splay for balance.

    How many people nowadays can even spread their toes after decades of shoe entrapment? How many people today even have decent balance?

    If you do an image search for Myanmar fishermen, you can notice how their toes are spread while acrobatically balancing on one foot while throwing their netting or retrieving their catch upon their boats that are rolling on the waves. Take special notice of the little piggers.

    While your shoes do a decent job of looking great and trying to remain minimalist, I will still be longing for the splayed toe version.

    I was one of the first to try the Vibram Five Finger and was disappointed with their footwear trapping toes. Toes need to spread and contract as needed. We are not being judged for diving or gymnastic competitions where toe closeness is judged.

    • You put in a lot to unpack, so let’s see how I do 🙂

      My point isn’t that 90% of people are our customers… my point is that there is a bell curve of foot shapes/sizes/widths. If you make a shoe, for example, extremely narrow, it’ll only fit the people on the narrow end of the bell curve. If you may it too wide, it’ll be way too roomy for everyone but those on the opposite end of the bell curve.

      Our width, shape and designs, are designed to account for the “middle” 90%, whereas most shoes accommodate about 70%.

      Next, you are correct that our shoes won’t fit the foot in the right of that photo. One reason is that even children who stay out of shoes don’t maintain that same foot shape as they grow into adulthood.

      At the same time, though, because kids feet ARE different than adults’, we made our new Kids Prio proportionately wider than the adult version. That’s also why it’s unisex: statistically significant gender differences don’t typically appear until later in life.

      BTW, there are some adults with similar foot shapes to the one on the right in the photo, typically in indigenous cultures where the shape is as much (or, perhaps, predominantly) a result of genetics as it may be from staying out of shoes. There are also indigenous cultures who remain un-shod whose foot shapes are more “standard,” which highlights the genetic component in foot shape.

      I agree that those of us who’ve been barefoot often don’t have “typical” foot shapes, mine included (see below). Your assessment, though, that our shoes aren’t shaped for “barefooter’s feet” contradicts the feedback we’ve received from those, like me, who’ve been mostly barefoot for over a decade.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to accommodate EVERY barefooter. Again, think about the bell curve. Some barefooters we’ve seen have what amounts to a 6E width. Some have WIDE toe splay, but are still about a C width (again, genetics). If we made a shoe for the widest of the wide, it wouldn’t fit anyone under a D. And we’re not a big enough company (yet) to make multiple widths.

      If you haven’t tried our shoes, it may be interesting to make this conversation less academic and send me a photo of your foot, at rest, and splayed (which are never the same). I’m curious to see it (best if you can include a ruler in the photo).

      And if you have tried Xero Shoes, and find them too narrow, I’m happy to share your feedback with our developers. The photos would still be useful. (email

      BTW, one thing that can confuse this issue is the curved toe section in our shoes. We deliberately make ours so that it doesn’t look orthopedic, yet still is as wide or wider than most minimalist shoes. It’s a bit of an optical illusion. Another factor: The upper material and design — looking at a photo doesn’t communicate how the upper can stretch without causing restriction.

      Here’s a link to a photo of my foot in a relaxed state, and then my foot on the sole of the Xero Shoes I wore all day today. (right click or command-click to open in a new tab or new window)

      First, I would hope you’d concede that my toes are more splayed than average (and heel is narrower) but, of course, not as wide as some. From when we offered custom-made huarache-style sandals, we have a database of over 6,000 foot tracings. Mine are definitely at the farther end of the bell curve, but not in the widest 5%.

      Second, the photo with my foot on the sole doesn’t accurately show what I see and feel — having about 1/4″ of space on each side. Because the lens is above the middle of my foot, if you drew a line from the lens to the outside edge of my toe, that line would extend past the sole… but if I had thought to shoot 2 photos from directly above each edge, you would see the extra space.

      More importantly, the width of the SOLE doesn’t entirely determine the width/fit of the SHOE. Because of the upper material and design, my foot can extend slightly past the sole width without causing any feeling of restriction, and without putting the upper in contact with the ground (for a number of reasons, including the upward curve of the toes when seen from the front)

      Let me sum up by saying a few things:

      1) Our company has grown almost entirely based on the feedback we’ve received from customers. So I appreciate yours.
      2) We’re always looking to improve and would never suggest we’ve perfected anything
      3) Given the many thousands of positive testimonials we’ve received from customers who mention how happy they are because their toes can spread and splay, and the mere handful we’ve received in the last 9.5 years that say “too narrow” or “wrong shape for my foot,” I’d contend we’re off to a good start (and, again, see #2 re: always looking to improve).


      • Steven,

        Thanks for responding. Your points are valid. I hope we can find mutual understandings.

        Your guest in this podcast, Dr. Ray McLanahan, states that the toes should be wider than the balls of the foot. This is exactly what we eventually get going barefoot and wearing Huarache-style sandals. Xero Shoe, though, start narrowing right after the ball portion of the forefoot. It’s the same overall basic shape of shoes for the last several decades. I appreciate the fact I can spread my toes past the sole portion if needed. But, why not just keep the sole flare going just a little further out before closing around the toes? The Xero Shoe unique strapping system should hold the foot in place for up and down hill ambling. So why not tweak the design and be even more innovative and really separate Xero Shoe from the herd of same shape sole design?

        I’ve often wondered why shoes don’t look more like feet with splayed toes. The only answer I come up with is that that shoe would look too goofy to sell and, as we all know, style sells. So, I’m not holding my breath for any big changes coming soon from the Xero Shoe development team.

        Surprisingly or not, my foot is very similar to yours. I also have Morton’s toe and my little toe, like yours, will not splay when relaxed. I think this is due to decades of wearing shoes and Z type sandals (You know. The Chaco brick.). It took a long time before my big toe would quit tilting towards its lesser siblings. My foot also covers my Prio’s sole just like your foot.

        I have bought several Xeros products over the years. My main complaint with the Prio and Daylite Hiker, other than the sole design, is how the tongue is attached; the seam irritates the skin on top of my foot near the toes. I remedied the problem with my own stitching. My Hanas are okay for dress up. No problems with the tongue. Clouds are nice but too orthodox of a sole. DIYs are awesome. The Zs I gave to goodwill. I know most Xero Shoe customers have differing experiences and opinions.

        Thank you for your efforts in promoting healthy feet and lifestyles. I wish Xero Shoe continued growth and success,


        p.s. A previous episode had you and Dr. Irene Davis discussing foot strikes. I prefer less violent terminology such as touch or kiss. Just hearing foot strike hurts my soles.

  3. My toes are wider than the ball of my foot, but my Xero Shoes fit fine.

    I’m not sure if aesthetics are the only reason that nobody is making a shoe that’s the shape you’re describing, or if it’s that the number of people for whom a shoe with that shape would fit is so small.

    If you’re having an issue with the tongue construction in your shoes, contact our Customer Happiness Team directly at either or 303.447.3100 and see if they help you with this. I’ll report it to our development team to see if there’s a problem we can address.

  4. Well, according to Correct Toes, the Altra Escalante is thumping the Prio in the width at end of toe department. The Prio is winning in the other categories though.

    I’m surprised the Customer Happiness Team hasn’t come across or solved the issue of attaching the tongue with an overlapping seam on the inside. Maybe it’s just me. My skin adjusts to wearing Huaraches. And I’m sure they’ll adjust to shoe seams. I just don’t wear them often enough to break my feet into them.

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