Best Wide Toe Box - Stiff Shoes for Hallux Rigidus / Big Toe Arthritis?

ev79sf

New User
Hi all,

Many years back I injured my big toe badly in a tennis tournament. :cry: It healed but then grew spurs and my cartilage diminished. I now have stage 4 arthritis in the big toe, so I live with it until I decide if/when to have fusion surgery. Because of course, I am not going to stop playing. :-D I wear a carbon plate under my orthotics, but need a wide toe box and stiff shoes to stay clear of pain.

I recently discovered the KSwiss Hypercourt Express and really like them for the above reasons. Anyone else with this condition or know of some shoes that are appropriate?

Many Thanks! :)
 

puppybutts

Professional
I don't have your condition but I am a fan of the KSwiss Hypercourt Express 2 and also look for wide toe box shoes. If you do not need to wear the Express 2E Wide version, then you might find you also like the Hypercourt Supreme, Diadora Blueshield 5 (not the 4s, since those are more flexible mesh uppers, whereas the 5s stiffened the uppers), SoleCourt Boost (though lots of people complain about too minimal forefoot cushioning, which may be bad for your condition), Vapor Cage 4, Gel Res 8 (comes in 2E Wide if needed, since it's not naturally as wide as the others).

Can you clarify where in the shoe you want stiffness though? The inside of the toe box? The upper around the toe box? The cushioning underfoot? IMO the Hypercourt Express is quite soft and flexible compared to other shoes, not something I'd consider stiff...though, I've only tried the Express 2, not the original Express if you're referring to that.

sorry to hear about your injury...best of luck with surgery when/if you get it.
 

ev79sf

New User
Thanks for the reply! To clarify, in general the forefoot and toe area should be stiff and not too flexible. But of course the carbon plate I wear is also stiff so that usually takes care of that. The most important thing is the toe box needs to be wide. If you haven't seen bone spurs in action, basically they are like alien clusters of bone above and around your big toe, so they push and rub against the side of the shoe if it isn't wide, and squish your toes together, which with my condition feels awful.

Basically I have the same issue as Lleyton Hewitt, who had big toe fusion. They remove the joint (which does not really move anyway) and put those bones together. But it is awfully permanent and also there is a long recovery. I used to wear Asics Gel Resolution a long time ago, never tried those in wide!
 

puppybutts

Professional
Thanks for the reply! To clarify, in general the forefoot and toe area should be stiff and not too flexible. But of course the carbon plate I wear is also stiff so that usually takes care of that. The most important thing is the toe box needs to be wide. If you haven't seen bone spurs in action, basically they are like alien clusters of bone above and around your big toe, so they push and rub against the side of the shoe if it isn't wide, and squish your toes together, which with my condition feels awful.

Basically I have the same issue as Lleyton Hewitt, who had big toe fusion. They remove the joint (which does not really move anyway) and put those bones together. But it is awfully permanent and also there is a long recovery. I used to wear Asics Gel Resolution a long time ago, never tried those in wide!
owie, that doesn't sound fun. i just tried the fila axilus 2, and it's a very roomy and wide toebox, i would say slightly more so than the express. it is shorter than average, but the extra width makes it a non issue for me. the forefoot cushioning is pretty minimal, but lots of bounce in the heel. and the uppers are probably too soft and flexible for what you're looking for.
 

nvr2old

Hall of Fame
I just bought and wear Altra Torin running shoes (from Runners Warehouse). Their toe box is wide and shaped like your feet and do not narrow or constrict the toes. I too have arthritis in my toes and feet.
 

AceyMan

Professional
The most important thing is the toe box needs to be wide.
Well,

I am a shoe nerd supreme, and offhand I'd say it's better to have a pliable, "stretch to fit" kind of thing going on in the forward upper, not rigid or just wide, per se.

I was going to suggest the Wilson Rush Pro 2.5, which has a wide toe box, but its lateral support "buttresses" probably block your anomaly in exactly the wrong way.

Something like the Vapor X which had a lightly armored forefoot that will allow some adaptation in the upper material would be where I would look first.

Good luck,
/Acey

Update: tbh, a leather upper is kind of the ideal model of what I'm suggesting, which leads immediately to the NB806, widely regarded as the Best Shoe For The Human Foot On People With Broken Parts. I wear mine at least every third day on court for those sessions when I don't need tournament-level direction changes, knowing I'm giving my foot the podiatric version of a shoulder rubdown.
 
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temnik

Rookie
Hi there! I think I have a similar problem- probably not as severe as yours, and mine is from this stupid "barefoot running" fad a few years ago.

The absolute stiffest sole is Prince T22. They don't come wide, so get a half size bigger.

New Balance 806, as suggested above, is the next best thing for when T22 gets too narrow and starts hurting.
 
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