Is it normal to smash your toes on hard stops?

aminadream

Rookie
Just wondering if it's an inevitable part of the sport or if there's some secret I'm missing.

Whenever I decelerate abruptly (especially when running for a drop shot and stopping just short of the net), my feet slide in my shoes and I crash my toes into the front of my shoes. I've tried different socks, insoles, shoes, and lacing techniques. Is this just a normal part of the sport or am I using the wrong equipment?
 

kimguroo

Legend
Shoes is too big.
If you don’t have problem with narrow width, just wear two socks then the problem will be solved and probably your foot will be more comfy ^_^
 
I didn't experiment enough, but I actually went to a slightly bigger shoe and now make sure I tie them tightly. That keeps my foot snugly in place. Mind you I'm 47 years old and a 3.5-ish player. The speed/power might not be there anymore to cause me any concern. I did have a smaller and different brand shoe and my toe next to my big one started to bleed under the nail. Switching from Wilson to Nike and maybe sizing up 0.5 seems to have solved my issues.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
I've been blackening my toenails for years. It's shoes that are too short. Just go up a half size and make sure that you get shoes of the appropriate width so your feet don't slide around. Hard to predict. There are some shoes that have more of a reputation for that happening than others, but I'm convinced it is a sizing thing.
 

woodje12

Rookie
Weird that this thread has produced diametrically opposed responses but I've had this problem and have largely solved it by going up a half size. So put me in that go bigger camp.

I also agree that some shoes seem more prone to toe jamming than others no matter the size (Adidas Barricades for instance).

Finally I've also had moderate success with the shoelace lock method. Look up "lace lock" or "heel lock" if this link doesn't work correctly:
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
All of the above mentioned are good advice.

I will mention sock type, a more synthetic one will slide more than a natural one.

Also tongue pads can be very useful for holding you back in your shoe, I use them in my running shoes.

J
 

mmk

Hall of Fame
I've had the problem with Barricades and Rush Pros, haven't had the problem with Asics GRs, SSs, or Filas. A lot depends on how your foot fits within a given shoe.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
I've had the problem with Barricades and Rush Pros, haven't had the problem with Asics GRs, SSs, or Filas. A lot depends on how your foot fits within a given shoe.
It’s also possible they just need to laces tighter.
 

aminadream

Rookie
Yep, Barricades are an outright no-go. Way too wide for my foot. I'm playing with Asics Speeds with a Sof Sole arch support (for support and to take up some extra space) and that seems to be a decent combo. I haven't gone up a half-size partly because I've heard contradicting reviews on that (can make it worse for some people) and I feel like I have plenty of room in front of my toes already (about half an inch).

I tried a new lacing technique today that's similar to the lock above, and it helped. One issue I have is that if I do up my shoes too tight (especially in some spots in the lacing), the toes on my right foot start to go numb. So this new technique allows me to cinch the ankle side tightly while keeping the toe end looser. So far so good.

I will look into tongue pads as well. Never knew that was a thing!

Thanks!
 

topspn

Hall of Fame
A pair of K-swiss was always jamming my toes and it was the correct size. All my asics and yonex shoes have never been a problem.
 

TagUrIt

Professional
I agree with a lot of what’s been said and it sounds like a bad fit. This. The brand might not be the one for you. Nike shoes tend to run on narrow side, I would give them a go. Just make sure you get a proper fit and wear good socks. They’re extremely expensive, but Nike also makes grip socks.
 

woodje12

Rookie
Shoe laces should be very tight. Your foot will not slip if tighten correctly.
I wish it were that simple. I have had toe jamming even when my foot tingled because it was not getting enough blood flow due to tight laces. I also have a callous-like thickening of the skin on the top of my foot/under the shoe tongue and still had jamming.
 

aminadream

Rookie
@woodje12 you may be interested in the technique I used today. I tied knots preventing the tightening of laces toward the toe. That way, I can tighten the top 2/3 of the laces all I want, without restricting blood flow to my little piggies. Of course, you can play with the positioning of the knots to suit your biology. For me, the knots work best when under the 3rd hole from the bottom, but I'm still experimenting.

 

mmk

Hall of Fame
@woodje12 you may be interested in the technique I used today. I tied knots preventing the tightening of laces toward the toe. That way, I can tighten the top 2/3 of the laces all I want, without restricting blood flow to my little piggies. Of course, you can play with the positioning of the knots to suit your biology. For me, the knots work best when under the 3rd hole from the bottom, but I'm still experimenting.

Around 35-40 years ago Kaepa made a tennis shoe with two laces per shoe which accomplished something similar. IIRC, the forefoot was a separate piece of leather (back when tennis shoes were leather), and they marketed these as "articulated" shoes. Looks like they still make them, but I wouldn't play in leather anymore:

http://kaepadoublelaces.com/womensdoublelacedshoe-1-1-2-1.aspx
 

mctennis

Hall of Fame
Sounds like a bad fit or some actual design flaw. Usually it is an ill fitting shoe size or not the correct width.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Smashing your toes is a real pain(!), blackens nails, can deliver white lightning pain.

Cinch the shoelaces on the low/first eyelets.

I have a narrow slim forefoot through to a rising strong upper foot. I really pull in the laces lower down, work on really tightening, and lacing in the foot eyelet by eyelet.
 

bigserving

Hall of Fame
I have narrow feet and I like to serve and volley so my feet slide forward when I split step. There is some good advice above. Padding under the tongue works pretty good for me.

I subconsciously hit the backs of my shoes like a clay court player in order slide my shoes back into place between points.
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
Some shoes just don’t feel right. For my wide and flat feet, the Wilson and New Balance shoes gave me the most foot pains and least overall support. I feel the best wearing the Asics GR7 and was surprised at how comfortable the Babolat SFX3 was.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Play on clay.

But otherwise it can be a shoe specific issue. Some just allow sliding.

I’d add my piece of advice, consider birko sport insoles. They have a heel cup and arch support for both the longitudinal and transverse arches of the sole. They really help keep the foot stabilized in the shoe and less likely to slide around.
 

Fanman

Rookie
Just wondering if it's an inevitable part of the sport or if there's some secret I'm missing.

Whenever I decelerate abruptly (especially when running for a drop shot and stopping just short of the net), my feet slide in my shoes and I crash my toes into the front of my shoes. I've tried different socks, insoles, shoes, and lacing techniques. Is this just a normal part of the sport or am I using the wrong equipment?
Yes, there is a term for it, it's called "toe jam." Usually means that the shoe that you are wearing isn't a great fit for particular foot type. If you foot is narrow or if the toe box is too wide, or heel slippage, etc. Perhaps go to a good tennis shoe store & have them take a look at your foot & make a good recommendation.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
i had this problem continuously w the vapor 9.5s. black big toenails, really sucked. when the X came out i went up a half size. problem all but disappeared. your mileage may vary, as they say.

(i also started tip toeing around the court like a little betch)
 

gusgrand

Rookie
It is if your tennis shoes are the same size as your daily beaters, they should be 1/2 size bigger than your non-tennis shoes.
 

jim e

Legend
It is if your tennis shoes are the same size as your daily beaters, they should be 1/2 size bigger than your non-tennis shoes.
That depends on the manufacturer as some shoes run a slight difference. My tennis shoes size is same as all my other shoes and no issues.
 
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