Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Spreadable Toes

I have a unique madskill, one that set me apart years ago when I was in yoga teacher training: I have really spready toes. As one of the few non-former-dancers in my YTT class, I was inflexible, weak and completely outside of my comfort zone much of the time, but when it came to spreading my toes, I was the Rock Star! (it was such a relief to be good at something!!)

So I suppose it's a bit silly that I have such an avid interest in toe spreaders, given that I really don't *need* them. Why do I like toe spreaders? Because my feet like toe spreaders! They just feel good to me. I know that for people who don't have spready toes, toe spreaders can feel excruciating, but for me, it's like a light workout for my feet.

Of course, the leader of the pack in the toe-spreader world is YogaToes. I've seen them advertised in yoga magazines, but I can't seem to find them up here in Canuckistan. So I've never tried them.

A few years ago, I ran across a product called HealthyToes at the annual yoga conference and picked them up at a discount (I think they were normally $30). They are a light green colour, came in a mesh bag and they're HUGE. These are my toe spreaders of choice for lounging in the bathtub. Even my excessively spready toes are 'challenged' by the HealthyToes. The only downside is you really can't wear them 'around' because they're so chunky. And they're hard to slide over your toes without getting them wet first.

A friend recommended Joy-a-toes, so I picked some up. The only size available was 'small'. In terms of mobility, they're great - you can walk around in them, you can even do yoga in them (I have and they definitely provide a different experience of the feet - I liked it). But my excessively spready toes were unimpressed - I would have done better with a large. I understand they're now available in that size, but I'm not planning to pony up another $35. The Joy-a-toes are now my toe spreaders of choice for painting my toenails...lol!

Recently, a company offered a sample of a product called TheraPed. I get these emails all the time here at the blog. Most of the products aren't interesting to me, so I push the delete button. But this one gave me a pause...hm, toe spreaders! I asked them to send some along. These toes spreaders normally retail for $20 per set (or you can buy just one for $10).

The TheraPeds look like funky toe spreader footwear (there's a strap that goes around the ankle), but you can't walk around in them because they contain gel pack that can either be heated or cooled (presumably, walking around would pop the gel packs).

From a strictly 'toe spreader' perspective, my feet were not terribly impressed - these toe spreaders are very moderate in size. For someone who isn't used to spreading her toes (and I say 'her' because these are most definitely made for the 'ladies'), they might feel fine.

Of course, there's the thermal feature. Cooling the TheraPeds was a no-brainer - I threw them in the freezer for a couple hours. And yes, they were COLD. Yowza! In the middle of winter, this isn't fun, but if you have tired feet or your feet are hot, I guess this would definitely cool them down!

I was more interested in the possibility of *heating* the TheraPeds, but I encountered an obstacle: heating requires a microwave oven and I haven't owned one in years.

Nothing, and I mean *nothing* says 'I have the Crazy!!!' like knocking on your neighbour's door at three in the afternoon and asking if you can zap your toe spreaders in her microwave. It only took about 10 seconds and the toe spreaders were indeed very warm. I really liked this feature, since my feet are *always* cold. They cooled fast though. You can reheat them, but without access to a microwave, this wasn't practical for me (I didn't want my neighbour to ask for a restraining order).

So I guess the jury is still out, though I've certainly played the field! I feel a bit like Goldilocks - these are too small, these are too big...

Have you ever used toe spreaders? Have you practised yoga in them? (I'm looking at you, active-feet-Forrest-yoga-people!). Have toe spreaders helped heal your feet or prevented bunions? Am I the only Crazypants out there who is obsessed with spreading her toes? ;-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

sereneflavor said...

I cannot believe I am going to share this, but knocking on your neighbor's door to borrow the nuker to warm stuff for your FEET cinched it!

SO you know how sweat pools on the floor of a mysore room, right? My old shala had carpet which you would think was unsanitary but it was very clean and I never had a foot problem there. We move to the new shala with beautiful new hardwood floors, and without carpet to "absorb" moisture, you end up stepping into puddles. Here starts my viacrucis with athletes foot, where I successfully treat with mix of loopy formulas that work, but for flare ups I keep a pair of toe spreaders in the freezer to cool my toes down. How's that for TMI?