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Toe Spring | What is it and why is it helpful?

What is Toe Spring?Toe Spring

Toe spring is the term used to describe a shoe or foot insert that enables rolling off the forefoot. Let me create the visual – think clog, men’s wingtip shoes or MBT Shoes. Each of these are examples of what is also called a forefoot rocker (aka toe spring.)

Toe Spring – is there a spring hidden in there?

The origin of the term toe spring is obscure, but if you consider the different types of gait, toe spring makes sense. Walking can actually be described as a controlled forward fall. The calf muscle is used to decelerate the forward motion of the body (your center of gravity) over the foot. Bear in mind that walking isn’t really propulsive. Running, on the other hand, is propulsive. Propulsion comes from the force generated by the calf which is delivered to the forefoot. In both cases, walking (non-propulsive) and running (propulsive) force is concentrated at the forefoot just prior to the heel-off stage of gait. Toe spring helps to decrease that force.  Toe spring decreases force to the forefoot by enabling a rocking motion as force loads at the forefoot.

So is there a spring? Not really, but a toe spring does put a bit of spring in your step.

What are the advantages of toe spring?

Toe spring, whether created by a specific shoe design or by and insert affects gait by:

  • Decreasing force at the ball-of-the-foot
  • Weakening the mechanical force generated by the calf and Achilles tendon
  • Decreasing the energy necessary to walk or run

What foot conditions can be improved by toe spring?

Foot conditions that respond to the use of toe spring include:

As you can see, the list of conditions affected by the use of toe spring is extensive. One of the easiest ways to start using toe spring is with the use of a Carbon Graphite Spring Plate. Why is it called a spring plate?  You got it – due to the toe spring. Carbon Graphite Spring Plates are extremely light and thin. They fit into most shoes and are easy to use for both day-to-day use and sports.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM

Medical Advisor

Updated 3/15/2021

Leave your comment
11/26/2018 11:24 PM
I'm trying to treat painful hallux limitus.  I've read that some shoes have toe spring.  Do I need to buy a new pair of these shoes like a pair of Hoka One One or do I get the spring plate?  What are the pros and cons?
Thank you.
11/26/2018 11:57 PM

Toe spring can be created in a number of different ways.  Our Carbon Fiber Spring Plate and Contour Plates are a great way to use your existing shoes to stiffen the shoe and create toe spring.  Think of toe spring as that roll-off in the forefoot when you heel leaves the ground.

Some shoes already come with toe spring.  Do you remember your dad's wingtip shoes?  They barely bent at the ball-of-the-foot but were easy to walk in.  Another good example is a clog.  Dansko clogs, as example, have a great toe spring.  So placing a carbon fiber spring plate into the wingtip or clog would really e redundant.

Hope this helps.

Jeffrey Oster, DPM
Medical Director