The 7 Best Products for Bunion Support of 2021

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Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Bunions, which involve the swelling of the first joint of the big toe, can cause severe pain for anyone, specifically when attempting to be active or wear specific shoes. This joint is typically formed through genetics. But other factors can also further exacerbate the situation. “Tight shoes, especially shoes with a narrow toe box, can help promote the development of bunions and aggravate bunion symptoms,” Suzanne Levine, M.D., a podiatrist with Millenium Podiatry in New York City, tells Verywell Health.  

To avoid worsening the development of your bunions, Dr. Levine recommends wearing “proper fitting shoes with a wider toe box.” These shoes have the ability to stall the worsening of symptoms, but they won’t completely reverse the bunions that have already formed. Bunion supports that will separate the toes, provide a cushion for the joint, and give arch support can assist in pain relief, but they won’t completely fix the problem. 

When dealing with foot pain, it’s recommended to consult with a podiatrist about your available options. Surgery, for example, is one route to reverse an existing bunion. But other products can also assist with addressing pain or preventing the bunions from growing further aggravated. 

Here are the best products for bunion support on the market today.

Our Top Picks
Works to ease pain as well as provide proper toe alignment.
Can improve toe alignment and keep bunions from coming back.
Can help by aligning toes, preventing friction, and relieving pressure.
Protects bunions from rubbing up against the side of your shoes.
This kit is an economical way to test out different types of cushions.
These help to minimize friction and reduce discomfort from overlapping toes.
They provide good arch support and full-length comfort.

Best Gel Bunion Guard: NatraCure Gel Big Toe Bunion Guard With Toe Spreader

NatraCure Gel Big Toe Bunion Guard & Toe Spreader
  • Reusable

  • Comfortable

  • Easy to clean

  • Takes time for product to work

  • Can cause skin irritation

This two-in-one product from NatraCure works to ease pain as well as provide proper toe alignment, making it a popular and effective choice for bunion relief and support. The stretchy gel guard provides cushioning, shock absorption, and protection from friction on the outside, while the toe separator prevents overlapping toes. You can simultaneously pamper your feet, as the gel slowly releases medical-grade mineral oil, vitamin E, and aloe vera. Comfortable and reusable, this bunion guard easily fits inside most shoes and can be worn all-day.

Type: Big toe guard/toe spreader | Arch Support Level: None

Best Insoles: Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer Insole

  • Reusable

  • Durable

  • Comfortable

  • Stiff

  • Have to shape to foot

People with flat feet are sometimes more prone to bunions, so wearing a supportive insert like this one from Spenco can improve toe alignment and help prevent bunions from coming back. They also offer an additional layer of comfort and stability to prevent shoes from aggravating your bunions. The friction-reducing fabric has anti-microbial properties to keep your feet cool, blister-free, and fresh-smelling.

Type: Insole | Arch Support Level: High

What the Experts Say

"Bunions are mostly a familial problem. If your mother (and probably less likely) or your father had a bunion(s), you are more likely to develop a bunion(s).” —Dr. Suzanne Levine, a podiatrist with Millenium Podiatry in New York City

Best Toe Spreader: ZenToes Gel Toe Separators

Toe spreader
  • Washable

  • Reusable

  • Durable

  • Hard to use with narrow shoes

  • Trouble aligning toes

Made from soft, cushioning gel, ZenToes Gel Toe Separators can help with bunion prevention and pain relief by aligning toes, preventing friction, and relieving pressure. The anatomically-shaped separator fits comfortably between your first two toes, straightening your big toe and preventing the two from overlapping. Just slip the ring over your second toe and position the gel pad against your big toe. The flexible ring conforms to your toes, so you can comfortably wear shoes, walk, or stand without pain. Made of a latex-free, medical-grade gel, the rings are washable, reusable, and allergy-friendly.

Type: Toe spreader | Arch Support Level: None

Best Sleeve: Flyen Bunion Corrector & Bunion Relief Protector Sleeves Kit

  • Quick relief

  • All-in-one kit

  • Pliable

  • Lacks durability

  • Size does not fit all

Similar to bunion guards, these bunion sleeves sit right against the big toe joint, protecting bunions from rubbing up against the side of your shoes. Crafted with a gel pad, it cushions the metatarsal head (ball-of-foot) to help with shock absorption and to redistribute pressure from the impact of walking or running. You can also use the sleeve to keep toe spacers, which are included in the kit, in place.

Type: Big toe sleeve | Arch Support Level: Moderate

Best Bunion Relief Kit: Dr. Frederick's Original Bunion Corrector Kit

Dr. Frederick's Original 14 Piece Bunion Corrector Kit
  • Ideal for active people

  • Variety of choices

  • Comfortable

  • Lacks durability

  • Hard to use with narrow shoes

You’ll be able to put your best foot forward thanks to Dr. Frederick’s Original Bunion Corrector Kit. It comes with a set of 14 toe spacers, all designed to give you relief from bunions so you can walk, run, and hike pain-free. Made from super soft, flexible gel, the spacers provide light pressure and separate the first two toes to promote gentle realignment of the big toe. You can choose from five different types of spacers in the kit, all intended for various functions. Some should be worn with shoes, while others are intended for different levels of activity and can be used with or without shoes. Ideal for active people, this kit is an economical way to test out different types of cushions if you’re not sure what will work for you.

Type: Toe spreaders | Arch Support Level: None

Best Socks: Sockwell Women's Sport Ease Bunion Relief Socks

  • Great for sleeping

  • Keeps toes separated

  • Comfortable

  • Lacks gel spacer between toes

  • Thick material

If you’d prefer to not wear spacers or pads, especially at night, SockWell Bunion Relief socks are a smart alternative. With a unique split-toe design, they can help soothe bunions by relieving shoe pressure, promoting circulation, and gently encouraging natural alignment. The socks separate the first and second toes in a cushioned toe pocket, which helps to minimize friction and reduce discomfort from overlapping toes. Additionally, the sock’s arch support offers exceptional comfort, while the seamless toe closure helps with blister protection. Made of a durable blend of Merino wool, bamboo rayon, nylon, and Spandex, these socks provide natural moisture management and odor control, keeping your feet fresh and cool.

Type: Sock | Arch Support Level: None

Best Orthotic: Powerstep Original Arch Support Insoles

Powerstep Orignal Orthotic insoles
  • Arch support

  • Provides pain relief

  • Molds to foot

  • Must break in

  • Hard material

Lack of support or instability in the arch area can lead to bunions, so you might need some extra reinforcement to correct your gait and take the stress off your toe joint. While some people require custom-made orthotics, others may be able to use over-the-counter options, like these insoles from PowerStep. With a low profile and dual-layer cushioning, they fit in most casual, dress, and athletic shoes to provide good arch support and full-length comfort.

Type: Insole | Arch Support Level: High

What the Experts Say

If you have or are developing a bunion, see your podiatrist. Proper fitting shoes, with a wider toe box can help forestall the worsening of but cannot reverse bunions.” —Dr .Suzanne Levine, a podiatrist with Millenium Podiatry in New York City

Final Verdict

If you're suffering from moderate bunion pain, an over-the-counter option like Natracure Gel Big Toe Bunion Guards (view at Amazon) offer support and stability, while helping to reposition the toes over time. If you have flat feet (which are a leading cause of bunions), Spenco Polysorb Insoles (view at Amazon) will support your entire foot while providing protection to your big toe. They fit into most shoes, so you can still wear your favorite kicks while getting extra pain relief.

What to Look for in Bunion Support Products

Toe Separators

Bunions force the big toe towards the second toe, so products that help separate the two can work to realign the big toe. Look for toe separators made of gel or other soft, flexible materials to prevent discomfort during use.

Bunion Protection

Trauma to the foot can worsen bunions and further their formation. Insoles and socks with padding around the toe can help cushion the foot from any accidental injuries that could exacerbate bunion pain.

Arch Support

Flat feet are a common cause of bunions, so products that provide arch support can help reduce the reoccurrence of bunions. Insoles, socks, and shoes with arch support are easy ways to care for your feet while you go about your day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you wear bunion supports after surgery?

    Bunion supports are recommended by podiatrists following surgery. “I advise most of my post-bunionectomy patients to wear a custom-made orthotic after they start wearing their regular shoes and sneakers,” Dr. Levine says, adding: “This is especially the case if the patient overpronates when walking.” Splints, which are available over-the-counter, are another option recommended for patients following surgery to assist them after the bandages have been removed. Consulting with your podiatrist can help guide you on the type of bunion support that will work best for your feet.

  • How often should you wear bunion supports?

    Dr. Levine says that bunion supports used specifically after surgery should only be worn for a few weeks before stopping. But if you’re using bunion supports prior to receiving surgery, or because you’re not considering surgery, then the timeline differs. These products can be worn whenever needed to help forestall the development of worse symptoms or provide pain relief. Bunion supports, depending on the user, can further exacerbate the symptoms instead of helping the joint. If the product is causing abrasions, increased pain, or ulcers, then cease using the bunion support and consult with your podiatrist about other options available.

What the Experts Say

“Surgery is not the primary treatment for bunions, but it is required to correct bunions that have significant deformity and persist pain that cannot be relieved by nonsurgical treatment.” —Dr. Suzanne Levine, a podiatrist with Millenium Podiatry in New York City

Why Trust Verywell Health?

Certified running coach and marathon runner Christine Luff has spent years researching and recommending over-the-counter foot health products for runners. She sticks to brands that are recommended by organizations such as the APMA and tells her trainees to seek advice from their podiatrist or other healthcare professional.

Additional reporting to this story by Danielle Zoellner

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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