Do You Need Bunion Pads For Shoes? Here's Our Recommendation

May 26, 2021
bunion pads for shoes

Walking, jogging, using the escalator, dancing, tiptoeing, jumping—you can joyfully do these activities if you have healthy feet. However, not everyone is blessed with this convenience. There are many foot issues that can disable people, even while doing normal, everyday tasks. One such issue is bunions.

Good thing that there are also many products targeting bunion relief. If you’re one of the unfortunate ones, know that you can continue your everyday errands with ease, forgetting that you have a bunion condition. How? Through the numerous bunion relief options available.

In this article, we’ll discuss different kinds of bunion relief products and the advantages and disadvantages of each type. We will also share our recommendation for the best bunion protector for shoes that you should be using. 

Product Variations You Can Find

  1. Toe Separators


Toe separators serve as a cushion between the big toe and the other toes. These separators are usually made of a soft gel. They have holes to slip them onto the toe beside the big toe, and a barrier to keep the big toe from moving towards the other toes. 

Toe separators are easy to use. Just slip on the toe separator, and it will separate the big toe from all the other toes.


It may be easily displaced. It is not recommended if you move a lot.

  1. Toe Spacers


The difference between toe separators and toe spacers is that the toe spacers have rings for all the toes to separate them. Toe spacers are made of a specialized gel, so they are flexible enough not to strain the toe with the separation adjustment. 

If you already have bunions, developing a bunionette is likely—toe spacers ensure proper toe alignment. As a plus, removal when moving is less likely as the spacers secure all the toes. 


The main disadvantage is the inconvenience when wearing shoes. Having all your toes separated means an unnatural shape and feel to your feet, which don’t pair well with shoes. 

  1. Bunion Shield/Guards/Cushions


Toe separators and spacers keep the big toe or all toes separated by slipping the gel spacers onto the toes. Bunion shields/guards/cushions are also attached in the same way. What makes them unique is that the gel pad extends to the hole attached on the big toe. 

As a result, you’ll have the ring or barrier that separates the big toe from the rest, while also having a pad to protect the bunion from the friction from wearing socks or shoes. 


The attachment may be displaced with frequent movement. It is not the best product if you have an active lifestyle. 

  1. Bunion Splint 


You’ll see different variations of a big toe splint. Some splits cover only half of the foot, while others support the whole foot with an ankle strap. Both kinds ensure that the big toe is separated from the other toes. The bunion sides also have cushions keeping the bunion supported when in contact with the shoes, which can be extremely uncomfortable.

The splint is secured and less likely to be removed even while moving. Many products have antimicrobial characteristics that keep your feet clean and odor-free.


It will take a while to get used to an additional layer of protection aside from your socks.

  1. Bunion Pads


Bunion pads are one of the most convenient products to use. You only need to attach the gel-like pad to provide protection and cushion to your bunion. Then, you can wear your socks and shoes comfortably, and you can walk, jog, or even jump!


Some adhesives wear off quickly, especially with sweat and movement. A pad also only protects the bunion but does not help with foot realignment. 

Take note that bunion pads are not reusable. You’ll need to buy many packs to cover your frequent activities. 

  1. Bunion Sleeves


Bunion sleeves are a less intrusive way of realignment—they separate the big toe from the other toes to bring back the feet to their proper alignment. They apply less pressure because of the difference in the sleeve material used. They also have pads to shield the bunion from your shoes. 


Sleeves, especially those covering half of the foot, may slide up and be displaced while moving. Your feet may also feel warmer than usual when wearing socks and shoes. 

  1. Bunion Socks


Forget the routine of sticking on a bunion pad and wearing socks after. You can skip the hassle of slipping on your bunion sleeves and another layer of socks before you can wear your shoes. Bunion socks are already designed to address bunion protection, foot support, and toe separation. Slip them on and you can get started on your day right away!


Bunion socks are only for covered shoes. Unlike other products that provide almost invisible bunion protection allowing you to wear open shoes and sandals, you cannot achieve the same look using bunion socks. 

Our Recommendation: OrthoSleeve BR4 Bunion Pads For Shoes

OrthoSleeve BR4 bunion pads for shoes

Among all the products, we recommend testing out bunion socks as they provide a great mix of relief, reliability, and reusability. Our current favorites? These OrthoSleeve BR4 bunion cushion for shoes that look (and feel) great under a variety of shoes. 

Product Highlights

  • A built-in bunion pad for friction and pressure protection from shoes. 
  • A split-toe design that addresses alignment problems as it slowly moves the big toe further from the other toes. 
  • Different sizes for men and women to ensure a perfect fit and proper foot compression.
  • Breathable, ensuring coolness and fresh odor even with an active lifestyle or sweaty feet.
  • No need to buy a separate cushion or other bunion inserts for shoes—these socks have it all. 
  • Available in a single pack or in threes. Wash, dry, and reuse these socks for an efficient and affordable way to protect your feet.

Other Ways To Relieve Bunion Pain

Bunions are painful, especially in severe conditions. Surgery is a permanent relief to bunions, but even those who have already undergone surgery run the risk of developing bunions again. 

Don’t wait for bunions to occur before you address them. As always, prevention is the best protection. Aside from the products mentioned above, here are the other ways to prevent and relieve bunion pain.

  1. Do not wear shoes that are too tight to avoid pressure and friction. Benefits of beautiful and comfortable shoes include keeping bunions at bay.
  2. Keep away from pointy shoes that force your toes to squeeze in together. Continuous use of these kinds of shoes can cause the foot to adjust and form bunions permanently. 
  3. Eat healthy food, especially if the cause of your bunions is an underlying health condition like arthritis.
  4. Be careful with your feet when doing strenuous activities and exercises as injuries can also cause bunions. 
  5. If it is hereditary, pick the right product to prevent the worsening of the bunion, and seek medical help. 


Bunions are undeniably inconvenient. Worse, they can be extremely painful and even impede day-to-day life. To relieve the pain and attempt to correct the condition, use a bunion protector—this is especially important if you live an active lifestyle. 

Browse the different product variations you can buy and see which can best address your problems. 

Suppose you are particularly looking for bunion protection while wearing shoes. In this case, we recommend the OrthoSleeve BR4 socks because of its two-in-one function: breathable protection and bunion relief. 

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, there is no permanent solution to bunions except surgery. However, having the right product will make the pain bearable and can even make you forget that you have bunions. So don’t let this condition stop you from enjoying life, and protect your feet today!

The go-to guide of sewing professionals and enthusiasts
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscription Form
Be first to know about specials!
Join our mailing list.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram