According to popular wisdom, your toe length says a lot about you. A quick search of the web will reveal plenty of blog articles about toe length and heritage, toe length and intelligence, and even toe length personality quizzes.
So what’s the real truth about toes?
Does a longer second toe mean you’re dependable? Do long toes mean you’re a quick thinker? Are webbed feet a sign that you’re a party animal?
You’re about to find out! We’re about to mythbust some of the most common perceptions about what your toe length reveals about you!
Myth #1: Your Toe Length Is Indicative of Your Personality
Mostly false. While author Jane Sheehan of Let’s Read Our Feet insists that toe-length is one way to tell a lot about personality, science generally fails to back this perspective. Sheehan says, “It’s all about analysing the structure and texture and imbalances of the feet to understand someone’s emotions and personality.” There may be some truth to the idea that emotions and personality can impact a person’s posture and gait–but the actual length of your toes are determined before birth!
Myth #2: Toe Length Reveals a Person’s Heritage
Mostly false. There’s still some debate as to whether toes that descend perfectly in height are indicative of Egyptian heritage–or whether a tall second toe means you have Greek ancestry. But generally, this notion has been disproven by what we know about genetics. Several studies have shown that toe length is determined by both recessive and dominant genes, the influence of other genes, and environment.
Think of it this way: The combination of dominant and recessive genes play out in much the same way that eye color and hair color do! Relating toe length to ancestry would be like insisting that everyone with brown hair is of American Indian heritage. While that’s true of some people with brown hair, it isn’t true of many others! Toe length is a result of a complicated dance of alleles, genetics, and environment.
Myth #3: Toe Length Correlates with the Length of … Other Body Parts
False! Canadian researchers Jerald Bain and Kerry Siminoski won an IgNoble prize in 1998 for a study of 63 men that proved toe length is simply indicative of, well, toe length.
All in all, the truth about toe length is this: toe length is genetic! And toes come in all shapes and sizes. However, that’s not to say toes aren’t important. Why? Here’s some facts!
Fact #1: Toe Length Can Influence Your Gait
If you have longer than average toes, are missing a toe, or have shorter than average toes, your gait will likely show it to some degree. Diabetes patients who must have one or several toes amputated for the sake of their health are often concerned about their ability to regain a full range of motion while walking or running. However, no matter your toe length, doctors agree that toes aren’t technically required at all for walking or running.
Fact #2: Your Toe Length Should Be Considered When Buying Shoes
Keep your toes in mind when you buy new shoes. Forcing your toes to the front of your shoe if they’re too small, or smushing them downward with high heels that don’t fit well is a recipe for hammer toes, unbalanced gait, and bad posture. Give your toes the room they need, and your feet will thank you for it!
Whether your toes are long, short, or a mix of the two, they’re all yours! Take pride in those toes, and treat them to a pedicure. And don’t forget to take good care of the feet they’re attached to with properly fitting footwear and support for your arches!