My Sexy Toes: A Discovery


Y’all, I’m a shoe-judger.  Yes, when you walk by on the street, I’m looking at your shoes and making all sorts of assumptions about you.  Or maybe not so much assumptions, but I’m creating an imaginary life for you.  It’s a fun game.  Your Puma ballet sneakers indicate you have two kids (Pete and Sally), a goldendoodle (Lionel), and wear drug store brand makeup to your job as a technical analyst for a software engineering firm.  Your Dansko clogs mean you were on the fast track to becoming the prima ballerina of a dance company until an ankle injury cruelly stole your dreams from beneath you. (And yes, just because Dansko sounds like dance you became a ballet dancer… I never said I was scientific about this.)  Your Kate Spade heels with the glitter and the bow? Damn you.  You must be partaking in those romantic picnics in the park with your Hugh Jackman look-alike boyfriend.  He probably feeds you grapes before you jet off to the latest Broadway performance. Damn you.  Can I be your friend?  And the men!  Your frayed sandals tell me you’re trying to relive your glory days at the frat house pool, but you’re probably just heading to the soccer field to watch your daughter run around with the cluster of other 5 yr. olds.

There’s a clear reason for this.  My wee self was restricted in my shoe selection for quite some time and when I was free of those high-topped shackles, I embraced the heeled and flip-flopped and booted freedom of which I’d so long been denied!  It meant something to get to choose the shoes of which I would wear to face the challenges of the day.  Those L.A. Gear Lights with their light-up heels were all fine and dandy, but the day I got to wear my black heels with the silver buckle?  I’ll never forget it.

There’s a point to all this, I swear.  To this day, my shoes are chosen carefully.  They might not always be the most stylish things, but they mean something to me that day.  The power suit for work is only the power suit if it’s paired with my power heels.  Those ruby pumps transform the way I march into work, ready to battle over contract language.

Or at least they did.  Still do, really.

But just this last week, I had to bring in a whole new factor into my work shoe selection:  toe cleavage.  Someone commented on said fabulous ruby heels, and noted they were lovely, but they would be wary of those particular heels because they didn’t like to be overly provocative with their toe cleavage.  Um.  What?  Have I been living under a rock?  How the hell have we sexified this?  Maybe this shouldn’t surprise me.  There is the fact that we call it cleavage.  But it’s of the toes.  WTF?  And y’all, I know there are foot fetishists out there, and to each their own, but when did that start precluding women from wearing a low vamp?  Since when have my toe apices been lumped into the same category as high hemlines and plunging blouses?

Furthermore.  If cleavage of the toes is analagous to breast cleavage, what message are we sending when we wear flip flops.  Is it the equivalent of walking topless down the street?  Are painted toes the counterpart to, you know… grooming?  Does a natural toe mean other things?!  Dear God, what message have I been sending to my online dates when we first meet?

I’d go on, but it’s time I put on those daring and risqué pumps and be out the door.  Do let me know… have you been aware of your sexy toe cleavage?


45 thoughts on “My Sexy Toes: A Discovery

  1. So, I work in the stodgiest of stodgy cities, and I’ve found that toe cleavage routinely scandalizes anyone over the age of 50. There seems to be a serious generation gap with this; I’ve seen older women imply that the knee-length, boxy skirts worn by younger women are somehow horribly short, when these are all things that would’ve passed muster at my Catholic school (of all places). The same goes for toe cleavage: a pedicured toe peeking out from within a fierce shoe screams baddass femininity, and for the older set, there’s something inherently scandalous about this.

    I then bring up that this is exactly the sort of idea — oh, toes, the sexy outrage! — that has been used to justify putting women in burqas, and that shuts people up right quick.

  2. I heard the term “toe cleavage” years ago, watching a fashion-themed television show with my mother. Unfortunately I can’t remember who said it, but I remember my mom and I looking at each other with big “WTF” faces after we heard it. We both agreed that the term was ridiculously stupid, and that the whole concept wasn’t really that attractive looking anyway. I thought perhaps the term had died a slow, quiet death, while she and I were both ignoring it… but it seems I was mistaken. It seems that it’s also become “provocative” somehow, which is just all kinds of crazy to me.

    Maybe it’s one of those things that certain people find shocking, (Like the kind of people who won’t watch Star Wars because it has the word “war” in it, or people who don’t read comic books for fear of The Devil getting into their brain) but to someone who has seen frequent blood, guts and nudity in her life it doesn’t even become a blip on the radar. As such, it doesn’t seem very noteworthy to me; whereas someone else might feel a bit faint at the thought. *shrug*

    It is kind of fascinating, though–I feel like I’m watching the birth of the sexualization and objectification of a new thing. Is this what happened when plunging necklines were slowly introduced? Shorter skirts? Is this what it was like BEFORE showing your midriff or showing your bare back was commonly sexualized? My inner anthropologist just squeals at the opportunities for study. And, also, it has the potential to be a perfect example of how culture shapes what we find sexually appealing–and that it’s not always down to biology.

    • I’m agreed with you on all points. If toe cleavage produces this kind of reaction, I can’t even imagine going through the first wave of short skirts. Ridiculous, right? What’s next?

    • I don’t think I’ve ever noticed it on anyone ever. And I guess I don’t think it looks odd. We’re talking mere millimeters showing! Now if my hairy sasquatch toe were sticking out, then I get it… 😉

  3. Man, I try to keep it classy up top with my lack of showing much (if any) cleavage, only to find out that I’m foot whore. Dang it. I can’t win.

    I’m pretty sure my monkey toes aren’t sexy though. Does this mean I can go barefoot?

    • You know… how *do* they feel about peep toes if they’re concerned about cleavage? Surely they must consider the peep toe a sign of unscrupulous character.

    • I’m so glad I’d set my glass of milk down before I read this. HA! Drew, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it described in *quite* that fashion.

  4. I didn’t realise toe cleavage was a real term – I thought I’d made it up myself. Oh cruel fate, to make one believe one is original and then snatch that away!

    I stopped wearing heels that show toe cleavage because I don’t feel like my feet are securely in – I use it as an indicator that I might not feel safe in a pair of shoes, but would never have thought it was something anyone else would look at and judge. Like there wasn’t enough in life to be paranoid about already!

    • Making me laugh over here! “Oh cruet fate..” ha! Did you have a fall or anything with a low-vamped shoe? My coworker had a fall in a pair of platform heels (very slim platform, but one nonetheless) and so she won’t wear a platform at all. Same concept for you?

      • No, I just don’t like wearing anything I wouldn’t feel secure to run for a train in. I love running for trains in heels, especially in rush hour, with terrified business-men scattering at the sound of me clattering down the platform towards them. It’s especially empowering if there’s a man running for the train as well and you can outsprint him. I digress though – in short I just don’t like to risk shoes that would fall off if I run, and I see toe cleavage as a sign that my shoes are insecure.

  5. Oh dear, there’s a toe cleavage blog dedicated to the under appreciated cleavage of the toe.

    Personally, toe cleavage makes me believe that the person’s toes are too long, and that they are in fact hiding monkey feet. Alternatively, that shoes are too small and toe corns abound.

    Apparently, the cleavage of only the two toes is de rigeur, and part of the Voguette’s fashion staple. I wonder if there will be a movement towards having plumper toes, so ‘cleavage’ is fuller.

    The raciness of toe cleavage, or lack thereof, really belongs under the twitter hashtag of #firstworldproblems

    • This is making me laugh on a Monday morning – thank you! Someone did say something about alien toes… so maybe the monkey/alien toes is a thin! But I think I have dainty toes and yet I still have the cleavage. 😉 Disturbing that someone dedicated an entire blog to the concept. Maybe I shouldn’t judge, but shouldn’t people have better things to do with their time? 🙂

  6. I didn’t realise that people had a weirdness about toe cleavage too until my brothers girlfriend commented. Now I have a weird thing with my feet as it is (I don’t like people looking at my feet – it freaks me out) but then this added to noticeable toe cleavage!? Mind blown

    • Oh Crocs…! That’s a significant win! Crocs men are notoriously hard to convert. Cheers to you for doing away with that habit of his!

  7. I bet your feet are totally fine! But I know a lot of people who are concerned on that front. I used to be foot-weird until I had a boyfriend who liked giving me foot massages. I quickly got over my foot phobia in exchange for a great massage after a long day in heels! 😀 But yah… now you’ll never be able to try on a pair of pumps without thinking about this! I should probably apologize to you and the blog world for bringing this to your attention.

  8. I would imagine the problem is that the cleavage of the toe is reminiscent to that of the chest area. However, then we really shouldn’t be allowed to eat hotdogs for lunch either. Oh the horror! Phallic lunches and toe cleavage!!
    Quite honestly, I feel that pantyhose paired with open-toe shoes are a much more displeasing offense.

    • Yes, where are the pantyhose police? People should be noticing that waaaay more often than toe cleavage. The next time I eat a hot dog I’m sure your comment will pop into my head at the most inopportune time!

  9. I have exceptionally long toes, I feel. And yes, I’ve been aware of my toe cleavage for years. I don’t mind it when other people have shoes that show a portion of their toe, but personally, it goes against my OCD. Now I use those little slipper socks to help create that perfect rainbow across my toes (did I mention my OCD?) which is great.

    I wear flip flops and peep toes because that is how the shoe is *supposed* to look. So, I think for me it is more about how it is *supposed* to be in my head rather than some provocative thing I think people are doing with their toes, because to each their own.

    Also, I think I’m just particularly embarrassed by my feet because I inherited rather bad bunions and so shoes don’t fit me like other people and to add the toe cleavage makes me feel worse about them. So I definitely refrain from buying some shoes if they show off the bottom part of my toe.

  10. While I may not gain any points with those who judge based on shoes, I find that a nice combat boot serves me nicely. Of course, *I* know that my toes are completely, totally, deliciously (and scandalously?) naked under those boots and the kevlar socks within!

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