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Canyon Toe????

westminster, ca
10 posts
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Canyon Toe????

Does anybody know: What exactly is canyon toe? And how do you get it?


Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
334 posts
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1. Re: Canyon Toe????

loss of toe nails (or near loss) from prolonged downhill hiking.

Aubrey, Texas
Level Contributor
10,527 posts
198 reviews
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2. Re: Canyon Toe????

It is the result of ill-fitting footwear that allows the toes to jam into the front of the shoe/boot when hiking downhill. After repeated contact, the toes get injured and can feel very painful.

It is avoided by wearing a quality hiking boot that (a) has plenty of room in the toe and (b) can be laced securely and comfortably into place so that the foot does not move forward on a downhill step.

You may have to try several pair of boots to find what works for your feet. Buy from a store that allows returns and has an incline area or device that lets you try the boots out on the spot. Take them home and wear them around for awhile. Take them back if they don't feel right and keep looking. It can be a bit of a chore, but it's worth it. Wearing the right boot is almost as important as proper fluid intake when you're canyon hiking.

South Jersey, USA
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
11,049 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Canyon Toe????

Canyon toe??? Ow, ow, ow!!!! Anyone who has had it (myself included) can tell you how painful it is!!! I knew I was in trouble the first day of our hike!! I take the blame for it all. I had a wonderful pair of Montrails but I had an orthotic made after I had my boots for a while. Big mistake!!! I had a toe on each foot with canyon toe. I now need another pair of boots.

It is very important to make sure your boots fit and fit properly. If you have any kind of....different foot, take your time and really try on and walk around in the store with all kinds of boots. It may take you weeks or months to find that perfect pair. I have a very narrow foot so it was extremley difficult finding a boot that my heel didn't more around in. Now I have to start the whole process over again.

Oh, but was it worth it?? You bet!! Toe nails grow back!!!