Is Toe Cleavage Sexy or Tacky? Here’s the Honest Truth (updated for 2021)

Let’s talk about toe cleavage. Is it sexy? Is it tacky? Is it work-appropriate? 

Well, people tend to fall into either one of two camps: they think it is is super offensive and gross, or crazy-sexy. Yes, sexy. 

What is Toe Cleavage? 

Toe cleavage is exactly what it sounds like: cleavage seen through your shoes, from your toes! 

It looks like this:

white cami and jeans and Christian Louboutin Pigalle heels with toe cleavage
Top | Jeans | Shoes with toe cleavage

Like breast cleavage, it’s a “peek-a-boo” effect that you’re not technically supposed to see. 

Toe cleavage results from wearing shoes with a tight toe box—the front part of your shoe. It’s really common in closed-toe, pointy toe heels as they narrow toward the end. 

Some shoes have narrower toe boxes than others, and some people have wider feet than others, so you may not ever have toe cleavage. Or, depending on the shoes you buy, you might get it all the time! 

In fact, famous French shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, is known for creating narrow toe boxes as he finds toe cleavage incredibly sexy. 

(Fun fact: I met and interviewed Mr. Louboutin several years ago back when I was a magazine editor,  and he told me it actually made him nervous watching Tina Turner dance in the sky-high heels he had designed! 

“It took me a long time to feel secure about the heels,” he said. “I thought, she’s going to kill herself in those gigantic heels!” 

–Christian Louboutin

He’s clearly comfortable with them now, and plenty of toe cleavage. But are you? That may be the most important answer.

Is Toe Cleavage Unprofessional? 

Whether or not you want to bare bits of your toes at work could entirely depend on you, and your industry.

For the most part, I would say it’s not a huge deal. if you wear your heels with trousers, most people aren’t going to notice a little toe cleavage anyway. 

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If you’re planning on wearing them with a dress or pencil skirt, however, well, that’s an entirely different story.

Toe cleavage just happens. It doesn’t have to be tacky, or unprofessional. It can, however, result from wearing shoes that are just too small and in that case, it’s best to size up. 

If you work in an office setting that also requires you to wear pantyhose, then yes, I would try and stay away from toe cleavage. 

For most other office settings, don’t stress. Many work environments are much more relaxed nowadays. But again, check with your company’s dress code, look around and use common sense.

How to Prevent Toe Cleavage

If you’re not into toe cleavage but really love your shoes, you can take them to a cobbler to widen the toe box. 

You can also purchase tools like a wooden shoe stretcher, that will help stretch out and widen your toe box right at home.

This one has more than 1,000 positive ratings and ships in two-days on Amazon Prime. And this one is made specifically for high heels and currently Amazon’s choice. 

Whatever shoe stretcher you choose, they’re super easy-to-use and can provide some extra breathing room for your toes! Plus, they’re typically found for less than $30 and can be used again and again on all your shoes!

A word of caution: If you are going to have designer shoes stretched, have it done by a professional! 

I had the toe box stretched on my Christian Louboutin Pigalle heels, but it was done at Barney’s store when they were purchased. This way, if there was ever an issue with the stretching, they would guarantee them.

How Much Cleavage is Too Much?

There’s a fine line between showing a little bit of toe cleavage and looking like your feet are uncomfortably jammed into a shoe.

how much is too much cleavage?
Super subtle toe cleavage.

In this photo, there’s a slight hint of the toes, but the shoes seem to fit her just fine. It becomes gross (and tacky) when both the toes and skin are bulging over the shoes.

Other Shoe Styles that are Problematic

Another common shoe that causes toe cleavage is ballet flats. This is easy to coverup with some slip-on hose (if you prefer).

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This typically happens since many ballet flats are low vamp shoes. (The vamp is where the shoe cuts across the front of your foot). If you have long toes, your cleavage is going to show!

To prevent this, get some no-show socks in the same shade as your flats. Or, try and find a ballet flat that isn’t as low cut. 

You could also try ballet flat alternatives, like mules and loafers. They are incredibly stylish, comfortable and can be worn to the office. 

Ballet flats are headed out of style in 2019, so mules, loafers and flats really are your best bet. 

Final Thoughts

is toe cleavage ok? read the ultimate guide

Personally, I try not to lose sleep over small details like toe cleavage. I have fairly long toes but for the most part, don’t struggle with this as I don’t wear ballet flats. The only shoes I have that cause toe cleavage are my Louboutins and, frankly, they aren’t very comfortable anyway. 

On a day-to-day basis, it isn’t a personal struggle and since I work from home, I don’t have to fret about the professional aspect of it. But if you do or, if it just plain bothers you, then try and avoid shoes with these things: 

  • Ballet flats
  • Pointy toe heels with small toe boxes
  • Low vamp shoes

So tell me, what do you think about toe cleavage? Are you O.K. with it or is it totally tacky and a fashion faux pas? 

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  1. It depends on the feet of the wearer. Some feet should stay hidden under socks and knee boots. If it results in scrunched up wrinkly toes it’s a no. Also, if you wear them, maintain your skin well. Dry skin can make it look horrible and shave your foot hairs!

  2. I absolutely love toe cleavage. For real. I love it in High Heels … and I love it in ballet flats.

    For me at least, I dont think I can have “too much” toe cleavage! I like my shoes to show the absolute maximum toe cleavage possible !

    So for what its worth I have to wear high heels to work , and have for the last 16 years or so.

    WHen Im not at work I just wear ballet flats all day, every day and Ive pretty much been doing that I think since i was in middle school ? I hadnt work any socks since middle school some 23 years ago I think and wow thats such a long time! crayz

  3. I ordered a pair of kitten heels with a small strap that goes across the top of the foot like a Mary Jane but shows toe cleavage.
    The shoes are so cute and so comfortable! I don’t know if I should keep them because of the toe cleavage. What do you think?..I love the shoes!

    1. If you love them, I say keep them! Mary Jane’s typically shoe some toe cleavage anyway I’ve found

  4. ballet flats toe cleavage are the best imo 😀
    I didn’t care about that much at first but after buying one silver low vamp ballerinas, I really just enjoy the beautiful scenario lol i find it really cute and elegant at the same time! Moreover, I get lots of compliments on my shoes both from men and women alike (I am not sure if it’s because of the cleavage though hahah but I always wear them soo) and that just makes me soo happy! Toe-Cleavage Ballerinas ftw..!! 😉

  5. I’m not a fan of toe cleavage in general. However, a little isn’t so bad like in the second photo. However, the third photo just looks painful and not sexy. It’s like a foot in the wrong size of shoe. The first photo looks odd simply because of the front tip design. I wouldn’t really call it toe cleavage since it is clear plastic.

  6. I get what ur saying
    about the toe cleavage. However I like the
    Alicia Keys shoes…it’s when u look in pain…NOT GOOD. That doesn’t just go
    for toe cleavage. You ever see someone
    wearing sandals and they look like the
    toes are gripping the shoes so they don’t slide out of them. You have to look
    comfortable in what ever u wear or it’s just a bad look.

      1. I purchased a pair of shoes from J Crew that just came in today. The shoes were not pictured with feet in them, and when I tried them on, there was significant toe cleavage. So… in trying to figure out what the general consensus was on said cleavage, I came across this site.
        I would argue that a narrow toebox has nothing to do with whether or not you have toe cleavage, but everything to do with how high high or low the vamp is. You can have a narrow toebox with a high vamp, a wide toebox with a low vamp, and vice versa.

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