Foot Stretchers / Arch Stretchers

Why Use a Foot Stretcher or Arch Stretcher?

Foot stretchers are most commonly used in Ballet to improve the aesthetics of a dancer's pointe by increasing the arch of the foot. Stretching the arch can increase the curvature of the foot which helps to achieve the desired "banana" shape that ballerinas dream of having.

Things to Remember When Using a Foot Stretcher

Foot stretchers attempt to lengthen ligaments. It's very important not to overdo foot stretching to avoid causing damage to the ligaments. You should always consult your physician and/or coach for guidance when considering stretching your feet, as improper use can cause injury. In addition to consulting the professionals, here are a few rules to live by when stretching your feet. Take your time and don't use too much force.
  • Less Is More
    Limit foot stretching to a maximum of 3 minutes per foot. Less for beginners.
  • Don't Force It
    If you feel like you've reached your limit, you probably have. Don't risk it.
  • Never Stretch Cold
    Don't ever attempt to stretch your feet from a cold start. Make sure your muscles are thoroughly warmed up. The best time to stretch your feet is at the end of a dance session.
  • Don't Neglect Strength
    When stretching your feet, you should be incorporating lots of foot strengthening exercises to ensure you don't sacrifice the stability and integrity of the feet.
  • Time Is On Your Side
    Put some space between stretching sessions. Stretching your arches is a marathon, not a sprint.

Best Foot Stretchers for Ballet (Arch Stretchers)

There are a variety of different foot stretcher brands. Below we have listed some of the top rated foot stretchers with some basic information to help you decide which one will best suit your needs.

StretchPRO Foot Stretcher

The StretchPro Foot Stretcher is made in the USA and includes a 100% silicon foot sleeve and two different sized heel cushions. The StretchPRO even opens up to be used for storage of other items. StretchPro sells a Turn Board that fits in the compartment perfectly. The stretch increases as you slide your foot deeper into the silicon sleeve.

Key Features
  • Silicon is safe for latex and rubber allergies
  • Lightweight but durable construction
  • Storage compartment
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FlexExpress Foot Stretcher

The FlexExpress Foot Stretcher is a basic design that is great for beginners and children. Because the board is flat, resistance can be easily controlled.

Key Features
  • Heavy duty foot sleeve
  • Padded for comfort
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LISH Foot Stretcher

The LISH Foot Stretcher is one of the most padded stretchers on the market, with 2 inches of foam spanning the entire length. It is also one of the few foot stretchers with an adustable strap instead of a sleeve.

Key Features
  • Adjustable foot strap
  • Lots of padding
  • Includes carrying bag
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What's the Difference Between Foot Stretchers?

Foot and arch stretchers do essentially the same thing but their designs and construction differ considerably. There are primarily two different foot stretcher designs and the main difference revolves around the board that your foot rests on.

Flat Board Foot Stretchers

Foot stretchers with flat boards are recommended as a jumping off point for people just starting to stretch their arches. Because the board is flat, you can easily control the stretch - which is key to reducing the risk of injury. The flat design makes it difficult to over-stretch the arch, which is why this style is preferred as an entry level stretcher.

Curved Board Foot Stretchers

Foot stretchers with curved boards create additional tension on the arch because the shape is molded. The heel sits deeper in the board and the arch rests on a hump, so as the sleeve is tightened, or the foot slides deeper into the sleeve - the amount of pressure on the arch increases substantially. It's imporant to be especially careful using a curved foot stretcher because the design enables the user to stretch their arches substantially further than a flat board.

Key Construction Differences

Most of the flat foot stretchers have a plastic core with foam padding. Curved foot stretchers tend to be made of a hard plastic or wood with less padding. Aside from the board itself, the sleeve is the other major variable. Some sleeves are not adjustable (one size fits all) and some are. Adjustable sleeves allow you to increase the resistance as desired. The sleeves are typically made from silicon, nylon, cloth or leather.

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