The pitch: "The ultimate treat for tired feet"
Pampered Toes (by the makers of the Ped Egg) are blue, gel-filled cushions that look a bit like brass knuckles for your feet. There is a space for each toe, allowing you to separate and stretch them. The makers of Pampered Toes recommend that you leave the cushions in place for at least 10 minutes to soothe and relax your feet. Pampered Toes can be heated in the microwave or cooled in the refrigerator before use; they can also be used in the bath.
Pampered Toes are the subject of no less than four reviews on local TV news affiliates, all of which report uniformly negative results. One viewer-tester for KIDK (Idaho Falls, Idaho) has a hard time putting her toes in and refuses to wear Pampered Toes for the recommended 10 minutes, saying they're too painful. Similarly, a viewer-tester at WVEC (Norfolk, Va.) has difficulty inserting her toes. She says "they're not uncomfortable," but she balks at wearing them for the full 10 minutes. At KVUE (Austin, Tex.), an esthetician says simply that it "felt good to take them off," while an intern at KNVX (Phoenix) says Pampered Toes "actually made her feet hurt." (To be fair, this last station asked her to wear Pampered Toes for an entire day, not just the recommended 10 minutes.)
We did find some positive reviews of Pampered Toes. About two-thirds of the 15 or so users posting comments on Amazon.com have good things to say about this product. One user says "they stretch out my feet and toes well, with minimum discomfort." The news segments all feature female participants, so it's interesting to note the posts from male users on Amazon. Several men say Pampered Toes not only fit their large feet, but alleviates foot pain as well. On the other hand, we read quite a few complaints from women that they are too big to wear comfortably.
We found a handful of positive blog reviews of Pampered Toes, but these raves are so at odds with the more credible TV news reviews that we discounted them. A site called JennyReviews.com, for example, says Pampered Toes "gently spreads your toes apart and holds them all in a comfortable position so that they instantly feel more relaxed and comfortable." However, this website publishes nothing but postitive reviews, the author is unidentified, and the website itself hides behind a masked domain registration -- meaning that we can't tell who operates it.
1. KIDK (Idaho Falls, Id.)
Reporter Tommy Noel asks viewer Angie Smith to try Pampered Toes. She has a hard time fitting her toes in, and she doesn't wear them for the recommended 10 minutes, saying they're too painful. Smith says she'd give Pampered Toes a score of 1.5 out of five.
Review: Does it Really Work? – Pampered Toes, Tommy Noel, Jan. 1, 2009
2. WVEC (Norfolk, Va.)
Reporter Sandra Parker asks viewer Joyce Baylon to test Pampered Toes after a long day in high heels. Baylon has some difficulty sticking her toes in. She says "it's not uncomfortable" to wear them, but would hesitate using them for the recommended 10 minutes.
Review: Does it Work: Pampered Toes, Sandra Parker, Jan. 13, 2009
3. KVUE (Austin, Tex.)
In yet another tryout by a TV news program, a local esthetician tries on Pampered Toes and is not impressed. After five minutes, she tells reporter Quita Culpepper, "it was pinching my toes on either end. It just feels good to take them off."
Review: Pampered Toes Put to the Test, Quita Culpepper, Feb. 11, 2009
4. KNXV (Phoenix)
KNXV turns to one of its interns to test Pampered Toes, and she wears them for a full day (which is a bit odd, since the recommended time is 10 minutes). Like other people who've tested Pampered Toes, the intern reports they "actually made her feet hurt and did nothing to alleviate her toes from hurting," Munro says.
Review: Love Fancy Shoes But Not the Pain? Pampered Toes Might Help, Daphne Munro, June 8, 2009
Of the 15 or so customers posting here, about two-thirds have good things to say about Pampered Toes.,One satisfied user writes, "They stretch out my feet and toes well, with minimum discomfort. They fit my feet (size 11), my dad's cramped toes, and my mom's tiny feet." However, some users complain that this product is uncomfortable or even painful to use.
Review: Pampered Toes Spa Therapy, Contributors to Amazon.com
Anonymous reviewer "Jenny" raves about Pampered Toes, saying they work as advertised. We'd give more credibility to this five-star blog review if it didn't include seemingly canned ad copy, and gave some indication as to who operates the site.
Review: Pampered Toes Reviewed, "Jenny"