--What does the promo say?--
"When you look in the mirror what do you see? Your face? Your body? What about your feet? Being constantly on the go, no-one considers the daily pressures and tensions your feet are subject to. They particularly suffer when crammed into high heels, shoved into pumps or wedged into sandals. Don't ignore them - use Pampered Toes to stretch and strengthen them! Pampered Toes are a plastic toe stretching device that helps to revive and condition cramped feet....[I]nspired by yoga exercises for your feet[,] the device helps to increase circulation and stretch your tendons. It makes exercising your tootsies as easy as watching TV. When life runs you off your feet, take a few minutes to relax with Pampered Toes."
See-through plastic packaging and clear no-nonsense titling helps the product to make immediate impact. However, it is not easy to open and there is one big CON: once opened, even as carefully as possible, the Pampered Toes are left with no form of more permanent packaging, such as a carry case or storage device. The reason why this is so annoying will come later...
We are advised by JML to "simply slip them over the tops of [the] feet". This seems fairly easy at the outset, with there being one hole in the "ladder" for each toe. However, this is slightly reliant on your feet being a certain shape or size: my little toes are ridiculously small and piggy and so only just barely fit into the hole meant for them, even with the plastic "ladder" being fully wedged down between my toes. Perhaps these need to come in different sizes?
These are a pleasant pale pink, and also come in blue. Of course you look stupid with your toes poking out of them, but I think by now we girls are used to looking stupid in the name of beauty (designer shoes, face masks, pore strips...). A more obvious up side is that it really doesn't take very long: just 10 or 15 minutes for your feet to feel more relaxed.
This is why the fact of these not having their own box or storage facility is extremely annoying: the gel from which these are made is not exactly sticky (and in fact, to the contrary, their softness, coolness and pliability makes them feel extremely pleasant on the feet), they do seem to attract dust and hair, meaning you will basically need to wash them every time you want to use them, or keep them in a Ziploc bag. This is definitely something that could do with improving - the prospect of washing mine is extremely offputting (although admittedly it doesn't help that I defied the health and safety warnings on the packaging and also walked around while wearing them).
--Effects on the feet--
There seem to be a lot of medical (or at least holistic or therapeutic) terminology and meaning attached to this product, which seems to on immediate sight lack any verification by a recognised health professional (by "recognised" I mean someone that the general public would recognise, such as Embarrassing Bodies' Dr Christian Jessen). It would therefore need a doctor to tell me whether these really did prevent hammer toes, poor circulation or bunions, stretch my tendons or strengthen my toes, as claimed by the product's PR. However, this much is obvious: it is, for whatever reasons, a very relaxing experience: feet really do feel less stressed and tense after use.
--Value for money--
I'd really want an endorsement from some kind of health professional before I made any judgement on the perceived physical benefits of this product. However, for a relaxing spa-style experience I would definitely recommend it to make you feel like you're walking on air - they just need to give the poor things a home of their own to make the experience completely hassle-free. Now, where's my Enya CD, incense sticks and face mask...?
Ped Egg, £9.99
Snuggie, £24.99 for 2
Circulation Enhancer, £149.99Deluxe Bath Spa, £59.99