No one looks at you funny if you say you can’t hike as far as you used to because of knee problems, but it’s embarrassing to say you need to stop because your toes hurt. I’ve tried different boots and different lacings, but haven’t figured out how to keep my big toe from jamming against the front of the boot when hiking down hill. I tried silicone toe cushions made for dancers, which are effective, but unpleasant to wear and nasty to remove.
Finally, I thought to try knitted toe cushions, and my toes haven’t looked back. I don’t know if these would be cushy enough for dancers, but for the hiker needing a little extra protection, they are a great boon. I imagine they could also be helpful (suitably modified) on any toe that is particularly prone to blisters.