The Right Way to Wear a Toe Ring and its Cultural Significance

What is the Right Way to Wear a Toe Ring
Wearing toe rings is one of the latest fashion trends that has its origins in Eastern culture and is spreading in the West. Learn about the significance of toe rings in the Indian culture and how to correctly wear a toe ring in this post.
Fashionhance Staff
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2018
Toe rings are one of those tiny little things that are sure to make your feet look pretty and feminine! Toe rings are small rings made out of many different kinds of material that are worn on toes to adorn the feet. In modern times, toe rings are worn more as a fashion statement than a cultural ornament. This is why many girls are seen sporting a toe ring nowadays. Summers call for airy, loose and largely bare footwear. It is one of the seasons when many girls indulge in beauty treatments for their feet - get a pedicure, put on a nice nail paint, and wear delicate and open footwear. Why not adorn your feet along with all that pampering? Anklets and toe rings look beautiful on capris, jeans as well as skirts and summer dresses.

Having said that, you may wonder what kind of a toe ring would look good on you and also how to wear a toe ring. What is the right way to wear a toe ring? Read about that and also find out the significance of toe rings in Indian culture; it will help you understand how to wear a toe ring.
The Concept of 'Solah Shringar'
Girl in traditional dress
With all due respect and an apology for the seeming disregard to my own culture, I will say that for Indians, marriage is a big deal! But then I am pretty sure it is so in at least a handful other people as well. Sanskrit literature has references of how a bride ought to dress up and adorn herself on the day of the wedding. Ancient scriptures talk about something called 'solah shringar' which translates as 16 ornaments or 16 adornments. It is a list of 16 different adornments that a bride-to-be must wear. These are flowers in the head, bindi on the forehead, maang-tika near the hair-line, kajal (kohl) in the eyes, kudya (ear-rings), nath (nose-ring), maal (necklace), waki (armlets), bangdya (bangles), angthi (finger rings), henna on the palms, kamar-patta, (waist-band), mekhala, painjan (anklets), jodvi (toe rings), ittar (scent), and finally sandalwood paste. Each of these has a significance, and hence you would seldom find a bride not wearing any of these ornaments.
Toe Rings in Indian Culture
Groom placing toe ring
Toe rings as a jewelry belong to the Indian culture. As already illustrated above, they are a part of the 'solah shringar'. Toe rings are also worn in a particular way and in particular numbers, as is illustrated below:
  • Rings are worn on the toe next to the big-toe.
  • Normally worn in pairs.
  • They are worn on both feet.
  • They are worn only by married women. They are usually put on the bride's feet by the groom.
Toe rings are hence symbolic of married women alone. They are traditionally made of silver. 'Gold' is regarded as a metal of the Gods and the royal people and hence is never worn in the feet. Hence, all Indian ornaments worn below the waist are made of silver, including the kambar-patta, anklets and toe rings. This is one of the reasons why widows would remove toe rings from their feet in olden times.
The Science of Toe Rings
It is believed that wearing a toe ring keeps the reproductive system of the body in good health. This is why only married women wear a toe ring according to Indian culture. According to Ayurveda, our bodies have something called 'prana' which translates variously as soul, life force, vital energy, etc. This prana runs through our body via different channels, right to your toes. Hence a toe ring is used to keep this force healthy. The toe ring is especially worn on the toe next to the big toe because that is where the channel for sexual vigor runs through. It is believed that this is also one of the reasons why toe rings are not made of gold, gold being a better conductor of heat would dissipate the 'energy' of the body.
So - How to Wear a Toe Ring?
Indian woman foot
With the above explanation, it must be quite clear how to wear a toe ring. You should wear it on the toe next to the big toe; it should preferably be made of silver, and it should be worn by married women only! However, toe rings these days are worn more as a fashion accessory than a symbol of your marital status; just the way single girls and women freely wear rings on the ring-finger. (However, in India single girls and women still refrain from wearing toe rings, at least in the toe next to the big toe.) These days you get toe rings of sterling silver, stainless steel, hemp and all other kinds of materials; even plastic. They come in many shapes and colors. Being an Indian myself, I would personally suggest you to wear a single toe ring and on any alternative toe if you are not married. Maybe it is simply a preset, but it just doesn't feel right to me. A toe ring tattoo could be a good alternative.
Phew! Didn't think the piece of jewelry you so casually slid onto your toes has such a deep meaning and symbolism, did you? As long as you don't wear a toe ring exactly the way it is worn by an Indian bride, I guess you are good to go. Even if you do, I guess you are still good to go! It is more about which of your toes itches less with the toe ring on I guess. But now you are informed at least, isn't it? You be the best judge. Cheers!
Indian Traditional Toe Ring
Indian Traditional Toe Ring
Brides Feet