Let me start by saying that on my feet, the second toe next to the big toe, is actually longer than the big toe. I am a regular (not consistent) hiker and backpacker, and have been struggling for two years with this problem.
The problem is that when I hike (but more often when I backpack) the second toe of either/or/both feet ends up either badly bruised or, worse yet, the toe nail turns black. I have tried: larger/wider boots, different lacing methods, tighter laces,thicker socks, 2 pairs of socks, etc.
Problem happened again this weekend after an 8 mile overnight backpack (up 1,200 feet, down 1,200 feet).
Anybody knows what causes this problem...and better yet, what is the solution?