Why Do Guys Paint Their Toenails (7 Unusual Reasons)

Last updated on June 13, 2022 by April Maccario

There’s been quite a lot of cultural fuss over the growing trend of guys wearing men’s nail polish. For many, the fear is that this men’s nail polish trend would tear down age-long gender norms and stir up more open discussions. 

As of now, painted nails are no more an exclusive right of women. While some may find this awkward, some guys frequent the nail salon to polish their toenails. What’s more, guys sporting nail polish is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon in modern-day society. Fashion brands are now churning out men’s nail polish to cater to the male folk.  

You’re here because you can’t seem to wrap your head around this trend of men with nail polish. There are several reasons why millennials are going ahead with this trend ranging from the expected to the unexpected. Interestingly, I have been able to highlight a few of these reasons.

7 Reasons Guys Paint Their Toenails 

1. For fun and laughs

for fun and laughs

More often than none, chaps sport colored nails just for the thrill of doing so. Everybody is entitled to do what makes them happy, even if it means painting their nails. Funny enough, men who have young daughters are susceptible to having their nails used for practice. 

Please make no mistake; it grows the bond between father and daughter. Furthermore, guys occasionally find themselves as product testers for their female partners. And no doubt, men who polish their nails appeal to some ladies in a sexual manner. 

2. To enhance their outward appearance

Colored nail polish makes the hands and toes look prettier for those who pay attention to things like that. It does not only accentuate skin color but enhances one’s physical outlook. It’s becoming increasingly popular to find fashion-conscious guys painting their nails.  

Guys wear them to match the clothes they are wearing. The goth and punk subculture accounts for the large number of guys with colored nails. The reason is simple- bright colors command some attention and brightens up costumes. 

3. To aid a social impact campaign

Social campaigns for specific causes are usually the reason why most guys wear colored men’s nail polish. They see it as a way of lending their voice to a humanitarian or global cause. 

There have been a lot of campaigns recently ranging from rape to gender violence. Male celebrities are the trailblazers in this regard as they spearhead such campaigns. Organizers of such campaigns envision that it inspires their fans to become more proactive and join the movement.   

4. For artistic purposes

For your information, there’s a growing trend called nail art. It’s a type of artwork that deals with decorating and embellishing nails. Despite being associated with femininity in some climes, some guys utilize it to showcase their creativity and artistic tendencies. 

In time past, black nail polish was even something acceptable, but guys now try their hands on various nail art designs and colors. If you see a guy with a bold color like blue, purple, or even pink, he may probably be a nail-art enthusiast. 

5. Self-identity

Coloring the toenails is a way of expressing one’s feelings and emotions without saying a word. This classic craze is mainly associated with the gay, transgender, and queer community. The new trend borders on the idea of self-expression and gender identity. 

Also, there’s the idea of inclusivity for those who might consider themselves marginalized. We’re likely to witness an increasing inclusion of guys in the manicure and pedicure salons. People are coming to terms with the fact that colored nails do not speak to a person’s gender or sexuality. 

6. For personal reasons

for personal reasons

Just as with everything else in life, people sometimes do all kinds of stuff for personal reasons. I have seen guys who wear colored polish to stop them from biting on their nails. Some wear it because it keeps their nails healthy and prevents them from cracking.

Male folk wearing polish isn’t such an alarming prospect if it means them taking better care of their nails. Additionally, some millennials wear it to pass a message that they can be fun and classy.   

7. Boosts self-esteem 

Wearing colored manicure has the same effect on guys and ladies alike in the sense that it makes them feel poised and confident. Widely acclaimed songwriter and screenwriter, Varun Grover, is well known for his colored manicure, which he claims makes him look beautiful and colorful.  

Millennials see it as taking pride in who they are or what they do. Colored polish could also represent a person’s personality and help them project some self-confidence. 


What does it mean when guys paint their nails?

It’s prevalent to dismiss chaps with polished nails as gay, but that’s not always the case. For some, they are merely trying to make a bold fashion statement or get funky. Sometimes, men apply color to their nails to show solidarity with humanitarian or political causes, as seen in many cases worldwide.  

Why do guys paint their toenails black?

Black nail polish is mainly used in the goth culture by rock and rollers. Additionally, there could be an underlying political or gender-based motive for doing so. There’s also the fun part where kids or partners polish their nails black. Odds are, there may not be any rational reason attached to it other than to have fun

Why do guys paint one toenail?

Chances are, it has something to do with a social campaign for a charitable cause. In 2015, the polished man campaign sought to publicize and gather much-needed funds to tackle children’s violence. Chaps who participated in the social impact campaign were mandated to have a single nail painted to support the movement. 

Is it OK for guys to paint their nails?

This culture started as far back as 3,000 B.C but gradually faded off. Thanks to the ever-evolving world of fashion, men painting their nails is no longer a gender thing. It’s normal to find men with their nails adorned with a variety of colors in public places. Male celebrities, especially rock stars do this a lot.

Can straight guys wear nail polish?

The usual cliché that only gay men and transgenders wear nail polish is utterly false. These assumptions are offensive, to say the least to straight men who love getting their nails done. In addition to that, painted nails are not indicative of a person’s sexuality. Painting nails doesn’t speak to a man’s masculinity or sexual orientation either. 

To Conclude

Thank you for taking the time off to read through this article. I hope you found the content interesting and insightful? If yes, kindly share your thoughts and views by leaving a comment below. Feel free to share this article as it can also be of help to others. 

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

6 comments on “Why Do Guys Paint Their Toenails (7 Unusual Reasons)”

  1. I paint/polish my toes, it's my way of bringing awareness to different cancers, & my toes look greatdoing it.... just ask my wife & my nail tech who takes care of them monthly ....BTW I receive many compliments on my toes....from mostly women who see them

  2. I paint my toes for a few reasons, First they just simply look nicer when polished....second I go to the nail salon with my wife monthly to keep our feet healthy & its a bonding thing with us she picks out my color & sometimes I pick hers ...Lastly I started wearing certain colors for Cancer Awareness as I was recently diagnosed with Colon & Prostate....good way of bringing Awareness... it for nothing else starts a conversation....BTW I get quite a few complaints on my well kept feet & painted nails

  3. I am a 60 year old straight guy who has been going to the nail salon for regular pedicures for a couple years. I have been leaving the salon with color on my toes since. My Girlfriend has been choosing my colors from day one. I also wear a toe ring on each foot. It started as a dare, and I just never thought of taking it off. I did go natural for a few months to allow my nails to remain healthy, but have had almost every color under the sun on my toes. I have had compliments, as well as snickers. I really don't care! She likes it! That's all that matters! My young daughter and I have gone together to get a pedi, and even she has picked a color here and there. More and more men are painting their toes! Not gender specific anymore!

  4. I am a straight male mid sixties. My wife gave me a couple of vouchers for pedicures at nail salons. I really enjoyed the experience. I decided that I would let the professionals cut my toenails and saw that a colour was included in the fee. So I got a colour last week ... pink ! I love looking at my toes now and they look so much better. I have been out and about wearing flip flops and nobody has said anything so I guess people don't really look at mens feet. However, I'm sure that if I do get any comments, they will be from ladies and will be positive. The way I see it is that I enjoy the look. It's not harming me or anyone else. It makes me feel kind of liberated to do something that I admire on women and now have joined the scene.

  5. This is a great article. I am a straight man, 52 years old, and I have recently begun learning to paint my nails and it is liberating. I would fall under the category of Feeling Sexy and Self Care. Pedicures are a beautiful way to relax after a hard day's work and the result, for me, is a playful and peaceful calming of my spirit. Reds or French are my favorite for my toes and my hands sort of depends on my mood. I exalt and celebrate anything a person can do to bring some peace, love, and fun into one's life in this very nebulous and crazy world we live in. So I thank you, as a man who loves his nails to look pretty as it makes me feel pretty (yes, a middle aged straight man is allowed to feel and be pretty too) and it has brought me and my girlfriend closer because the process cannot be rushed so every Saturday morning we make our coffee, put some Sting on the Bluetooth, and spend a couple of quiet and focused hours painting our nails together and catching up on the pervious week's experiences. Thank you for sharing this article!!

  6. Hey there, April. I am a 69 year-old gay male that uses fairly high does of iron for Restless Legs and Arms Syndrome. Iver the past few years, I have noticed a brown staining of my toenails. I decided to paint them a gun-metal color (version of grey) rather than look the ugly toenails. I have done it for several months and did not even think about it when I had a medication injection under fluoroscopy I actually had not even thought about it until I took off my socks for the procedure. No one said a thing.

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