Comfort Shoes & Orthotics
The key to shoe comfort is a shoe that fits. That’s why at Walkwell Shoes every foot is measured every time. Whatever shoes you need for your lifestyle, you’ll find them at Walkwell Shoes. From work shoes to walking shoes, from casual to dress, we have sizes 6 to 16, including B to EEEEEE widths.
Our professionals are experts at serving the special needs of seniors too.
Q: When should a patient consult a podiatrist vs. visit a pedorthist to have shoe modifications/inserts recommended?
Any time someone has actual lower extremity symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or loss of function for a week or more warrants a visit to the foot doctor. The best case scenario is when the pedorthist and podiatric physician can work together to optimize the patients biomechanics.
A podiatrist can prescribe medication, administer injections, prescribe custom orthotic devices, and — when necessary — perform surgery to resolve a particular foot problem. A pedorthist can be consulted when there is a persistent ache or pain when walking or running. The pedorthist then will be in a good position to recommend a particular shoe, insert, or combination to improve the gait, foot efficiency, and reduce the level of pain.
Q: What conditions can be helped by a pedorthist at a shoe fitting store?
Pedorthists are not licensed to diagnose acute issues. However, they are skilled at recommending the appropriate shoes to fit a particular foot type. They also are able to recommend and produce insoles, both off-the-shelf and custom, to support a person’s foot properly. For those who wear a custom orthotic from a podiatrist, the pedorthist can recommend the best shoe to maximize the effectiveness of the orthotic device.
Having a pedorthist on site ensures that the customer will be able to purchase a ‘best fit’ shoe or over-the-counter arch support. This helps with shoe performance and shock absorption. The pedorthist can also carry out prescription items such as diabetic therapeutic shoes and accommodative inserts, custom shoes, and custom modifications to shoes. Again, if a person considers themselves to have a “condition,” we would advise working with the podiatric physician in conjunction with the pedorthist.
So many people buy their shoes based on the looks and ignore the comfort of the shoe. The sales representative is the most important person to consult when looking at shoes for specific issues. The pedorthists are trained in most of the common foot conditions that we see on a regular basis including: flat feet, painful arches, painful heels, bunions, hammertoes, diabetes, arthritis, etc.
The pedorthist is also trained at casting and molding custom inserts to better fit the patients/customers. They should not be fooled by online “custom” orthotics which are not truly custom, just to save some money. With orthotics and braces, you get what you pay for. You get not only a quality product, but the training behind it which allows the pedorthist to diagnose the problem, determine which materials are needed, and fabricate the inserts properly.
Q: Does a shoe have an arch support?
No. Walking shoes and running shoes do not have arch support. They may have Cushioning: Depending on the style, shoes provide more or less cushioning. Look for a cushioned style to relieve sore feet. Some have Motion control: Some shoes provide correction for overpronation with motion control elements – dual density foam in the sole so that the foot does not over-rotate.
Q: Can an insole extend shoe life?
Insoles and inserts do not extend shoe life: It is the unseen midsole of the shoe that breaks down by 500 miles, leaving your foot without proper support. Adding a new insole does not correct that problem.
Q: What Conditions that may benefit from shoe inserts:
- Arch strain and pain
- Heel pain
- Ball of foot pain (metatarsalgia)
- Weak ankles
- Crooked toes and corns
- Knee pain
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
Q: What are othotics and who needs them?
Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that correct gait problems, provide foot support, relieve pressure on painful areas of the foot, and provide motion control.
Over the counter, ready-made products are also available – heel cups, insoles, and arch supports may call themselves orthotics and provide some degree of relief. But a custom orthotic provides individual correction.
Types of orthotics
- Functional orthotics: wedges are fashioned into the orthotic insert to adjust the heel or forefoot to correct defects in the arch such as overpronation (the arch flattens and allows the foot to roll too far inward) or supination (the arch is too high and the foot rolls too far outward). This motion can cause strain on joints and muscles throughout the leg, hip, and back as well as the foot and heel pain of plantar fasciitis. While many athletic shoes correct for overpronation, a custom orthotic will make a precise correction.
- Weight-dispersive or accommodative orthotics: these have padding to relieve pain and pressure on the metatarsal heads, sesamoid bones, collapsed tarsal bones, sores and inflamed toes.
- Supportive orthotics: arch supports to treat problems of the plantar arch.
Orthotics may be prescribed by health care professionals – medical doctors, podiatrists, chiropractors. The fitting is done by a pedorthist. Information in the prescription given by the podiatrist or other health care provider also tells the pedorthist what kind of corrections are needed. Each pair of orthotics cost between $150 – $500 US, and different styles may be wanted for dress shoes, sports shoes, and casual shoes.
Q: What is the Best Shoe for Walking?
There is no one best shoe for all walkers. The best shoe for you is the one that fits you best, the one that gives you the proper support, flexibility, cushioning, and compensates for any stride problems you may have, such as overpronation. Each person’s feet are different. Take all advice with a grain of salt. Find a shoe fitting expert to help you find the shoe that is best for your walking distance, speed, style, and surface as well as your weight and stride.
Shoe manufacturers put the best design and technology into running shoe styles, while walking shoe styles are designed primarily for market appeal rather than performance.
Q: When should you replace your walking shoes? How do you know when your shoes have lost their cushioning and reached the end of their lifespan?
Once you find a comfortable pair of walking shoes that support your feet right, it is hard to part with them. But walking and running shoes have a limited life span. With each step, you are breaking down their cushioning and support. By 500 miles, most shoes are dead and need to be recycled or saved for non-exercise purposes.
The 500 Mile Limit = Replace Every 3 to 6 Months
The typical athletic shoe is only built to last 350 to 500 miles. While walkers are not pounding their shoes as hard as runners, you are unlikely to still get good support and cushioning past 500 miles. Your weight is also a factor — the more you weigh, the faster your shoes will wear out. If you are walking 30 minutes a day, or an average of 3 to 4 hours a week, replace your shoes every six months. If you are walking 60 minutes a day or an average of 7 hours a week, replace your shoes every three months.
Shoe Care for Longer Shoe Life
- Save your walking shoes only for exercise walks:Don’t wear them all day; slip into them only for your exercise time. If you keep them on your feet, they get more wear and they have longer exposure to foot moisture and bacteria, which will break them down faster.
- Air out your shoes between uses:Store your walking shoes where they are exposed to air so they can dry out fully between uses. A gym bag isn’t the best place to let them breathe.
- If you wash them, air dry:I do not wash my walking shoes, but if you do you should use gentle soap and cold water so you don’t destroy the glue. Always air dry them rather than throwing them in a dryer. Avoid heat, as this will contribute to faster breakdown of the glue.
- Replacing the insoles: If you prefer a custom insole, replace it each time you replace your shoes. Changing the insole is not a substitute for replacing the shoe. Cushioning insoles don’t provide the same cushioning and support that the shoe itself provides. Once the shoe is broken down, you can’t remedy that with an insole.
How to Know Your Shoes are Dead – Rotate Your Shoes
The best way to discover your shoes have died is to rotate your walking shoes. Start wearing a pair of walking shoes, and alternate them with a new pair of walking shoes after 1 to 2 months. When the older pair begins to break down, you will sense the difference between the newer and older pair. If you walk one or more times daily, alternating shoes allows each pair to fully dry out between uses. Take advantage of “buy one get one free” offers from shoe retailers. Buy two pairs at a time to save on gas if you are driving to a local running store, or to save on postage if you are ordering online.
Signs Your Shoes are Dead
Most people wait till their shoes look bad before replacing them. By that time they have been toast for many months. These signs of long dead shoes should prompt you to replace them immediately:
- Sole tread pattern worn down
- Heel worn more on one side than the other, to the point of leaning
- Wrinkles in the side or bottom of the solefrom breakdown of the support and cushioning
- Uppers broken down around the ankle
Shoe Wear Patterns
Where and how you wear down the soles and heels of your shoes can tell a shoe fit expert what kind of shoes you should buy. Bring your old shoes with you when you buy new shoes. What Shoe Wear Patterns Tell You
Dangers of Dead Shoes
What’s wrong with wearing dead shoes? They are dead because they no longer provide good support and cushioning. Lack of cushioning and support can lead to:
Recycle Your Dead Shoes
While you may want to keep one or two pairs of dead shoes around for gardening or other non-exercise tasks, you should recycle or donate your shoes rather than tossing them in the trash. Recycled shoes are used to make playground and track surfaces. Look for a shoe bin at a community recycling center or athletic shoe store. Shoes that are still in good condition may also be donated to charity clothing centers to be used for non-exercise purposes. At Walkwell Shoes, we support Soles-4-Souls.