Author Topic: Custom orthotics/shoes?  (Read 3684 times)

Inaya

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Custom orthotics/shoes?
« on: July 06, 2016, 01:43:26 PM »
I have always had stupid feet that made it difficult to find comfortable shoes that fit. I had one surgically corrected, and now I have two feet that are differently stupid and not the same size, so it takes a Christmas miracle to find shoes that fit. And now, because of screws in my instep, I can't wear anything with laces or pressure/tightness over the top of the foot--which pretty much limits my options even further. And when I do find shoes that fit (Christmas-Easter-Halloween-Independence Day-Combo-Miracle), they're worn out within a year because I'm carless and bikeless and very hard on shoes (and that takes into account that at least 5 months are spent in my Uggs--which I wish I'd bought 3 years sooner).

So... since I can't wear Ugg boots year round, I've been wondering if I should start looking into custom shoes/orthotics. I know they'd be expensive, but it might be worth it for shoes that actually fit and actually last--instead of replacing cheaper shoes every time they wear out (and the extreme time commitment it takes just to FIND shoes that fit both feet). So I'm looking for feedback from any Mustachians with experience with custom footwear. How much was it? What was the process like? How did you find it? How durable was it? Was it worth the cost? Exactly how ugly are they (I've resigned myself to knowing that I'll be wearing ugly nursing home shoes the rest of my life--I'm just curious if they have good looking orthotics)?

Thanks in advance!





Choices

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2016, 03:47:14 PM »
I don't have much experience with orthotics, but have you considered buying multiple pairs when you find your holiday miracle shoes that fit?

Kaikou

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2016, 03:57:57 PM »
So you basically can only wear slip on shoes?

Altons Bobs

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2016, 04:43:40 PM »
My podiatrist also recommended orthotics to me, but as you already know, they're super expensive. So I went to a local shoe store that sold a lot of different kinds of insoles, tried on Superfeet and Spenco.  Spenco fits me better.  It's best if you can try them first.  They have coupon codes sometimes on Facebook that you can use.  I bought directly from Spenco as well as from Amazon. 

It's very hard for me to buy shoes also, so when I find a pair that fit great, I would buy quite a few pairs of the same thing because with my luck, the shoes that fit before would always be discontinued.  Now I know at least I have enough shoes to last me a few years.

Future Lazy

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2016, 05:35:46 PM »
My husband and I got our insoles from our kinesiologist (aka fancy chiropractor/physical therapist/nutritionist combo doctor).

My husband has weird ass feet - pronate, and have a narrow heel and a wide... toe knuckle area? The only shoes he found comfortable were $25 pairs of hiking boots from Wal Mart - in other words, shoes with no structure at all, basically slippers - and he walked literally through them every 30 days ($25*12 mos = $300/yr). The first thing we did was see our fancy doctor, and for DH, we splurged on the "laser measured" arches to the tune of $200. This has allowed many more types of shoes to be comfortable for him to wear. We made his orthotics purchase in 2012, so right now the cost is ~$50/yr, but the inserts are still in great shape and will likely last many years to come. We also spent extra on shoes for DH, and went to a Red Wing brand shoes outlet. We bought a pair of boots there in 2012 that are still good today.. Even with the high initial investment, it's already cheaper than the alternative solution, and the cost continues to go down as high quality products "march on".

Maths:
Crappy Shoes          "Fancy Stuff"
$300/yr over 4 years          Total: $112/yr over 4 years, based on ~$450 initial investment

DH works jobs that require constant movement/walking and is extremely hard on his shoes/feet in general. Making a strong investment in his footwear up front has been good financially, and also taken the stress over damaged feet/trash for shoes out of his life entirely.

I also have insoles, they are standard "off the shelf" ones, but also from the doctor. No fancy laser measures for me. It's sometimes difficult to find women's shoes that they fit well into, and I usually have to go with an athletic style shoe, otherwise the shoes are usually too small (either insole doesn't fit the width, or foot + sock + insole doesn't fit the height of the shoe). They were a little expensive when they were bought for me in 2007 - $75, I think? - but they only just wore holes through and came unglued this year, so the cost over time is pretty minimal, at about $8 per year. I've done a lot less physical work/walking than DH does, but they still lasted a pretty long time, including a 2 year period of a 4mi walking commute and active workplace.

I hope this helps!
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 05:37:54 PM by KaylaEM »

MakeSmarterDecisions

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 05:43:37 PM »
I had custom orthotics made (the kind where they cast your feet in plaster) years ago because of crazy high arches and constant foot pain. They definitely worked for me but limited the kinds of shoes I could wear too. Now I am super careful about picking out shoes (and boots) and make sure I get ones with great support.  I still have the orthotics to fall back on too.  Mine have lasted for years.

MrsPete

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 07:39:37 PM »
I've developed some moderately bad foot problems over the last couple years, and I finally broke down and went to the podiatrist.  It made all the difference in the world, and I didn't pay anything except a co-payment. 

The most important thing he did was make me a pair of custom inserts.  Unlike drugstore inserts, these are made specifically for my feet, and each was made separately -- so if my right and left were different, each would work just fine.   

They are WONDERFUL.  They slide into most of my shoes -- tennis shoes, loafers -- without any problem; I'm not saying all my shoes work -- I had to give a bunch to Goodwill.  They do not work with pretty heels.  When I wear them, NO foot problems, which is worth an awful lot to me.  The doctor told me I could expect the inserts to last me about five years.  Yes, I could get big, clunky orthopedic shoes, but why?  Why would I do that when these inserts slip into most any shoes I choose? 

I can also wear two brands of sandal, which are made specifically for my fairly common foot problem.  They cost $60-80/pair, but I live in the South and wear sandals all summer -- so I pay what it costs, and I have only a few pairs.  With these sandals, at the end of the day my pain level is a 1 out of 10, which I'm willing to accept to be able to wear sandals. 


brooklynmoney

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 08:45:14 PM »
I had custom orthotics made because I am a runner. Would you really want to skimp on your feet? Also orthotics can last a long time and you can get them touched up.

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2016, 09:37:06 PM »
It sounds like you might have the type of feet that do well with orthotics, but as an alternative, if uggs are comfy, can you wear moccasins?  Or Toms or Sanuk shoes? Then you'd be covered year round

Frugally-raised

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2016, 07:40:43 PM »
I've worn custom orthotic innersoles (from a podiatrist) for nearly 3 years now. After going through a series of injections for neuromas in both feet, the orthotics keep the pain from returning. I must wear them all the time; they last about 1.5 years. Because I have high arches, the neuroma-fixing orthotics mean that I can no longer wear any shoe that doesn't have laces and a high enough toe box. So I understand your dilemma! $350 for a pair isn't cheap, but worth it if it means I can sleep at night.

I looked into custom shoes—not to help my pain, but to allow me to wear nice-looking shoes that accommodated my orthotics. Most custom shoes are around $700-800; a significant investment. Of course, these shoes can be resoled repeatedly, unlike most modern shoes. So over a long period of time, the price drops. The shoemaker will take all your measurements and go through detailed questions; some will make a mold of your feet (with and perhaps without any orthotics). So, you either need to find someone local or you need to coordinate a fitting. I was fit at a craft fair where the shoemaker had a booth.

I haven't decided if the custom shoes are worth it. However, I only have 1 pair of really comfortable shoes right now, and I'm about to begin a search for new ones. The unfortunate trend in footwear, including athletic footwear, is non-removable innersoles. If the innersoles don't come out, I can't put in my orthotics (stacking them is a bad idea, and my foot wouldn't fit, anyway). So frustrating. And endlessly time-consuming!

I have heard about a local (well, within a few hour's drive) shop that specializes in challenging foot problems and yet has somewhat stylish shoes (often from Europe). Perhaps you can find such a store near you? The one I'm talking about is at waxbergs.com. The can alter shoes, too. And if that isn't enough, you might want to find a certified pedorthist. They specialize in this.

Good luck!

Inaya

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2016, 08:23:48 AM »
Thanks everyone for your feedback!

My biggest problem is the screws in the top of my (already-high) instep. Any pressure or rubbing on them causes issues. It means I can't even wear most slip-ons, even if they fit perfectly in every other respect. So many pairs of shoes that fit rejected because they touch the screws. Or the skin over the screws, rather. Compound that with very wide fore feet, very narrow heels, and the fact that there is a half-size difference between my feet (due to the same surgery as the screws). If it's wide enough for the toes, my heels come out. If it fits my right foot, my left foot rattles around. And if it fits both feet--there's only one pair in that size! Without fail!

It looks like those who got orthotics feel it's worth the cost and hassle. I'm not sure if they'll help, since my problem really is just the shape and size of my feet being so different (and the screws of course). But, hey, I'm not a doctor! I think from the feedback here, it's definitely worth looking into even if I don't commit. And I'll be checking to see if my insurance will cover any appliances (doubt it; HDHP don't cover much of anything).

Thanks again for sharing your experiences everyone! Tons of help!

debbie does duncan

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2016, 10:25:03 AM »
 Wearing custom orthotics for 10+ yrs. Life saver for $ 450 CAD.
Super high arch, narrow heel, superwide ball.
 My podiatrist recommended New Balance 928.   
 
I also re lace them , even when trying them on in the store.
 Google lacing patterns for high arch, then google for lacing for narrow heel.
It is a strange pattern that works for me and I no longer shred the backs of the shoes.
 BTW I use both relace patterns.

Good Luck.

Inaya

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2016, 10:31:50 AM »
Wearing custom orthotics for 10+ yrs. Life saver for $ 450 CAD.
Super high arch, narrow heel, superwide ball.
 My podiatrist recommended New Balance 928.   
 
I also re lace them , even when trying them on in the store.
 Google lacing patterns for high arch, then google for lacing for narrow heel.
It is a strange pattern that works for me and I no longer shred the backs of the shoes.
 BTW I use both relace patterns.

Good Luck.


Ooh, that's super useful. I never even thought about relacing. Thanks!

MrsPete

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2016, 09:08:05 PM »
One more thing:  My nurse daughter says you have to take care of your feet.  Foot problems lead to knee problems, which lead to hip problems, which lead to decreased mobility (possibly even a wheelchair), which leads to lack of exercise, which leads to diabetes, heart disease, and/or similar. 

What price to avoid all those issues?  This is not a vanity issue about fancy shoes, and it's not even about pain alone; it's a very real health concern.

Cornbread OMalley

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2016, 09:09:39 PM »
I have funky wide feet and have endured poorly fitting footwear for most of my life.  In addition, my right foot is a half size bigger than my left foot, which I learned most people suffer from this problem of different-sized feet.  I really enjoy hiking and got fed up with the cookie-cutter footwear sold at most outlets and decided to hunt for custom footwear settling on a pair of custom made hikers from Esatto footwear: http://www.esatto.biz/.  I submitted my order in January 2007 and received the boots in July; I took a full month to break in the all-leather boots.

The price tag of $800 was hefty but has been worth it.  But I have hiked in comfort ever since and will probably never buy another pair of hiking boots because the boots are can be resoled with new Vibram soles.  The boots are ultra durable and with proper care will last my entire life.

I received a fitting kit in the mail and followed their instructions to measure the dimensions of my feet.  But for you I suggest giving the company a call and see what they can do to customize your footwear.  They offer these rugged walkers that may suit your needs because they build their products around the characteristics of your foot.  I have found that while not exactly the most stylish the custom footwear may be worth their price tag in comfort and durability.

Moonwaves

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Re: Custom orthotics/shoes?
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2016, 05:52:27 PM »
Orthotics are absolutely worth it. I'm kind of asthonished that your doctor didn't recommend/insist you get them after surgery.

You could always save up a little bit more, take a trip to Germany and have some orthotics made for about €60 or €70 (that's the price if I don't get a prescription from the doctor. If I have a prescription they only cost about €10). Health insurance here generally allows you to get two pairs a year, I think. I'm bad at keeping track and am always being given out to for not going back on time. And it's fairly important to go back and get measured fairly regularly as things can change. I had my (much more expensive) orthotics from Ireland for about five years and it turned out by the time I got new ones in Germany that the old ones were now completely the wrong shape for my feet.  Which reminds me, I'm due a new pair and since I've moved recently I need to go and find myself a new orthopaedic doctor anyway (they're the ones responsible for orthotics over here).