It's funny how things change over time. When I was a teenager if anyone had said to me I needed orthotic insoles in my shoes I'd have probably cried and told them no way, they are just for old ladies! Nowadays things are changing, research shows that the orthotic insole market will reach around 3.5 billion dollars by the year 2020. With the increase of diabetes, arthritis and obesity more and more people are seeing their podiatrists and finding that an orthotic insole would help to alleviate some of their problems.
At the age of 44 years I am one of those people. I have been suffering with pain and various foot issues for quite a few years now and some of it I thought was bad luck (verrucas) and others I put down my being overweight. When I first saw a private podiatrist back in 2014 he treated my verrucas and tidied my feet up and I was very happy when the verruca went but the pain didn't so I headed back to see him again.
It was at this point he gave me a visual bio-mechanical assessment and declared I have short calf muscles and these are throwing my body alignment out of sync. As we talked and I told him of having been a tip-toe walker as a child, always having my feet positioned at ten-to-two and the amount of ankle sprains I have had in my life, he said it all made sense and could be the cause of my early-onset arthritis of the knees, the pain in the ball of my feet and my tight and uncomfortable calf muscles.
To cut a long story short, I was lucky enough to be able to be referred to an NHS podiatrist (as I am bio-mechanically incorrect) and have been seen over the last couple of years. I'm stretching every day (in all sorts of ways), I've had an MRI to rule out a Mortons Neuroma and if things haven't improved with my continuing stretching and the use of my orthotic insoles I'll be referred for calf lengthening surgery in a few months.
It is with that in mind that I have found some perfect shoes to wear my orthotic insoles in and I am praying that the insoles and the ongoing stretching will be enough to avoid surgery. When I saw the podiatrist back in September and he measured me up for my custom-made insoles he told me to go and get myself some shoes that ideally had laces or at least velcro fastenings, ones that had a small heel and that had a removable insole.
I knew Hotter would be the right place to start as I have a number of pairs of their shoes already and most have removable insoles. Due to the pain in my feet over the last few years Hotter has been the brand I have worn and relied on to be comfortable. So I headed to the Eastbourne store and met with James who gave me some great advice about what would work with an orthotic insole. The first pair I took home were the Karen style (shown above) in red.
I did as the podiatrist instructed and got my Karen shoes ready for when I next met him and he could approve them and fit the insoles. I was really happy with my Karen's in red, as they are my favourite colour and I felt they were still smart to wear for work, as well as everyday with jeans. On the day I was to get the orthotic insoles I turned up to find I had a different podiatrist and that the insoles I had been made were never going to fit in my Karen shoes. The insoles are full length (I thought they would be half) and they were at least a couple of centimetres deep meaning that I need to have a shoe with a higher edge.
Thankfully for me Hotter give you 90 days to exchange your unworn shoes and as the NHS had kept me waiting quite some time for these insoles when I finally got them this week I headed straight back over to Hotter in Eastbourne for an exchange and this time I saw Stephanie.
I have a pair of Leanne casual shoes back from when I travelled to Ethiopia in 2012 and I tried the orthotics out in them and they fit well, so I knew these were a style I could consider as well as Mist, Gravity and Solar that I saw online. As I need to wear extra wide fit shoes this restricted me a little in my choice but I felt I had a good selection and going to the store once I had my orthotic insoles was definitely the right way to do it. Stephanie was really patient with me and got me lots of different styles to try out. Between us we put my new insoles in and out of several pairs of shoes
|Black Solar, Grey Leanne and Black Leanne|
I didn't like the look of the black Leanne shoes on me but the slate grey looked much better, however I was really tempted by the red Gravity as I love red shoes and I think they looked more youthful on me. My sensible self had to prevail in the end and I choose the grey Leanne shoes as they were the most comfortable and at the end of the day that is what is needed. I knew that is I went for style over comfort I might never wear my insoles and I really don't want to have to have that surgery later in the year.
So here are my new Slate Leanne shoes below, you can see the orthotic insole against the insole that I took out of the Leanne shoe and you can see it fitted in the shoe and I still have enough height on the side of the shoe to be able to wear them comfortably. It turned out that lace-up shoes are the only option for me with these orthotic insoles and I want to give myself the best chance possible to get better.
Why not pin this post for later?
Disclosure: Thanks so much to Hotter for providing me with a pair of Leanne shoes for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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