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Flat feet in dress shoes

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
So, until recently I didn't care about how my dress shoes look.. recently being about a year and a half ago. Now, as you would probably presume with me being a member of this board, I do.

I just bought some dark brown Mackays - the last in the region and they were in my size! Woo. I also purchased some JL Jermyn IIs from eBay for 750 that I'm considering returning (perhaps a domestic wants to purchase, size 10E, never worn out, currently being polished by Sky Valet). I also have some chestnut-colored Barker Blacks with some nice antiquing.. Gucci loafers.. I've spent entirely too much on shoes in the past 2 months. All of them have the same issue.

My flat feet force a crease on the inner side of shoe. I need some sort of small arch support that does not take up any area in the shoe. The salesman at Ralph Lauren in DC has flat feet as well and suggested some sort of triangular support? I'm not sure where to purchase something like this. Does anyone else have any suggestions? The crease it creates is completely unsightly and makes me want to buy only Eccos and Mephistos. Those shoes will do the same thing but likely be just as if not more comfortable and well, only cost 150-200 bucks a pop. :P Thanks for your assistance.
post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 
The medical term for what I do that causes this is overpronation. I see some pads that are not as encumbering as full orthotics. Anyone have any other recommendations?
post #3 of 27
If you are looking for just a little extra support, the folks at Sky Valet should be able to help you. But if your problem is severe, I would certainly recommend seeing an orthopedist or podiatrist to get a proper evaluation, professional advice on footwear, and an appropriate set of orthotics.
post #4 of 27
I recently discovered a range of insoles called Orthaheel designed by an podiatrist. I now find it unimaginable to go without them now and am constantly amazed at what a difference they make. The difference they make is truly remarkable. They have solid arch support built in (I also have flat feet) but also correct excessive pronation. They have a website They have a US/Can toll free call number (I assume you are in the US but they also have a UK and Australian toll free number): 1800 581 4454 I have tried a couple of their products to date. I have the Orthoheel regular which is a 3/4 length product and fits most of my shoes. Some shoes already a little snug need the Slimfit version, although the arch support here is close to non-existent. I am also rather happy that I have found that the Orthoheel Workforce (a full length insole) allows me to comfortably fit into shoes a 1/2 size bigger than usual for me. I now have a wider range of shoes to chose from! If you are going to get a professional evaluation, I would recommend a podiatrist. I would only ever go to an orthopedist (ie a surgeon) if the podiatrist recommended it - which is to say you have a problem so severe that it needs surgery rather than orthotics. However, if you have common garden flat feet like me then Orthaheels may be all you need. Lastly I have NO commercial interest in the product!!!
post #5 of 27
the website is actually,
post #6 of 27
Originally Posted by TomW
the website is actually,

Quite right. My typo!
post #7 of 27
i also have arch problems because of my flat feet. my doctor told me to try on spenco insoles, the ones with the hard plastic base. i can say that they work very well.
post #8 of 27
Originally Posted by acidicboy
i also have arch problems because of my flat feet. my doctor told me to try on spenco insoles, the ones with the hard plastic base. i can say that they work very well.

Do they correct excessive pronation as well like the OrthAheel?
post #9 of 27
i certainly think that the hard plastic support that can be adjusted to your own arch can help, but then i think it would be more prudent to go see a doctor regarding this.
post #10 of 27
Actually, I am a doctor. That said, I have never met a doctor trained in any country who is well versed in podiatry. Few medical schools include it in their curriculae and when they do it is too superficially covered to be of much use. Ditto for dentistry. Even many orthopedic surgeons (ie orthopedists) will have only a fair background in this area unless they are foot specialists. In which case you may find yourself being referred to a podiatrist anyway (and you'll 'foot' two bills rather than just one!). Surgeons being surgeons, they know best only when it comes to operating. If you need an operation go to a surgeon - otherwise I suggest consulting a podiatrist first. That said flat feet with excessive pronation is very common. Most people go through life blissfully unaware it is even an issue. If everyone with this went to a orthopedist, they would be inundated. For most of us with common garden flat feet, trying these sorts of insoles seems a reasonable thing to do, especially if they provide as much comfort as Orthaheels do.
post #11 of 27
I have this same problem. What I do is just plain avoid dress shoes when they're not required. If I'm doing something that requires them, they come right off when I get home. For casual purposes, I wear Mefistos or Asic Motion Control shoes. These are really quite good, really reduces the pain when walking. On top of that, I have bad circulation in my legs due to a random disease. God hates me.
post #12 of 27
sator, or doctor sator, orthaheels are not available in our area, i believe. are they really that good?
post #13 of 27
Having given it a bit of thought I realised that insoles like the Orthaheels are ready to wear insoles. In my experience, Orthaheel have really changed the whole experience of wearing shoes. I have tried one or two other products and found them dissappointing especially the range from Scholl. For me the different range of Orthaheels gives me enough flexibility that I can find something to fit every shoe. That is only my experience.

As for podiatrists, they can custom order what is in effect a bespoke insole for your feet. I am sure if you took along your John Lobbs and Edward Green shoes and asked for a specific 'bespoke' insole for each and every one, a podiatrist could do that for you. They would think you were mad and it would cost an absolute fortune, but it can be done. However, at about $25 USD each, the Orthaheels provide me with such an increase in comfort that I don't know how I ever managed without them and I feel little need to go 'bespoke' so to speak.

Next, I thought I would clarify my recommendations. I would say try these sorts of inexpensive insoles that correct pronation and support the arch. If RTW insoles fail to provide sufficient support or don't fit your shoes then go MTM.

A podiatrist should be your first port of call. However, if you are in need of a recommendation for a good podiatrist in your local area I suggest going to your Family Physician or Internist (GP if you are in the UK/Canada/SA/Australia) to find out. These sorts of doctors regularly refer patients to a podiatrist because many patients (eg those with diabetes and poor circulation) need meticulous foot care to avoid catastrophes such as infections that can even result in amputation. They should be able to refer you to someone they trust. An orthopedist may be offended if you just go along to be referred to a podiatrist, but if you do see one make absolutely sure you ask the secretary when you ring for a booking that they are a foot specialist. However, your podiastrist will be your best person for finding out the best orthopedist specialising in feet, in case 'conservative management' is inadequate for your needs and you need to consider a surgical option. It is always good to have gone down the non-surgical pathway first and a good podiatrist should be able to tell you when your problem has gotten too much for them to handle.

I hope you find this bit of advice helpful.
post #14 of 27
Originally Posted by acidicboy

orthaheels are not available in our area, i believe. are they really that good?

I just took a look at their website and it looks a bit hyped up, like something out of late night TV advertising. That said, my personal experience with the range is highly favourable and I do note that for the US they offer a 30 day money back 'guarantee'.

I quote from the website:

"Although effective, "ňútraditional' orthotics can take weeks to produce and are often costly. To provide his patients with a more efficient, less expensive alternative Phillip invented a range of heat-moldable pre-fabricated orthotics which can be dispensed and customised on-the-spot without the need for any casting!...Today, thousands of medical practitioners around the world are using this unique invention and VASYLI heat-moldable orthotics are the leading medically dispensed orthotic in many countries....In 1991 Phillip Vasyli invented the award-winning ORTHAHEEL orthotic (regular model) - the world's first and only true orthotic available without a doctor's prescription."

Orthaheel Regular is the place to start trying out the range. If you want you can try the Orthaheel Workforce if you have flat feet, spend a lot of time on your feet and prefer a full length product. But you need reasonable room in the shoe to fit it in - it makes the shoe fit rather tightly. I find the Orthaheel Slimfit (intended for women's shes actually) useful for really tight fitting shoes that won't take the Regulars. They may lack arch support but they do correct pronation a bit.

As for all the claims about reducing back pain, knee pain etc, I take it all with a grain of salt. But my feet do feel so much better after taking my shoes off after the end of long day and I do know that sports physiologist think that a problem in one part of the body can cause problems downstream of the kinetic chain of events and cause problems. So it is quite plausible that it can at least help with these other ailments. And for about $20 - 25 bucks, it's worth a try.
post #15 of 27
I have flat feet. If I order the orthoheel does that mean that I have to buy all new shoes? I mean will the product make my current shoes to tight? Or will they fit right into my AE and still permit the shoe to fit the same?
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