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Ideal arch support in bespoke shoes

Coldfire3k3

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Ideally, for bespoke shoes should the arch support on the insole perfectly follow and fill the arch of your feet along the whole length of the arch? Should you be able to feel the arch support firmly press against the entire length of your arch while you walk?
 

breakaway01

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Not a shoemaker or podiatrist but I have custom insoles for ski boots. Most people’s arches are not static unless their feet are very rigid. The arch will flatten to some extent with weighing. So with regards to your question, should the shoe/insole follow the contour of the weighted or the unweighted foot? If the arch support follows the unweighted foot then you may find that there is too much pressure on the arch when the foot is weighted. I think there is no single correct answer. It depends on your own foot characteristics and probably also on your shoemaker’s opinions on the subject. Curious to hear what @DWFII and @Nick V. and @ntempleman think.
 
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DWFII

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Curious to hear what @DWFII...think.
My own take on this is that 'built-in' arch supports don't offer much in the way of, esp. long term, support. Even after-market arch supports are suspect.

Doctor prescribed, and supplied, arch-supports are a different matter.

The normal, healthy foot (and that can include feet that tend to pronate a little or have low arches) doesn't need an arch support. The skeletal arch supports itself...to the degree it will.

Human beings, as a species, did not evolve needing arch supports.

In a shoe, if the arch support is not semi rigid, it will collapse as the shoe is worn. In the same way, if a foot wants to pronate, nothing short of an orthotic (or other palliative measures) can prevent it from 'walking over' the medial side of a shoe.

If the foot needs an arch support...I mean really needs one...a built in arch support will not do much to support the arch. If the foot doesn't really...really...need an arch support, it is mechanically and functionally unnecessary. Probably won't do any harm but probably won't benefit much either.

Besides if the foot doesn't need an arch support why would anyone want one?

IMO...
 

Alan Bee

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My own take on this is that 'built-in' arch supports don't offer much in the way of, esp. long term, support. Even after-market arch supports are suspect.

Doctor prescribed, and supplied, arch-supports are a different matter.

The normal, healthy foot (and that can include feet that tend to pronate a little or have low arches) doesn't need an arch support. The skeletal arch supports itself...to the degree it will.

Human beings, as a species, did not evolve needing arch supports.

In a shoe, if the arch support is not semi rigid, it will collapse as the shoe is worn. In the same way, if a foot wants to pronate, nothing short of an orthotic (or other palliative measures) can prevent it from 'walking over' the medial side of a shoe.

If the foot needs an arch support...I mean really needs one...a built in arch support will not do much to support the arch. If the foot doesn't really...really...need an arch support, it is mechanically and functionally unnecessary. Probably won't do any harm but probably won't benefit much either.

Besides if the foot doesn't need an arch support why would anyone want one?

IMO...
@DWFII

I have flat feet and after many years of frustration with dress shoes and with age foot pain, I went for medically prescribed orthotics from a podiatrist. My RTW shoes now fit much better (but not perfect). Most of my knee pain is gone too.

I recently had some shoes made by St. Crispins on a highly customized last. St. C are known for their very firm arches (inner side wall). I reckoned, this would hold my foot up and keep it from, as you say, 'walking over the medial side of the shoe'.

I had the 1st pair (black whole-cut) made as a regular shoe and it fits like a drum, almost magical. The only problem is it is so fitted I cant even wear it with an orthotic. I would have liked a pelotte under the foot to lift the mid-arch up a little.

For the second pair, I asked for an orthotic to be built into the shoe. I send them a copy of my orthotics to mirror. This also meant the shoe had to be slightly wider in the forefoot and higher in the instep. Somehow, they forgot to build in the "pelote" and "side arch". At the moment, the shoe fits perfectly with my medical orthotics. But without them, you can feel the extra space in the front of shoes and instep causing slight heel movement.

The company has offered to take the shoes back and build in the side arch and pellotte as originally intended. However, I am of two minds. One mind says "leave well enough alone" and the other says "send it back". Now reading your response above, I am perplexed by your (expert) opinion that inbuilt orthotics hardly make any difference.

Here are some pics. Would really appreciate your opinion.

Alan Bee

XYo3f1XkTa6S7YjrTYux+w.jpg
fullsizeoutput_20ae.jpeg
vdZumj3KTJ2JcHdrmT4JNQ.jpg
fullsizeoutput_20ac.jpeg
6r5HdS4hQtS7YKCsnSrUYA.jpg
fVn0jEX5QmiJxKr7h03mjg.jpg
 

DWFII

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@Alan Bee

I am not a doctor, I'm just a shoemaker and someone who knows a bit (relatively a lot, actually) about leather. My opinion is that a leather arch support will not hold up over time. It's like trying to support a house on the side of a storm eroded cliff with a couple of 2x4's toe-nailed into the side of the cliff.

As I said above, a real arch support...a "prescribed orthotic from a podiatrist"... is, as you indicated, the only effective solution.

Having said all that, I have flat feet as well. I have had them all my life. I am 73 years old. I have never worn shoes with arch supports. I have been told by podiatrists that I pronate. Yet, for all of that, I do not experience any significant problems with my back or knees or my gait. Despite the diagnosis, I don't strike or wear out my heels and outsoles any differently than someone without flat feet.

But like so many people I wondered about it. And talked to a number of foot specialists...even took a seminar with a podiatrist.

In that particular class, the podiatrist made a statement that has stuck with me--"if you don't have any trouble walking and you don't have any pain, your foot is normal."

FWIW, people with 'pathologically' flat feet have real trouble 'toeing off' and tend to shuffle rather than walk normally.
 

Coldfire3k3

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@DWFII do the shoes and boots you make have a relatively flat insole or do you still give them some shape at the arch?
 

DWFII

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Normal configuration in the arch area. Nothing extraordinary done to address my 'flat' feet.
 

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