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Orthopedic footwear : Comfort or Style?

Before stepping out, do you ever wonder how some footwear doesn’t fit as perfect and as comfortable as how you want it to? Or if it does, do they tend to cause muscle aches, pain, and/or soreness in the ankles or heels?

A walk to orthopaedic foot world

Well, that might be the common case of flat foot, a condition where the foot is arched lower than usual, which causes discomfort when wearing any type of footwear. It is most common in children and if it is not treated further, it can lead to symptoms during adulthood.

What are orthopaedic footwears?

Just take a normal footwear and give it a little twist! Ranging from boots, sneakers, flats, slip on shoes, wedges, heels and many more. This footwear is designed specially, and mostly for flat foot people to give them the best and most comfortable position for walking, with a strong support on the feet and legs.

Orthopaedic footwears comes with a supportive hard sole, or custom-made insoles if needed. They're removable to accommodate different sizes of foot arches, or any other kind of foot problems such as diabetic foot patients; a type of condition which causes the foot to be pressurised. In this case, wearing normal footwear may cause further problems creating psychological and physical negative effects.

Unfortunately until this day, orthopedic footwear focus on the soles, rather than other parts of the foot which are casually dismissed. Therefore, diabetic foot patients seek to strive for foot comfort. There is still room for improvement and more orthopedic designs are on the horizon yet have not been created, as seen in a research article by Dr. Goksen’s A new approach to foot problems caused by pressure at diabetic foot patients: total orthopedic footwear.

Other footwear patients who could benefit from orthopedic footwear include degenerative disorder patients, arthritis, hammertoes and patients with foot conditions. The aim is to offer a strong base, with extra depth of insoles and comfort especially after walking for long hours.

A journal written by Barbu, Ionel, Ileana and Daniel's Low - cost Orthopedic shoes based on recycled materials: Manufacturing, Plantar offers an innovative possible solution to create affordable and provide support for people who suffer foot problems by using recycled materials to produce orthopedic shoe insoles.


What comes to mind when the words 'orthopedic' and 'fashion' are mentioned, is that they most definitely do not correlate with one another. Most orthopedic footwear tend to be heavy and bulky as there aren’t many brands with orthopedic shoes that are designed similarly to usual footwear. Although there are popular brands on board such as Birkenstock, Clarks, and VIONIC, choices are still limited and not necessarily available worldwide.

With that said, many patients without orthopedic shoes struggle with day-to-day activities. Patients who suffer with Parkinson's disease or any other disabilities may struggle in being able to tie their shoes. Therefore, the solution would be to implement Velcro, which creates a slightly unattractive design look.

A shoe brand, DT Therapeutic Diabetic Designer Orthopedic Footwear, had an innovative idea to creating a Tie-Less Lacing System, with straps wrapped on both sides of the shoes, allowing for orthopedic patients to gently tug instead of having the trouble of tying them.

Assumption to transformation

So why not change the stigma of “ugly bulky shoes” to comfort and confidence? We need a variety of fashionable choices and styles which are accessible around the world, made using materials which are low in cost and affordable to relieve those who suffer from aches and pain in their feet.

It is definitely a challenge to design and create orthopedic footwear. By improving comfort and focusing on priorities of satisfaction, it is possible to combine both fashion and comfort. A person can be comfortable in their shoes and look stylish at the same time too!

"Shoes are like makeup for the feet."
Edmundo Castillo, shoe designer


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