While shoe manufacturers do their best to create a shoe that will be comfortable, suitable and have a good fit for many, the reality is that
our feet don’t follow a one-style-fits-all model - and so we can’t expect our shoes to offer us the right level of support we
need straight off the bat. This is especially true when we consider the numerous unique features of our feet, the conditions that can affect
the structure and function of our feet (like bunions, claw
toes, leg length differences, ankle joint
fusions and more), our injury history, our physical activity levels - and even the natural age-related changes to our feet over time.
Instead of getting a custom orthopaedic shoe, which are often synonymous with being large, bulky and unfashionable, a simpler and easier solution is opting for our existing shoes to be modified to best suit our needs with footwear modifications - a service offered by very few podiatry clinics, but that we can accommodate here at The Feet People.
Footwear modifications are customised changes to your existing shoes made by your podiatrist to optimise their fit, comfort or function.
Each modification is carefully selected to match the unique needs of your feet and your circumstances, and the modifications are backed by a
comprehensive understanding of the biomechanical structure and function of the feet. This means that we know the exact effect the
modification is designed to create, ensuring it’s going to be well suited to your feet, activity levels, lifestyle and goals.
The benefits of modifying your existing footwear include that:
Our podiatrists offer an extensive range of shoe modifications to best meet your needs. Our experience also means that we can also provide
one-off custom modifications to match even the most unique feet and circumstances. If you have something in mind and want to see if we can
help, please contact us.
Heel raise (1-15mm)
A heel raise involves adding extra material to the heel portion of the shoe, at a thickness of between 1 and 15mm. This height is progressively bevelled down to 0mm below the arch, giving it a wedge-like appearance. We may use a heel raise in cases where:
Full length raise (single - 1-30mm+)
A full length raise lifts not only the heel, but the entire length along the bottom of the shoe. We use full length raises up to a maximum height of over 30mm fairly often to account for leg length differences, where the difference in length between the two legs is resulting in pain and other symptoms in the lower limbs. By lifting the shorter leg to match the difference, we are able to balance the alignment of the knees and hips, the effects of which often reverberate onto the muscles of the back as well as the lower legs.
refers to the addition of extra support or padding to specific areas of the shoe. We see great benefits in those who need added stability
and support through the midfoot in order to achieve improved foot function, slow progression of ligament, tendon and joint problems, and
in minimising the risk of sprains or injuries. It can also relieve pain and reduce rubbing in certain areas. Buttressing is done by making
an external modification to the inside or outside of the shoe (or both).
If you find that one side of your shoe is collapsing or giving way, this is a sign that you may need extra buttressing in this area. We use buttressing for conditions including:
relasting, we increase the surface area of the sole to make it wider for added support and comfort. This is beneficial for those who:
rocker sole can come in many different forms - we offer eight different options that we’ll select based on what will be most
beneficial for your feet and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Imagine the base of your shoe like a rocking horse - this is similar
to what a rocker sole looks like, at least in some part depending on the type of rocker sole that is best for your foot.
A rocker sole helps you rock through each step in the specific area of the foot that is selected to rock, meaning the shoe naturally does some of the work of walking for you to ease the strain on damaged, fused or painful areas. We offer various types of rocker soles including:
Research has shown that rocker soles have been successful for a range of conditions including:
flare modification can be added to either the inside or outside of the sole of the shoe, around the midsole and outsole area, to broaden
the base of support. This can help improve the stability of the shoe, and gently move the foot away from the modified side, especially
where the feet severely roll in and out when walking.
Haglund bump relief
addition of an in-shoe heel pad or heel lift can adjust the position of the heel in the shoe, and raise it sufficiently to relieve
pressure away from the haglund’s deformity (pump bump).
A heel collar is an additional strip of material that is stitched around the top line of the shoe, which may be padded. This converts the
shoe into a higher-top shoe or boot, which has been shown to decrease the amount that the foot inverts during walking, which can decrease
the risk of ankle sprains.
Stretching a shoe can help increase the width or length of the shoe to improve the fit and reduce the risk of injury. As many feet
don’t fit the traditional mould of a shoe, this is a feature many use for optimum fit and comfort.
It’s not uncommon for the soles of the shoes to wear out before the uppers do. We are able to replace the outer soles of many shoes by
resoling them, prolonging the life of your shoes and the support and comfort your shoes offer your feet.
Straps are an important fastening mechanism that can help ensure the best fit and therefore optimal function, support and stability of your
shoe. If the length of the strap on your shoe isn’t quite right, we can lengthen it, helping keep you comfortable on your feet.
If you have specific shoes you love that best support your feet but would prefer them in a different colour, we can help by changing their
colour in many cases. This will be impacted by their original colour and the material from which they’re made.
Velcro is a fantastic fastening mechanism, but is prone to naturally losing its grip over time with daily use. We can replace your velcro to
give your straps a new lease on life, enabling them to effectively support and stabilise your foot inside of your shoe.
Other shoe repairs
If you have a shoe repair need that isn’t listed here, give us a call and speak to our podiatrists. As we complete everything
in-house, we are often able to accommodate custom requests or problem solve an innovative way of achieving the goal of the shoe
Footwear modifications can play a big role in improving the fit, comfort, support and stability of your feet, as well as help reduce the
progression of a range of foot problems and complications. Our podiatrists know the value that shoe modifications bring to our patients, and
we are one of the only clinics in the area to offer this service. If you have a foot problem that makes it difficult for you to fit a shoe
comfortably, you have a medical condition that has altered the structure or function of your feet, or walking in shoes has never felt
comfortable for you, come in for an appointment with our experienced podiatry team.
Do I need footwear modifications, or are there alternative treatments?
Footwear modifications are only a treatment that we prescribe for those where it is clinically indicated, and where it will be beneficial to
their ongoing foot health and function. There may be alternative treatments that are better suited - such as the use of custom foot
orthotics, but this really depends on the nature of the problem or injury and a person's unique factors, such as the structure of their
feet. In many cases, footwear modifications are an adjunct to other treatments that work together to help meet a person’s goals. In
all cases, we’ll discuss your treatment options with you and then make a plan forwards together. If you do not want to have footwear
modifications, we’ll likely be able to implement other strategies to help achieve similar goals.
How long will it take to get my footwear modifications?
Our footwear modifications take on average two weeks to complete from the first appointment where we select the modifications needed.
How often will I need to replace or update my modified shoes?
Roughly at the same timeframe that you’d naturally wear through a pair of the same shoes.
Can I continue to wear my current shoes, or do I need to purchase new ones?
If your shoes are in good condition and have the right supportive features to offer the best care for your feet then there is no reason that
you cannot keep wearing the same shoes. If your shoes are worn down and it is time to replace them anyway (or it is close to this time),
we’ll recommend replacing them first so you get the most out of your modifications.
Are there any risks or side effects associated with footwear modifications?
As footwear modifications are custom prescribed for your feet, the risks are very few. You may need up to a week to get used to the feel of
the modifications, as it may feel different from a standard shoe - though most people find that it is a much more comfortable difference.
Can I still use orthotic devices with modified shoes?
Absolutely. We’ll ensure your orthotics are still fitting optimally to your shoes after they’ve been modified.
How will the modified shoes affect my gait?
In the exact way that we prescribe them to! We’ll carefully select your modifications in order to make the changes you need to help
you walk and live more comfortably and with optimum function. So the way your gait is affected depends entirely on the problems or injuries
you’re facing, and how we’ve collaboratively chosen to approach your foot care. While your gait may be affected in many ways,
they will all be positive changes.
Can I participate in sports or physical activities with modified shoes?
Yes, you can still participate in sports and physical activities with modified shoes - if you’re otherwise able to and that was your
intent. We always prescribe your shoes and modifications to work in with your goals and lifestyle - so if that’s to help you stay
active, then we’ll discuss this with you and ensure your modifications align with these goals.
Can footwear modifications completely resolve my foot condition, or will I still need additional treatments?
This really depends on the reason for your modifications and will vary from person to person. It also depends on your symptoms. For example,
for someone with a significant leg length difference following knee or hip surgery, implementing a full length raise on the shorter leg
after they’ve resumed movement after surgery may be all that is needed to help prevent future problems associated with a leg length
difference. If you’re currently dealing with a recurring or ongoing injury or chronic pain, however, it is likely we’ll use
other therapies alongside footwear modifications to help you get the best results. Ultimately, it’s all about helping you get the best
results and outcomes for your foot health, well-being and quality of life.
Are there any specific care instructions for maintaining and cleaning modified shoes?
You’ll want to care for your modified shoes in similar ways that you care for existing shoes - focusing on ways to help support their
longevity. We’ll give you any special instructions as needed when we fit your shoes, depending on the type of modifications that you