While shoe manufacturers do their best to create a shoe that will have a good fit for many, the reality is that the unique features of our feet, paired with a number of conditions that can affect the structure and function of our feet like bunions, claw toes, leg length differences, ankle joint fusions and more, mean that we may gain optimum comfort and function with a custom shoe fit. On top of this, our feet change naturally over time. Instead of getting a custom orthopaedic shoe, which are often synonymous with being bulky and unfashionable, we may alternatively opt for our existing shoes to be modified to best suit our needs with footwear modifications.
Footwear modifications are changes to your existing shoes made by your podiatrist to optimise their fit, comfort or function. Each modification is carefully thought through and backed by a comprehensive understanding of the biomechanical structure and function of the feet. We should note that footwear modifications is something that few podiatry clinics offer.
The benefits of modifying your existing footwear include that:
It is a custom service that considers the unique needs of your feet
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.
A heel raise denotes a gradual lift of the heel which is at its maximum thickness (anywhere between 1-15mm) at the back of the shoe, and is bevelled down to 0mm over the area of the heel, finishing below the arch. We may use this lift in cases where:
A full length raise lifts not only the heel, but the entire length along the bottom of the shoe. We use full length raises 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.
Buttressing is for 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 to minimise the risk of sprains or injuries. It 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:
During relasting, we increase the surface area of the sole to make it wider for added support and comfort. This is beneficial for those who:
A rocker sole can come in many different forms. 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. Research has shown that rocker soles have been successful for a range of conditions including:
A flare modification can be added to either the inside or outside of the sole of the shoe 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.
The 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.
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 modification.
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 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.
You can select a shoe that you like the look of, meaning you are much more likely to wear it regularly
Discover our other services & treatments