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shoe and/or orthotic types

Posted by JudyS on 7/23/01 at 14:39 (054042)

I have a question for the docs and orthodudes......I have very high arches, PF for 3 years (although now about 25% of what it was a year ago) and have tried several kinds of custom or otc inserts. I'm very sure that I've given them the proper amount of breaking in time but I still think they contribute to sore arches.
Having said that.....last week I spent about 5 days constantly on my feet working on, of all things, ceilings. For that entire time I wore an old pair of Streicher clogs - they are what I usually slip in to when I get up. I wore no other shoes nor did I go barefoot during that time and I was on my feet for at least 10 hours each day - and I had almost no soreness to speak of!
My question is, how can I mimic that kind of footbed in an athletic shoe or an orthotic? Right now, my small fortune in athletic shoes just don't provide that kind of firmness (although I don't have any NB) and my orthotics seem to really aggravate the entire arch. If I could get a handle on this arch soreness and fatigue, I could really begin to determine the effectiveness of the ESWT I had in June.

Re: shoe and/or orthotic types

laura I on 7/26/01 at 21:50 (054407)

judy- i have very high arches as well- what shoes and/or sandals have you found to be the best?

Re: shoe and/or orthotic types

JudyS on 7/26/01 at 22:06 (054410)

Hi Laura (great name!) - the 'what kind of shoes' is one of those hard-to-answer PF questions! The ones I've liked the most are Josef Seibel clogs. I have some Mephisto sandles but find that the arch is just too pronounced for me. Birks are no way Jose for me. Pretty much anything that has a pronounced arch in it seems to be too aggravating. You'd think it would be just the opposite. But here's my theory (recently developed); a high arch means a relatively 'shorter' arch i.e., shorter distance from front of foot to insertion at heel, and it seems most better-quality shoes and orthotics have a 'longer' arch than my foot can handle- perhaps because the great majority of them have the over-pronator in mind. It tends to put too much pressure on the heel insertion point and causes that much more soreness at the insertion. Recently I tried on several pair of New Balance per many recommendations here but I'm afraid to purchase any because it seems the arches in them do the same thing. So far, clogs seem to be the most pain-free....which is a drag in the summer!
I hope Donna sees your question because she's done some remarkably in-depth research on the whole 'high arch' issue and can probably give you some good advice.

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 02:13 (054432)

Hi Laura,

Since Judy mentioned my name, I'll stick my two cents in on shoes for high arches. Lately, I've had some sucess with the outdoor type shoes. Most companies like Timberland, Merrell, etc, make shoes usually labeled a multi-sport shoe. Sometimes called a light, or urban hiker. They have more support than your normal run of the mill sneaker, and are usually very supportive in the midfoot, and heel, and have good lateral support which is important for high arched feet. They are both supportive, and cushioned without having the mushy feeling of most athletic shoes. If you feel you need a little extra lift, or cushion the over the counter spenco cross trainer inserts work well in these shoes, because the shoes have a good stable base.

Not every shoe in the lines of these outdoor companies may be good for you. The trail runners may be to soft in the heel area, or too flexible, and the regular hikers may be to stiff. The multi-sports shoes, usually have a comfortable firm EVA sole, with added midfoot support, yet they will flex at the toes only where they are supposed too. They are also neutral soles, with no medial posting. Some even make sandals with similar soles. It could be no special name at all as long as the shoe has good mid-foot support, does not have an overly cushioned heel, and has a cushioned, flexible forefoot.

Hold the shoe in one hand at the heel area, and put your other hand on the front of toe area and grab it, and push hard. If the shoes bends anywhere else except the toe area, (for example more towards the arch), don't buy it. I tried a couple of lower end North face shoes for example that bent in half so you have to be careful. Test each shoe There were plenty of NB shoes that did the same thing. Their 851 x-trainer for example had terrible midfoot support. There isn't one shoe in the NB line I could wear except maybe their 850 hiking shoe. In my opinion most of their shoes are terrible for high arched feet including their outdoor looking walking shoes.

Also make sure the upper is supportive. You may do well with some Mephistos, but not all the uppers are that supportive, they don't fit everyone well, and they are very expensive. There are a lot of more reasonable alternatives. I found an inexpensive black suede hiker type shoe in a discount store for $30.00, that feels great, and my pod liked it too. It was a discontinued shoe from Reebook's adventure line called the Tundra. I normally hate Reebok, especially the DMX series (dangerous), but this shoe was very well made.

I can only give you suggestions of some that I've tried lately, that seem to work well for high arches. At least this may give you a start on the type of shoe I'm talking about. If you have an outdoor store near you, that may be your best bet, because they will have many brands under one roof. You won't usually see these shoes in regular dept stores, like Garmont, Montrail, Lowa, etc. Sometimes they call them outdoor cross trainers. Even Adidas makes some nice outdoor shoes. Look for stores like REI, Track and Trail, EMS, Paragon sports, etc.

Some that I tried so far are the Rockport Ronan from their adventure series, Timberland Free range hiker (very good shoe), and their Spruce pass hiker (little softer). Merrell makes several in this category, but stay away from ones like the Jungle mock (not enough midfoot support) and other Merrell's with the rounded heels. Dunham boot makers bought out by New Balance has some supportive comfortable shoes. Some have a softer feel, because NB has added absorb to the heels and forefoot of several of their models, so you may or may not like them.

Also some Eccos are very nice. I never knew they made so many shoes until I went into one of their flagship stores. I don't like most of their shoes from their soft series, yet they have a nice looking one called the soft sneaker that just looks like a nice looking shoe, that comes in a tie, and slip-on yet it's pretty supportive, and comes in various nubuck colors. This is for a dressier look, but I wouldn't recommend them for very heavy walking. Also look at some from their sub-zone line. They also have one called the Receptor, but it is a heavier duty shoe. Ecco makes some nice sandals also. If you can find any by Boreal (tough in the U.S) they recently started making some very nice urban walkers.
There may even be a few cross trainers from regular athletic lines that you could wear if they meet the above criteria.

The important thing to remember is high arched feet tend to have most of the weight of your body concentrated on the balls of the foot, and heel. They are usually unstable laterally also. The shoe has to have decent midfoot support to balance out the weight, and have a good lift in the heel, and have good lateral stability. If the heel, or midfoot is too soft you will sink into the softer bits more, put more strain on the fascia, plus lose more stability through out the entire foot.

Good luck, and happy shoe hunting.

Donna

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Julie on 7/27/01 at 02:36 (054436)

Wonderful post, Donna: thank you! Really useful for all of us, and not just high-arched people. I was particularly interested in what you said about Eccos: I had no idea they manufactured so many styles and types. I wore and loved the original soft Eccos for years - but of course not now.

Re: Julie Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 03:33 (054441)

Good morning Julie,

I think most of the shoes I mentioned could really be used for any foot type, because they are just good supportive shoes.

Ecco has come a long way. I was surprised they came out with such a beefy shoe called the Receptor, and have so many other supportive styles. I think there are a couple of Ecco flagship stores in London.

Also, take a look at this Boreal site. Once you get into it click on the England flag. Then click on walking adventure. They have some very nice looking walkers available for the UK market. I know we have different foot types, but if you get a chance to try them let me know what you think.

http://www.borealusa.com/

It's good night for me.

Donna

Re: Julie PS Boreal site Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 03:46 (054443)

Julie,

The US Boreal site under adventure shoes gives a more detailed description of the shoes.

Bye again,

Donna

Re: Julie Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Julie on 7/27/01 at 09:31 (054465)

The walking adventure shoes on the England site (I can't get into the American one) look lovely. I've e-mailed the UK contact to find out about stockists and will have a look at them sometime. I'll have another look at Eccos, too. Thanks!

Re: Julie Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Julie on 7/27/01 at 09:34 (054466)

Donna, I meant to say that I've been getting on fine with my North Face Targas. I saw your comment about their cheaper lines being too bendy, and wondered. But I've tested them again, and they bend only at the metatarsal. They're comfortable, thick-soled, wide, and have plenty of room in the toe box - i.e. they seem to answer all my requirements. Do you know them?

Re: Julie - Boreal/Targa Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 13:25 (054522)

Hi Julie,

I don't know if you tried this, but when you come into the Boreal site, don't click on the USA flag, it won't work. Just click on the adventure shoes block above. It's the third one in with the person wearing the backpack. I hope you find the shoes. I'm going to search for them here too.

I looked at so many North face shoes it's hard to remember exactly what the Targa was like. The store had a lot of trail running shoes too. I remember one shoe that looked similar to the Targa called the Skylite that was reinforced in the midfoot with an external shank that felt very supportive. The Targa as far as I remember had a slightly softer midfoot, but I think it would be fine if you are using a plastic orthotic. Also I've been told sometimes shoes are made differently in other countries, so the shoe may not be exactly the same as the USA model.

Donna

Re: shoe and/or orthotic types

laura I on 7/27/01 at 18:24 (054562)

thanks Judy- the most comfortable shoes I have tried so far are the mesphisto clogs- they had leather uppers- the salesman who told me he used to make prosthetics recommended them - they were soooo comfortable!
the only problem is I live in Florida and wanted an open toe shoe to wear in the house on the hard tile floors-outsided I don't mind clogs or enclosed shoes, but in the house - I have tried naoat which were very similiar to mephisto and a little cheaper- they were pretty comfortable-this is very hard because while I have spent $100.00 or more for comfortable shoes (bunion issues) now I have to have several pairs for the pf problem and I don't want to waste my money.

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

laura I on 7/27/01 at 21:16 (054582)

thank you donna for all the information- i will be sure to take my time when searching for the right shoe- I'll let you know

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Jamie S on 10/05/01 at hrmin (062302)

Try Dexters - they have a good catalog online, you can search for high arch shoes. Many have removable insoles for orthotics and many are approved by the aapa.

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Andrea R. on 10/05/01 at 12:51 (062308)

Where I live there are Dexter outlets everywhere.

It is very hard to find a pair that fit properly. The one pair of deck shoes I bought years ago turned my feet black from the dye.

I would not order them online unless you can try them on first.

Re: shoe and/or orthotic types

laura I on 7/26/01 at 21:50 (054407)

judy- i have very high arches as well- what shoes and/or sandals have you found to be the best?

Re: shoe and/or orthotic types

JudyS on 7/26/01 at 22:06 (054410)

Hi Laura (great name!) - the 'what kind of shoes' is one of those hard-to-answer PF questions! The ones I've liked the most are Josef Seibel clogs. I have some Mephisto sandles but find that the arch is just too pronounced for me. Birks are no way Jose for me. Pretty much anything that has a pronounced arch in it seems to be too aggravating. You'd think it would be just the opposite. But here's my theory (recently developed); a high arch means a relatively 'shorter' arch i.e., shorter distance from front of foot to insertion at heel, and it seems most better-quality shoes and orthotics have a 'longer' arch than my foot can handle- perhaps because the great majority of them have the over-pronator in mind. It tends to put too much pressure on the heel insertion point and causes that much more soreness at the insertion. Recently I tried on several pair of New Balance per many recommendations here but I'm afraid to purchase any because it seems the arches in them do the same thing. So far, clogs seem to be the most pain-free....which is a drag in the summer!
I hope Donna sees your question because she's done some remarkably in-depth research on the whole 'high arch' issue and can probably give you some good advice.

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 02:13 (054432)

Hi Laura,

Since Judy mentioned my name, I'll stick my two cents in on shoes for high arches. Lately, I've had some sucess with the outdoor type shoes. Most companies like Timberland, Merrell, etc, make shoes usually labeled a multi-sport shoe. Sometimes called a light, or urban hiker. They have more support than your normal run of the mill sneaker, and are usually very supportive in the midfoot, and heel, and have good lateral support which is important for high arched feet. They are both supportive, and cushioned without having the mushy feeling of most athletic shoes. If you feel you need a little extra lift, or cushion the over the counter spenco cross trainer inserts work well in these shoes, because the shoes have a good stable base.

Not every shoe in the lines of these outdoor companies may be good for you. The trail runners may be to soft in the heel area, or too flexible, and the regular hikers may be to stiff. The multi-sports shoes, usually have a comfortable firm EVA sole, with added midfoot support, yet they will flex at the toes only where they are supposed too. They are also neutral soles, with no medial posting. Some even make sandals with similar soles. It could be no special name at all as long as the shoe has good mid-foot support, does not have an overly cushioned heel, and has a cushioned, flexible forefoot.

Hold the shoe in one hand at the heel area, and put your other hand on the front of toe area and grab it, and push hard. If the shoes bends anywhere else except the toe area, (for example more towards the arch), don't buy it. I tried a couple of lower end North face shoes for example that bent in half so you have to be careful. Test each shoe There were plenty of NB shoes that did the same thing. Their 851 x-trainer for example had terrible midfoot support. There isn't one shoe in the NB line I could wear except maybe their 850 hiking shoe. In my opinion most of their shoes are terrible for high arched feet including their outdoor looking walking shoes.

Also make sure the upper is supportive. You may do well with some Mephistos, but not all the uppers are that supportive, they don't fit everyone well, and they are very expensive. There are a lot of more reasonable alternatives. I found an inexpensive black suede hiker type shoe in a discount store for $30.00, that feels great, and my pod liked it too. It was a discontinued shoe from Reebook's adventure line called the Tundra. I normally hate Reebok, especially the DMX series (dangerous), but this shoe was very well made.

I can only give you suggestions of some that I've tried lately, that seem to work well for high arches. At least this may give you a start on the type of shoe I'm talking about. If you have an outdoor store near you, that may be your best bet, because they will have many brands under one roof. You won't usually see these shoes in regular dept stores, like Garmont, Montrail, Lowa, etc. Sometimes they call them outdoor cross trainers. Even Adidas makes some nice outdoor shoes. Look for stores like REI, Track and Trail, EMS, Paragon sports, etc.

Some that I tried so far are the Rockport Ronan from their adventure series, Timberland Free range hiker (very good shoe), and their Spruce pass hiker (little softer). Merrell makes several in this category, but stay away from ones like the Jungle mock (not enough midfoot support) and other Merrell's with the rounded heels. Dunham boot makers bought out by New Balance has some supportive comfortable shoes. Some have a softer feel, because NB has added absorb to the heels and forefoot of several of their models, so you may or may not like them.

Also some Eccos are very nice. I never knew they made so many shoes until I went into one of their flagship stores. I don't like most of their shoes from their soft series, yet they have a nice looking one called the soft sneaker that just looks like a nice looking shoe, that comes in a tie, and slip-on yet it's pretty supportive, and comes in various nubuck colors. This is for a dressier look, but I wouldn't recommend them for very heavy walking. Also look at some from their sub-zone line. They also have one called the Receptor, but it is a heavier duty shoe. Ecco makes some nice sandals also. If you can find any by Boreal (tough in the U.S) they recently started making some very nice urban walkers.
There may even be a few cross trainers from regular athletic lines that you could wear if they meet the above criteria.

The important thing to remember is high arched feet tend to have most of the weight of your body concentrated on the balls of the foot, and heel. They are usually unstable laterally also. The shoe has to have decent midfoot support to balance out the weight, and have a good lift in the heel, and have good lateral stability. If the heel, or midfoot is too soft you will sink into the softer bits more, put more strain on the fascia, plus lose more stability through out the entire foot.

Good luck, and happy shoe hunting.

Donna

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Julie on 7/27/01 at 02:36 (054436)

Wonderful post, Donna: thank you! Really useful for all of us, and not just high-arched people. I was particularly interested in what you said about Eccos: I had no idea they manufactured so many styles and types. I wore and loved the original soft Eccos for years - but of course not now.

Re: Julie Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 03:33 (054441)

Good morning Julie,

I think most of the shoes I mentioned could really be used for any foot type, because they are just good supportive shoes.

Ecco has come a long way. I was surprised they came out with such a beefy shoe called the Receptor, and have so many other supportive styles. I think there are a couple of Ecco flagship stores in London.

Also, take a look at this Boreal site. Once you get into it click on the England flag. Then click on walking adventure. They have some very nice looking walkers available for the UK market. I know we have different foot types, but if you get a chance to try them let me know what you think.

http://www.borealusa.com/

It's good night for me.

Donna

Re: Julie PS Boreal site Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 03:46 (054443)

Julie,

The US Boreal site under adventure shoes gives a more detailed description of the shoes.

Bye again,

Donna

Re: Julie Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Julie on 7/27/01 at 09:31 (054465)

The walking adventure shoes on the England site (I can't get into the American one) look lovely. I've e-mailed the UK contact to find out about stockists and will have a look at them sometime. I'll have another look at Eccos, too. Thanks!

Re: Julie Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Julie on 7/27/01 at 09:34 (054466)

Donna, I meant to say that I've been getting on fine with my North Face Targas. I saw your comment about their cheaper lines being too bendy, and wondered. But I've tested them again, and they bend only at the metatarsal. They're comfortable, thick-soled, wide, and have plenty of room in the toe box - i.e. they seem to answer all my requirements. Do you know them?

Re: Julie - Boreal/Targa Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Donna SL on 7/27/01 at 13:25 (054522)

Hi Julie,

I don't know if you tried this, but when you come into the Boreal site, don't click on the USA flag, it won't work. Just click on the adventure shoes block above. It's the third one in with the person wearing the backpack. I hope you find the shoes. I'm going to search for them here too.

I looked at so many North face shoes it's hard to remember exactly what the Targa was like. The store had a lot of trail running shoes too. I remember one shoe that looked similar to the Targa called the Skylite that was reinforced in the midfoot with an external shank that felt very supportive. The Targa as far as I remember had a slightly softer midfoot, but I think it would be fine if you are using a plastic orthotic. Also I've been told sometimes shoes are made differently in other countries, so the shoe may not be exactly the same as the USA model.

Donna

Re: shoe and/or orthotic types

laura I on 7/27/01 at 18:24 (054562)

thanks Judy- the most comfortable shoes I have tried so far are the mesphisto clogs- they had leather uppers- the salesman who told me he used to make prosthetics recommended them - they were soooo comfortable!
the only problem is I live in Florida and wanted an open toe shoe to wear in the house on the hard tile floors-outsided I don't mind clogs or enclosed shoes, but in the house - I have tried naoat which were very similiar to mephisto and a little cheaper- they were pretty comfortable-this is very hard because while I have spent $100.00 or more for comfortable shoes (bunion issues) now I have to have several pairs for the pf problem and I don't want to waste my money.

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

laura I on 7/27/01 at 21:16 (054582)

thank you donna for all the information- i will be sure to take my time when searching for the right shoe- I'll let you know

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Jamie S on 10/05/01 at hrmin (062302)

Try Dexters - they have a good catalog online, you can search for high arch shoes. Many have removable insoles for orthotics and many are approved by the aapa.

Re: Shoes for hIgh arched feet

Andrea R. on 10/05/01 at 12:51 (062308)

Where I live there are Dexter outlets everywhere.

It is very hard to find a pair that fit properly. The one pair of deck shoes I bought years ago turned my feet black from the dye.

I would not order them online unless you can try them on first.