As a supplier of Correct Toes, we (SoleFit) watched the video (added below) the other day and we all agreed that it was very well done and hopefully indicative of where the shoe industry is heading. Our only concern with videos like these is whether or not they take into account enough of the ‘perfect world vs life’. We certainly do feel very strongly that it’s our job as pedorthists to inform people of what they need to be doing to restore proper function to their feet (ie. alternative footwear, foot strengthening, flexibility etc.). Especially after all we know now about what we’ve been doing to our feet over the years! For those willing to put some work in and potentially make a few style changes, there is so much more that we can do. On the other hand, we do feel that it’s important to give alternatives to people who aren’t willing/’able’ to do all of those things. As much as we don’t want to be perpetuating a problem, we sometimes need to make real world scenerios work better. For example, if someone’s job requires high heels and they’re causing lots of pain, we need to find ways to make that system work better. In a perfect world we would eliminate the high heeled shoe but that’s not always so easy. If we can make changes to allow those shoes to cause less pain, it in the short term offers relief and hopefully in the long term sets that person down the path of making better and more informed shoe choices.
Our feeling is that we need to give people honest, research reinforced reasoning as to why they should and can actually fix the real source of some of the issues that they are having. We currently have the tools to be able to give options to people who are willing to make a change. We also think it’s very important to explain the potential amount of work (with associated risks) and ’fashion change’ necessary to help restore natural function to the feet. With that, I think we give people options and give them the knowledge to make their own informed decisions depending on their level of commitment.
What we don’t want to do is alienate people from starting down the path to better foot health because they’re not willing to jump into square toe-boxed shoes (the accompanying picture is what many of us fear footwear change has to look like!) or do foot strengthening right away. Our feeling is that if we can have a bit of a softer message of ’yes, there is a better way of doing things to actually FIX the injury problems that you’re having’ combined with a bit of ’and we can offer different ways of helping you get there’, more people will be willing to listen. By balancing short term goals (being able to wear that high heeled dress shoe, running with less than ideal technique and getting ready for your next race) with long term goals (more functional feet, better run technique), we are able to address problems that people are having now with their current activities but also give options to help actually fix these problems in the future!