Are custom shoes worth the price?
December 14, 2010 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Custom shoes, are they worth the money?

I have a slew of health problems that could probably be helped if my shoes fit properly (bad back, arthritis in the knees, hips, etc...). The problem? I have ultra-wide feet and super-high arches. I can and have spent hours trying to find shoes that fit only to walk out of dozens of stores in frustration.

I generally end up finding shoes that *almost* fit and get inserts to help with the high arches. I have to wear inserts in every shoe - even flats (I'm female).

I've had custom inserts made (once). They helped a little, but my back & knees still hurt, and I think that the ill-fitting shoes don't help. Now I'm considering getting custom shoes made. But before I drop $300+ on a pair of shoes - which is about $240 more than I usually spend - I'd like to know if it will be worth it.

Has anyone done this before? Did it help? Was it worth it? Keep in mind that I'm a starving college student and I'll be saving up for this...
posted by patheral to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to their effectiveness, but you may be able to get them for cheap/free if they are covered by your health insurance.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2010

That would be great! if I had health insurance... :(
posted by patheral at 3:13 PM on December 14, 2010

No my own experience, but my dad's. He has wide feet (flat arches though) and incredible trouble finding comfortable shoes so he had a pair made. (He was able to claim part through insurance (in Australia, so vastly different system.)) He loves them and raves about how comfortable they are.
posted by prettypretty at 3:28 PM on December 14, 2010

I just received my first pair of custom-made clogs from Clogmaster. While I don't have nearly as much trouble as you in finding shoes that fit, I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have shoes that are custom-made for my feet. All for under $200.
posted by DrGail at 5:01 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you checked out shoe lines that are built to fit custom orthotics? Trying to fit them into "standard" shoes is really difficult.

Some manufacturers I keep an eye on: Aravon, PW Minor, Drew. The level of cuteness/fashionableness varies greatly among lines, but sometimes function overrides form. Munro is also pretty good with having removable footbeds too. Zappos carries these, as does Footsmart. A good search term if you want to take it to the wider 'net is "added depth". You can get a very decent pair of shoes that can fit your foot and your orthotic for way less than $300.
posted by Sublimity at 6:24 PM on December 14, 2010

Talk to a podiatrist first. Some of them do sell special shoes. My podiatrist has mentioned it to me, though he doesn't sell them himself. I sympathize - I don't have health insurance either. But if you're going to drop a few hundred bucks, might as well drop it on the doctor first.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:11 PM on December 14, 2010

I know it's rough to think about dropping $300 on a pair of shoes, but if you consider how much of your time you've spent looking for shoes over the years you can calculate that as a cost and consider the break even point.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:17 PM on December 14, 2010

I have custom orthotic inserts and had my heels modified so they wear more like flats. It has made all the difference in the world!

Do you have family members that you can ask to contribute towards this as a winter-holiday-of-your-choice gift? Explain that you don't just want an expensive pair of fancy shoes, but that this is to reduce your chronic pain.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:03 PM on December 14, 2010

I've had custom inserts made (once). They helped a little, but my back & knees still hurt

For joint pain, people seem to really, really positively adore Z-Coils.
posted by yohko at 10:35 PM on December 14, 2010

Thanks for the answers, everyone. I've been wearing shoes for a long time and I really have exhausted my resources when it comes to off the line shoes. No matter what, they don't fit one way or another, and my body suffers.

I'm considering these shoes because they're guaranteed to fit and last. And they come with inserts, etc... Plus, I've heard good things about the company. I liked what I saw about the clogs drgrail mentioned, and there's a boot company, but for now, I'm looking at the athletic shoes.

Still, $360... *sigh*
posted by patheral at 1:32 PM on December 15, 2010

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