Sneaky sneaker savers?
June 2, 2008 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Has anybody got any idea/strategies/proven methods to stop my orthotics tearing up the inside of my new shoes?

Ok, so I've just retired a pair of Converse One Stars only 6 months after I bought them. My previous pair of DC shoes lasted 8 months and the DC's before that 7 months. My shoes have followed a similar pattern before this as well.

The problem is that my custom orthotics first tear up the bit of the shoe behind the heel, and then break the plastic support bit inside it (which I normally then stick some gaffa tape over and it will get me through for a bit longer). But then the hard plastic of the orthotic starts cutting into the walls and base of the shoe, and then they go from being mega comfortable to downright annoying.

Part of the problem is that my foot is rather wide and so my orthotic is always just wider than the original insert that come in most shoes, which is what causes wear on the walls of them.

I just bought a very pretty (and pricey) pair of Nike Dunk sneakers and I'd very much like them to last a little longer than my last few pairs of sneakers have. I really hate having to spend upwards of $120 on sneakers every 6 months.

So I know that some of you will just tell me that I need to buy cheaper shoes. But we all know that's not going to happen (and anyway, cheaper shoes fall apart even sooner than these).

As an aside: the Australian dollar is doing brilliantly against the US dollar at the moment. If anyone knows of any good shoe websites that will ship to Australia, I'd be very interested in hearing from them. =)
posted by cholly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
sorry if this is obvious, but maybe you need wider shoes.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:48 PM on June 2, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, I've looked into wider shoes, but even semi fashionable women's shoes just don't come that wide. I can go to men's shoes, but men's 7's can be a little hard to come by, especially when they go on sale. The Nikes are just about as wide as they come, and even they are just slightly narrower than my orthotic.
posted by cholly at 5:58 PM on June 2, 2008

I have similar problems with my orthotics. Unfortunately the width is often part of why they work and going up a shoe size just means they the rest of your foot slides around. You can see a weird bulge in the side of many of my shoes where the orthotic sticks out and I have been known to go through shoes three times as fast as anyone else I know.

Firstly, talk with your podiatrist. They may be able to reshape the back of the orthotics to stop it rubbing so bad and can sometimes give decent advice about which shoes to wear. I had the front of my orthotics beveled so they didn't dig into the sole and I had the back (the part that curves up over my heel and supports my foot) raised so that it wasn't digging in right where the shoe bends. Making the back higher actually helped a great deal. Made a solid vertical wall that sat against the back of the shoe rather than a bump sticking backwards destroying the shoe and also gave me enough extra support that they were able to pare back the middle of the orthotic a bit reducing the arch width.

Secondly, better quality shoes. My Converse All Stars shoes have worn through just as you describe, but they're actually poorly made crap despite the expensive price tag. Cheaper but better made Skechers have lasted a lot longer under exactly the same conditions and don't have the paper-thin soles that Converse favours, just as an added bonus.

The best way to find active-wear shoes is to go to a fancy sports shoe store and get them professionally fitted. I have both black leather work shoes and nice running shoes (actually bought for walking) from Athletes Foot and while they were reasonably expensive, the orthotics fit perfectly, they are supportive in all the right ways (I took a 'prescription' from my podiatrist so they knew what I needed), there is no weird bulging or rubbing or whatever, and they are both lasting a really long time. I figure that I spent $600 getting the damn inserts so it makes sense to spend an extra $100 on shoes to make sure the orthotics work and my feet don't hurt.

Thirdly, as a last resort you can buy shoes with their own insert, pull that out and replace it with your orthotic. This means your custom insert sits lower in the shoe than it would otherwise and is a lot less likely to rub around the sides. Sadly it also means you've removed all the nice padding and the shoes won't be as comfortable to wear.
posted by shelleycat at 6:33 PM on June 2, 2008

Another orthotics wearer here.

Yeah, I've looked into wider shoes, but even semi fashionable women's shoes just don't come that wide.

Sadly, sometimes you have to weigh your options between fashionable and functional, particularly when it comes to finding shoes that work with orthotics.

I wear a 12 or (more frequently) 13--relatively few shoes of any type are available in those sizes, and finding ones that work with my big custom orthotics is even more of a challenge.

Even with my tough feet to fit, I have had good luck with They have a truly unbelievable selection of shoes. Their search function includes "removable insoles" as a choice, and you can also select for wide widths at the same time.

Speciality footcare retailers like also sell shoes designed with/marketed as having "added depth"--that's probably a good term for googling other outlets that sell these shoes. I got a pair of added-depth Etonics designed to prevent pronation and they fit better than ANY athletic shoes I've ever worn with my orthotics.

Good luck finding a solution that works for you.
posted by Sublimity at 7:21 PM on June 2, 2008

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