Finally a way to make cute shoes comfy!
I’ve been told for most of my life that I have flat feet. I even went to a podiatrist when I was a kid to have my parents spend hundreds of dollars they didn’t have to get me these horrid, clunky, plaster of Paris molds that I had to wear in my school shoes and a rubber thing they put between my toes to prevent bunions. Every night I was in pain, wearing that stupid thing between my toes to sleep, only to find it shot across the bedroom in the morning. And those plaster arches? They lasted about 6 months before they’d broken down and I would have needed new ones that just were not affordable. I had a AAA heel and a AA foot in a size 9.5 by 8th grade. When I was 19 I started ballroom dancing and the constant rolling on the ball of my foot in the Latin dances actually widened my foot enough that I could wear regular width shoes! I also found that ballroom dance shoes, with their flexible leather insoles and satin fabric, were extremely comfortable to stand and dance 10 hours per day! Ah but alas, you cannot wear ballroom dance shoes all day every day when you are no longer a ballroom dancer. When I became a wedding planner, I started advising my brides to get ballroom shoes and break them in as their wedding shoes. But still most woman, including myself, need a designer shoe or two in their lives and there is not one I’ve found that has a comfortable stitch on its strappy little body.
In my late thirties I finally found out how vague the statement “flat feet” actually is. I don’t technically have “flat feet”. I have one fallen arch (there are three!) in the ball of each foot. Because of that, the weight distributes very unevenly through my whole body and I get, not just foot pain, but shin splints, back pain, arched shoulders and had at one point lost 85% of the curvature of my spine in my neck. I had no idea you aren’t supposed to be able to see your feet when you walk normally until I came out of a chiropractor after being in traction. I felt taller but also realized quickly that I had no idea what I might be stepping on! And it felt amazing!
One Summer I was lucky enough to go on a Celebrity Alaskan Cruise. (Side note: If you can manage to splurge on a balcony and Aqua Class, its TOTALLY worth it!) The day excursions and rough terrain were really causing me pain by night-fall with those shin splints screaming at me when I went to bed. Then one of those cruise ship sales pitches happened to be about Good Feet inserts. I totally drank the Kool-Aide and bought the “discounted” insoles. I wore them the next day as we trekked around Skagway and I had to admit I was in foot heaven! No pain whatsoever and I was able to do this all day without changing to a different shoe! The trick is that these inserts are molded plastic that are made in the shape of what your foot should be, not shaped to your already incorrect foot. It made total sense to me when I saw the design, with the little bump where the metatarsal arch should be and the uplift in the middle on both sides. Not only did this shape release the pressure that was on the wrong parts of my foot, it also made my arch lift where it had fallen, so now I can actually wear a size 9 shoe! Any woman who has tried to find half sizes over 9 will totally understand just how exciting that actually is.
As an event planner, I am on my feet for hours at a time and I would typically change the height of my heel at least three times in any given event day. But with the Good Feet inserts, I was able to go 4-5 hours with an open-toed 3.5″ heel and even longer with a wedge. But I still couldn’t do the closed-toe because the weight, even with the insert, still eventually and painfully pushed to my toes.
I decided to try the Vivian Lou Insolia Classic Insoles that I saw advertised on Facebook. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aide again. I bought the bundle two-pack. Today I received them and tried them on in one of my favorite pairs of leopard print, closed-toed stilettos. Go big or go home! I didn’t follow the instructions, which very clearly tell you to try both on at the same time. I wanted to see if I could feel a difference so I put the new insole in my left shoe and none in my right to start. It took awhile to get the position right, but I realized quickly, walking on the hard wood floors, that my weight in my right foot was definitely more to my toes than on my left. I could feel an instant difference in the way the shoes fit better, filling the shoe more comfortably instead of leaving spaces around my food, on the left as well. So far so good, the Vivian Lou insole seemed to be doing the job it claimed to do, shifting my weight more to my heel and evening out the distribution. But I still had the issue of the fallen metatarsal arch to deal wit and I knew this weight change would not really fix the whole problem. So I add the Good Feet on top of the Vivian Lou and started to walk around, still with one shoe with no insole and now with the other having two insoles. This really seems to do the trick! So I bit the bullet and adhered them “permanently” into my favorite closed-toes and plan to layer the insoles whenever I wear them for real.
One note about the installation of the adhesive insoles from Vivian Lou… The instructions say that you should place the insert 3/8″ away from inside of the heel of the shoe. Then as you stand on them, if you feel a “bump under your heel”, move it down until you don’t feel it any more. By the time I didn’t feel it, the insert was over an inch from the heel, but it shifted the weight as expected, so I think its still ok. Perhaps they’ll read this post and correct me if I’m wrong. And apparently today they launched a new line called “Couture” insoles that form to the left and right feet, where the ones I bought are interchangeable.
Overall I’d say both of these products work well separately and also together. If you’re a bride looking for a solution for your Jimmy Choo’s I’d say go with the Vivian Lou first and spend about $30 for what could be just what you need. You can only use them in one pair of shoes, so you have to buy a set for each pair. The Good Feet are VERY expensive, but can be moved from shoe to shoe, so you only have to buy one set. I’d only recommend those if you’re in every-day pain, like I was. In that case its worth every penny!
Now I just need someplace to go in my comfy leopard heels!…
All About Events and its represenatives were not compensated in any way for this review.
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