April Staff Picks

This week, we asked two of our staff members to write a review of their favorite products that they use on a regular basis. You can read about their specific foot needs and the products they use to address them.

I might as well say that I only own two pairs of shoes, for thats really all I ever wear 99% of the time. My first is a pair of the Spenco Siesta Slides for Men, a slip-on open-back style shoe. My second is a pair of Hey Dude wallabee-style shoes in which I've swapped the factory insole with a pair of the Spenco Full-Length Orthotic Insoles. I wear one of these two pairs of shoes every day to work and while I'm out and about, so Ive put a fair amount of time into making sure that both pairs are as comfortable as possible and suit all my needs.

As for footwear criteria, I have neutral arches and bunions, the latter of which is rather pronounced on one foot in particular. So whenever I buy footwear, I have to consider two things: First, I must have a comfortable arch support suitable for everyday wear (semi-rigid neutral arch support, some cushioning, some shock absorption, and a nice heel cup for stability). Second, I have to have a wide toe-box to accommodate my bunions; tight-fitting footwear just does not work for me and causes extreme discomfort. Ive found that between my Spenco Siesta Slides and my Hey Dude wallabees with Reebok Stabilize Insoles, I'm covered in both respects.

The Spenco Siesta Slides are actually quite comfortable right out of the box. Like any shoe, there is a certain break-in period required to reach the maximum comfort level, as the sole and fabric are both somewhat stiff at the get-go (which is understandable, being brand-new and all). That said, the shoes were never uncomfortable, and they broke in quickly. These shoes feature a built-in arch support to help keep your feet supported and alleviate pressure on the foot while standing, the the insoles that come with the shoes feature both metatarsal padding and a decent amount of cushioning/shock absorption. Im on my third pair of Spenco Siesta Slides at this point (I bought a second color about a year ago, and I had to replace my original pair only within the last year after over two years of near-everyday use). I particularly enjoy these shoes because the slip-on style makes them easy to get on and go, the built-in anatomical footbed features make them extremely comfy, and the toe-box is slightly more squared than most shoes, allowing for more room in the toe-box. Theres a lot to be said about durability, too, with how long I can go between re-buying pairs even when I wear them so often.

My wallabees presented a bit of a problem at first. I love the slip-on style of the Hey Dude wallabees, but the factory insole that comes with the shoe is just a piece of foam without any special properties. After only a few hours of wear, I noticed two issues: First, my arches hurt. Second, my foot kept rolling outward. But because I liked the style of the shoe so much, I decided to find an insole that would work to address these issues. After some trial-and-error, I landed on the Spenco Full-Length Orthotic Insoles. I needed an insole that was low-profile, since there wasnt a lot of room in the wallabees for a thicker insole. I also needed a semi-rigid arch support, and I needed an insole that had a nice heel cup to prevent ankle roll. The Reebok Insoles address all three of these requirements nicely: The insoles are low profile and can fit in almost all footwear, including slim-fitting footwear like my wallabees. They feature a semi-rigid arch support that addressed my arch pain issues from the very first wear with very little break-in required to be extremely comfortable. And, as you might have guessed from the name, the combination of heel cup and arch support provided a level of foot stability that I honestly havent found in many other insoles. Ive been wearing the Reebok Stabilize Insoles for about 6 months now, and I have no plans to switch to another insole anytime soon.

So for my slip-on out of the box and go shoe, I highly recommend the Spenco Siesta Slides. For added support and stability in your favorite shoes, I highly recommend checking out the Spenco Full-Length Orthotic Insoles.

I wanted to share about the Icebug Fat High Arch Insoles and the Pedag Drop metatarsal inserts with you because Ive been wearing them for a couple of months now and I love them both! I need very high arch support as well as help with supination, and the Icebugs help with both of those. The Pedag Drop metatarsal inserts also help with a forefoot fracture I had years ago that still gives me problems from time to time.

The Icebug Fat Insoles are a semi-rigid orthotic, so if you are not used to wearing an orthotic, then I definitely suggest that you wear them for only a couple of hours a day until your feet adjust to having the correct support that they have needed.

I personally deal with supination and you can tell with my old shoes and the wear on the outside of the heels! My feet roll outwards when I walk because of not having the proper high arch support, they then try to compensate for not having that support. I can usually feel it in my ankles, knees, and hips when Im walking like this after a period of time on my feet. With the Icebug Fat High Arch Insoles, they give my arches the correct height to rest on while balancing out my feet when walking.

The Icebug Fat Insoles are also available for low arch and neutral arch types as well!

Another part of my daily needs in my footwear regimen is metatarsal support. I had a forefoot fracture a couple of years back and when Im on my feet for long periods of time I usually need some form of metatarsal support. When this comes in to play, I usually go with the Pedag Drop metatarsal inserts. They are super sticky so you never have to worry about them moving and they are great for all those fancy lady shoes like sandals and ballet flats when you choose fashion over function.

So for my daily insole of choice, I recommend the Icebug Fat Insoles, and for those days when you have to go dressy, the Pedag Drops will help save your metatarasals!

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