Foot Orthotic Friendly Shoes

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Vegan Packer 3 years ago.

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  • #2043

    Vegan Packer
    Participant

    I have been trying to find something that offers better support than what I now wear, which I have been told are vegan, but I can’t even confirm this.

    I have custom foot orthotics, so I need something that is available in a 6E (not a typo) width. Any suggestions?

    #2049

    Vegan Packer
    Participant

    As a follow-up to this, I have had the chance to try on some of the vegan hiking boots and shoes out there.

    Adidas Terrex Swift Mid: Sports Authority carries the low top version. I gave these a try, just to see about the basic fit. If I liked them enough, I would have mail-ordered a set of the Mids. These are not available in special widths. I found them to be narrow, and not to have very much support.

    La Sportiva Trango S: I found a local outdoors store that carries this brand, but not this model. I tried on the non-vegan La Sportivas, just to see about the fit. Again, these are not available in special widths. Also again, if I liked them, I would proceed to either special order through the store (non-refundable) or mail order a set. I found these to be decent candidates, but they were narrow just behind where the toe joints stem from the foot. It was not painful, and I wore them for a good 20 to 30 minutes while in the store, but I was not going to take a chance on ordering these through this store, unless they would be willing to allow me to get a full refund, should I not like them when trying on in the store and in the correct, vegan model. I will consider mail ordering, but only after trying on other brands, to see if there is something that fits better.

    Merrell Capra Sport Mid: Years ago, before I became vegan, I owned a set of Merrells, and I have memories of them being quite comfortable. As above, these are not available in other than standard widths. Also again, the local outdoor store did not have the vegan model on hand, but I decided to try a pair of non-vegan Merrells at the same store and same time as the La Sportivas, since I was already there. Surprisingly, I found the Merrells to be quite stiff in the ankle, digging in with a hard plastic feel. This plastic feel stemmed from the design that holds the lace eyelets and wraps around the ankle. I have ruled out the Merrells.

    Mammut Comfort High GTX: I decided to mail order a set of these. The manufacturer’s web site advertisement says that these have a “generously tailored fit,” which should mean that they are wider than a standard size. In that regard, I called the U.S. distributor, and their representative informed me that their design, which is a common design in Europe (they are a European company), is wider in the toe box, and a bit narrower in the heel, when compared to American designs. I decided to give these a try, since the area where I usually end out having problems (due to my orthitics) is in the toe box. I found a place (BackCountry.com) that price matches, and has free shipping. In the end, if the shoes don’t fit, and I can’t find a set for exchange from the reseller, they will even provide free return and full refund of my purchase price and shipping. This was important, because the only size that they have on hand is a half size larger than my usual size, and the manufacturer has stopped production of these until next season, when they will come out with new colors. With their price matching, I was able to find these current models for $159 instead of the regular $199 price, so I decided to give the half size larger a try. They should arrive within a few days. I hope that they work!

    #2157

    Vegan Packer
    Participant

    I tried the Mammut Comfort High GTX in a half size larger than my normal size, and it was still tight with my orthotics inserted. I then received a set that was a full size larger, and it was a pretty close call. If not for the pressure on my pinky toe on one foot, these would have been keepers. They offered great support, especially in the ankle, which is where I need it, and they are light on my feet. My size 9.5 set weighed 34 ounces. I am fearful of how the one toe would feel after ten miles, so I am going to send them back. The manufacturer suggests not trying 1.5 sizes larger. One additional note: they seemed to get particularly hot while wearing them.

    Today, I received the Treksta Evolution Mid GTX. I got these in a full size larger than my regular size. Before ordering, I spoke to the manufacturer on the telephone (they know of you, Jessica, by name), and they were super helpful, and they know what they are talking about when it comes to their product. Vegan was not a foreign word to them.

    I think that I have finally found my boot! These are wide in the toe box, which is my problem area. The insides do not have a flat bottom, so this can make an issue with causing orthotics to apply pressure to the arch of the foot. However, I think that I can get my pedorthist to make me a new set of orthotics (which will cost way more than the boots!), so that I can get around this issue. If it works, it will be well worth it!

    These are definitely cooler than the Mammuts. They weigh 30 ounces. They have less ankle support than the Mammuts, but the support is still adequate, and is certainly more than the low cut shoes that I was using before making this search.

    Wish me luck on making these work!

    #2166

    Thanks for all of the great info! I’m really hoping that the TrekSta Evolutions end up working out for you. I’ve heard from a number of people that they’re a great boot.

    I’m a big fan of TrekSta. I have a pair of their Edict trail runners that I wear on warm weather hikes, and they’re always so helpful when I email them, which I have often, explaining why they know me by name. 🙂

    Let us know how it goes!

    Jessica

    #2245

    Vegan Packer
    Participant

    I have a pair of their Edict trail runners that I wear on warm weather hikes

    Do these also have the built in arch support that comes in their boots?

    #2246

    Vegan Packer
    Participant

    Here is the next update in this never ending search.

    Unfortunately, I cannot use the Trekstas. I took them, along with the Mammuts, to my pedorthist. He said that there is no way to work with shoes that have permanent arches built in, as in the case with the Trekstas. I had to return them.

    As for the Mammuts, he said that they are narrow, and that going up a full 1.5 sizes (what I brought in were already a full size larger than what I normally wear) would not likely resolve the issue with width. I sent those back, too.

    Next up: I ordered two pairs of Vegetarian Shoes Approach Mids. I am ordering from Moo Shoes. The reason that I ordered two pairs is that they use European sizing. In this brand, size 42 corresponds with size 9 in the US size, and 43 corresponds with 10. My actual size is 8.5 with a 6E width, and ordering up a size (to potentially fit the orthotic) would make the right size be 42.5 EU or 9.5 US, which does not exist with this brand. To top it off, I had one sales person tell me that these run really big (she orders them a full size smaller for her feet), but I had another tell me that they are pretty close to true in size (after she was trying them on with her orthotic, on the other end of the phone). The web site in England says “Please bear in mind that this style is a generous fit.” With so much conflicting information, I figured that I may as well just accept the fact that I am either going to have to return one or both pairs, and shipping will cost less for two sets at once than it will for each pair separately, in the event that neither work for me.

    One other interesting detail told to me by the person at Moo Shoes. (I have no idea how much or little the people there know about the truth of this information.) She said that the shoe industry moved away from animal glues years ago. She further said that if the other materials are vegan, it is almost certain that the shoes are vegan, but the manufacturers are just not going to bother verifying this with their varied glue sources. The reason that I bring this up is not because it directly deals with my boot issue (even if I were willing to go non-vegan, there are no manufacturers of hiking boots that make more than one width per size, to my knowledge), but because it may deal with my other shoes.

    Up to now, I had been using NewBalance shoes, in a non-leather model, without the glue issue coming up on my radar, because they manufacture them in various widths, including 6E, my width with my orthotic. Now that I am aware of the potential issue with glue, I am on the hunt for alternatives. If it is true that the glue issue is not a concern, I will continue with what I have been doing, and the only thing to continue searching for will be my backpacking boots. That would at least be some kind of relief. This quest has become expensive and tiresome.

    My next update will come after I have tried on the Vegetarian Shoes Approach Mids.

    #2260

    Vegan Packer
    Participant

    I received two pairs of the Vegetarian Shoes Approach Mids, one in a size 9/42, and one in a size 10/43. Read above for the history and why I did this. In short, I am glad that I got the two sizes.

    I tried on the size 9/42, and they felt pretty good, as far as sizing goes. The toe box was wide enough that I could fit my orthotics and foot in there at the same time. They didn’t really feel like they were tight at all, but, the minute that I stood up in them, I started to notice a pain, reminiscent of my plantar fasciitis, where the inside of my heel connects into where the arch of the foot starts. Something like this can happen when the orthotic doesn’t fit inside the shoe properly, which moves the foot slightly out of the right position, or where I would need for the orthotic to have an adjustment, or where I would need an entirely new orthotic made for the shoe, which would be quite expensive. Sometimes, there is nothing that can be done, and that means that I would have to cross the shoes in question off of the list of candidates for my feet. Sometimes, your foot readjusts to the new fit after a graduation of wear time, starting off with just a few hours per day and then building from there. I decided to give this last idea a try.

    I did a little standing and walking around the house. I sat at my desk and did work. I watched TV in my recliner chair. I wore them for several hours without putting any weight on my feet. In the end, other than the pain in my heel area of both feet, the boots still felt pretty good. However, this pain is enough that I don’t want to have to imagine what it would be like after all day of hiking.

    Since they were already here, I next decided to try on the larger size 10/43. Before doing so, I took out the removable insoles of both size boots to check them against each other. The sizes were so slightly different that it took away some of my worry that the larger size would be so big that my feet would be swimming inside, the perfect recipe for blisters.

    When I tried on the 10/43 size, I could feel that they were a little larger, but the difference really wasn’t very much. I did have to lace them up tighter than the smaller size in order for them to feel right, however. Once I stood up in them, I no longer felt the pain in my heel area. Progress!

    One worry emerged. As it is, the 9/42 size has a good amount of space from the big toe to the front of the boot. The 10/43 increased this a little bit more. I tried sliding my feet forward in them, but they stayed in position pretty well. I moved to the next phase of testing: longer wear around the house.

    After this testing, the larger shoes still felt pretty good. However, I still had concerns about future foot slippage, should these shoes start to stretch out from real use. I decided that it was time for another call to Moo Shoes.

    Speaking to Moo Shoes, the representative confirmed that the material of these boots will soften and stretch a bit over time. I explained what happened when I tried each of the shoes, and that I would certainly go with the smaller size, were it not for the foot pain that it was causing. Now, I would have to guess if the stretch from breaking them in would take care of that problem or not. The representative suggested that I keep testing, and she told me that I have 30 days to return either or both sets of boots.

    I went back to trying on the smaller size for some more extensive testing around the house. Almost immediately after putting them on, this time even before putting any weight on them, the pain started to come back in the same spot on both feet. I have no idea if using these for a while would eventually cure this problem or not.

    I put on the larger pair, and I repeated the around-the-house testing. So far, these feel pretty good, and I feel no pain in the heel area with this larger set. The only issue that I have now is that I do feel a spot that digs in a bit at a tendon running over the inside of the ankle joint. This seems to happen because I need to tie the laces tighter in these larger boots. Loosening them up requires the right balance between preventing my foot from slipping around inside and tying so tightly that this pain starts to surface. This could go away from continued wear and break-in, or the problem could possibly be that I only wear super thin liner socks while I hike and backpack.

    At this point, I think that I am going to end out taking my chance that I will still be able to use the larger boots, even if they stretch out a little during the break-in period. Also, since I only use really thin liner socks (I swear by Injinji toe socks) in my hiking, I am going to order a pair or so of slightly thicker versions of the socks, and I will see if that will make up the volume difference just enough to make up for the slightly longer length of these boots, but not so much that they start to squeeze in the toe box width area. The thicker socks should also add some more padding around the ankle area. If the fit is right, I just hope that they don’t start to make my feet get too warm.

    Should I feel good about these boots in another week or so of testing around the house, the next step will be that I’ll go back to my pedorthist, lay out the cash, and I’ll get a new set of orthotics made that will be dedicated strictly to these boots. Believe me, if it all works out for when I am on the trail, the pain in the wallet for the orthotics will be much better than the pain in my feet that I would otherwise have with every step.

    Wish me luck! I’ll report back after I have more news.

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