Review of Vionic Orthaheel Shoes for Arthritis

Focus on Fashion or Function?

Image © Orthaheel

Have you wished you could find functional footwear that also was fashionable? Vionic is a brand designed by a podiatrist to meet your needs. If you have arthritis or any medical condition that affects the feet, shoes need to be more about function than fashion. There can be consequences for other joints, such as your ankles, knee, and hips if you don't pay attention to your footwear.

Vionic Shoes With Orthaheel Technology

Dr. Andrew Weil, a recognized expert in alternative and complementary medicine, and Phillip Vasyli, an Australian podiatrist and the founder of Orthaheel technology, created the Vionic line of footwear that allows you to have both fashion and function.

Their line has received the American Podiatric Medical Association's Seal of Acceptance.

Their collection was initially called Weil Integrative Footwear and Orthaheel but now has become the Vionic brand. The collection has built-in natural alignment technology which consists of tri-planar motion control to help correct rearfoot alignment and function and a flexor zone for forefoot mobility and an improved gait. Their collection started with just a few styles but has expanded to men's and women's dress shoes, casual shoes, athletic shoes, sandals, and slippers. 

Function Before Fashion When Buying Shoes

Common foot conditions—flat foot, high-arched foot, overpronation, supination, bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, spurs—deserve consideration when you choose your shoes. Your footwear should be comfortable and be a good match for the natural shape and motion of your foot.

The shoes should provide adequate support, grip the heel so you aren't inclined to walk out of the shoe, have shock-absorbing insoles or built-in orthotics, have a non-slip sole, and a toe box wide enough to accommodate your toes comfortably. Ideally, when the shoes are on your feet, the bend in the shoe should line up with the bend in your big toe, the heel should feel stable rather than sloppy, and there should be no stressful points of contact between your foot and the shoe.

Trying the Shoes

A reviewer tried two different styles of original Vionic shoes. One is a Mary Jane style, similar to their current Opal Mary Jane sneaker, and the other was a lace-up walking shoe, which bests matches their current Riley casual sneaker. The first impression of the shoes, before she put them on her feet, was that they seemed somewhat rigid.

But once on her feet, she felt they were designed to keep your feet in a healthy position and to reduce pronation. She appreciated the support they gave when she walked.They felt different—in a good way.

It takes a little time to adjust to the extra support but once you do, you begin to feel an improvement in your gait and strength in your stride. The best analogy is how differently you feel when you sit up straight versus when you slouch. Proper position enhances your strength and energy.

To allow for the snug fit, you may want to order a half size larger. Some of the models also come in a wide width. The price is comparable to other quality athletic shoes or comfort shoes. The choice between function and fashion no longer needs to be made. You can have both.

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