A shoe lift adds height to a shoe bottom. You may need a full shoe lift or full orthopedic lift if your legs are two different lengths, usually called leg length discrepancy. A heel wedge may be used in place of a full lift in some cases. There are other reasons a shoe lift, full or wedge, is prescribed, but leg length discrepancy is the primary reason.
When a lift is “full,” it covers the entire bottom of the shoe, extending from side to side and toe to heel. Here is an example of a full lift:
A lift can be partial rather than full. An example of a partial lift is a lateral lift in the sole or heel. Or, a partial lift can be just in the heel. When a lift is partial in any form rather than full, it is typically called a “wedge.” This is an example of a heel wedge:
A lateral wedge is typically used to help eliminate pronation, rolling or rotating inward or outward at the foot/ankle. This is an extreme example of a ¾” outside lateral wedge:
Orthopedic shoe lifts can be added to almost any type of shoe. We usually split the sole and put the full lift or wedge in the middle of the sole. Putting the lift in between helps keep the original look of the shoe and enhances the durability of the lift. After splitting the sole, we leave the shoe and go to work on building up the orthopedic shoe lift itself.
First, we trace the sole and make a rough cut out of the lift. Depending on the height of the lift, we may need to assemble pieces to build up the lift to the appropriate height. Each lift is customized to match the measurements you give us.
We use (3) precise measurements, (a) at the back of the heel right down the middle, (b) at the side of the sole where the laces would start, (c) at the front of the toe right down the middle. (imagery/illustrations to follow). Our primary goal is to do this work so precisely that the lift exactly matches the measurements provided.
Once we have the lift built up to match the measurements, we put together the sole with the lift in between and finish off the work. This will involve trimming, sanding and may also include painting. Our secondary goal is to make the lift blend to the shoe as much as possible so that it is as invisible as possible.
There are some times when the design of the shoe will force us to put the lift on the bottom, but these instances are rare:
The material we use is dense, spongy and lightweight but not porous, so it is strong. The material primarily used is either black or white in color, but we do have various shades of brown to choose from as well.
Some customers like to lessen the weight of the lifted shoe by taking out some of the middle of the lift. We call this add on service “honeycomb”.
Also, if someone’s gait is not equal, as is true of most people to some extent whether they need a lift or not, we can replace the worn heels or soles of both a lifted and non-lifted shoe so they are customized to both feet. All of our services are designed to give you a strong, even, confident gait.
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