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According to the Ontario Society of Chiropodists, nearly 75 per cent of Canadians will experience foot health problems in their lives, and I’m here to share that I’m one of them.
A few years ago, I started feeling a constant sensation similar to stepping on a pebble underneath my right toes whenever I had shoes on. After ignoring it for a few months hoping the issue would solve itself, I ended up at a walking mobility clinic getting my feet checked out by a pedorthis—a healthcare professional who specializes in foot orthotics and orthopaedic footwear.
A couple of appointments and some plaster casts later, I found myself with a pair of $500 custom insoles to help deal with a condition called Morton’s Neuroma. The problem, a fairly common issue caused by pinched nerves in my foot, could be solved by wearing footwear with a wider toe box, and adding insoles to any shoes I might want to wear.
In theory this worked out well for me (my foot pain eventually went away), but it wasn’t necessarily the most practical or affordable solution having to buy multiple pairs of pricey orthotics, or else be stuck with a single pair that I’d have to constantly be rotating.
That’s why when I recently came across the Canadian footwear company Wiivv, I was immediately intrigued. The brand prides itself on its high-tech solutions to foot health problems that have been proven to improve comfort and reduce fatigue while you’re on your feet.
Featured in Forbes, Business Wire, and the Financial Post, Wiivv has been gaining attention for their innovative use of 3D printing to create personalized footwear that’s made using photos that customers provide.
“People have smartphones in their pockets that have the ability to capture the data we need,” shared Wiivv co-founder Shamil Hargovan. “The thinking behind the company is that everybody, and every body is unique, and therefore why do we live in a world where the products for the body are not made unique?”
Using the Wiivv app, users simply snap a few photos of their feet and upload them to create their custom insoles. Wiivv then uses AI and machine learning technology to accurately create a model that integrates top of the line biomechanics for a customized fit.
Once uploaded, there’s a 24 hour period where the photos undergo quality control by Wiivv engineers. After they’ve been approved, you then receive a notification each time your insoles go through 3D printing, customization and shipping.
I happened to order my insoles at a particularly busy period, so it took about six weeks (compared to the usual two week timeframe) for them to arrive, but the customer service team at Wiivv gave plenty of feedback on the status of my insoles throughout that time, and even sent me a discount for my next order as an apology for the delay. Now that they’ve finally arrived, I’ve been able to put them to the test to see how they stack up against more expensive alternatives.
I opted for the Full Length Custom Fit Insoles, which are best for casual and athletic shoes, as well as shoes with a wider toe. They retail for $130 CAD ($99 USD) - a fraction of the cost of what I paid two years ago at the foot clinic.
I was impressed by their lightweight construction, and the pretty floral printed design that I chose. Compared to my previous pair of insoles, the Wiivv’s definitely win based on aesthetics. As an added bonus, they were even inscribed with my name at the bottom just in case they ever get lost.
After fitting them into a few pairs of sneakers, the only issue I’ve found is that the full length insoles are definitely too large for some of my more fashion-forward shoes, so if you’re looking for a versatile insole that works for nearly any silhouette I’d recommend getting the 3/4 Length Custom Fit Insoles, which retail for $79 USD.
Both styles offer the same shock-absorbing heel cup and cushioned minimalist padding, along with the choice of dozens of colours and patterns for the design.
Aside from not fitting into every pair of shoes I own, I’ve been loving my new pair of Wiivv insoles. The heel has an almost gel-like consistency that adds a spring to every step, and the thin foam padding is low enough that it hasn’t been uncomfortable at all getting used to them inside my shoes. I’ve walked my usual route to work, biked around the city, and haven’t had any issues yet.
On top of the comfort and price of my new insoles, one thing I really appreciated about the entire Wiivv process is that you have the ability to save your profile, so that you’ll only need to provide images and measurements once if you decide to purchase multiple pairs of insoles.
I also enjoyed the personalized foot facts that you can choose to receive, where you can find out detailed information about the height of your arches, and the length and width of each foot along with tips for choosing the most comfortable footwear.
Despite the timing issue I experienced, the ease of creating a pair of custom-fit insoles at home is a huge convenience when compared to making multiple appointments with a specialist. The comfort and fit is on par with my other pair of custom insoles, so for a more affordable option that’s a step above the insoles available at the pharmacy, I’ll definitely be sticking with my Wiivvs.
To save on your next Wiivv purchase, be sure to enter the code BlackFriday20 at checkout and take 20% off of your order.
SHOP IT: Wiivv, $130 ($99 USD)
SHOP IT: Wiivv, $103 ($79 USD)