A new Estonian invention: customised shoe inserts let women wear high heels without pain

A new Estonian invention – Heelosophy shoe inserts – says it allows women wear their high heels daily, have ultimate comfort in footwear, and all of this without compromising on the looks.

Most women have probably, at least once in their life, experienced the moment when heels that made her so happy when she purchased them are now making her fabulous existence a misery and all she can think about is when she is able to free herself from that pair.

Statistics show that high heels are one of the major factors that lead to foot and back pain problems among women. According to research, it takes about an hour of standing in high heels before they start to make your feet feel sore. And it’s all because of unnatural foot position that causes problems like pump bump, plantar fascia, bunions and stress on the ball of the foot.

The team behind Heelosophy, an Estonian start up from Tartu, is working hard to finalise a technology that will allow women to obtain individually customised inner shoe soles to support problematic foot areas that relieve the impact of pain caused by wearing high heels. The idea is to get a bespoke pair of inserts with couple minutes of effort, in contrast to hours spent on doctor’s appointments. All the rest will be taken care of by smart gadgets to makes women feel feminine, more confident and look taller.

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“We love heels, the higher the better! We also know heels may be uncomfortable, but we have a solution – seamless customised supports that are a perfect fit,” Seren Eilmann, the founder and CEO of Heelosophy, said. “It is not just a matter of comfort, however, but also of health. Constant use of high heels or badly suited shoes can really wreck havoc with your feet and even your whole body, as your posture gets ruined. Due to rapid measuring and manufacturing techniques, Heelosophy’s solution allows providing unique inserts, based on the model of your feet and for every pair of heels.”

Eilmann came up with the idea when she was in need to wear orthopaedic soles due to knee pain, but solutions like orthotics – the inserts you put in your shoes to fix your hurting feet – aren’t even close to being sexy. She then started to look for solutions on how to enable support the wear high-heeled shoes, because she likes to wear heels.

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The whole process of creating an insole/orthotic is a two-step procedure. The first stage is to measure your foot for five minutes using the pressure-sensitive sensors that are placed onto a thin inner soles.

About a year ago at a Garage48 hackathon, the Heelosophy team tried 3D scanning but, unfortunately, this doesn’t give sufficiently precise data, and, in order to get the most accurately information, the foot needs to be measured inside the shoe. Then, after skimmed by sensors, the information will be sent to the production team and a new pair of completely customised Heelosophy insoles for one’s high heels will arrive within the next three days.

“So far the feedback has been good – among other things we have learned that our insoles can actually make wearing low-heeled shoes more comfortable, too. And we have gathered ample proof to our belief that people´s feet are very different,” Eilmann added.

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About the author: Viktoria Naumenko

Viktoria Naumenko is a London-based Estonian entrepreneur and fashion designer.