RANKING OF BALL OF FOOT CUSHIONS/ METATARSAL BALL OF FOOT PADS FROM ONE TO SEVEN. FIVE BRANDS COULD NOT BE RANKED DUE TO TOO MANY FAKE REVIEWS (Fake reviews were detected by ReviewMeta.com )
Review of ball of foot pads for flats and ball of foot inserts for high heels judged on four factors that add comfort to shoes.
These are: Cushioning adequately; Stabilizing shoes by stopping forward slide (especially in high heels); Fitting into shoes without crowding; and Sticks inside shoes without crumpling or falling out. Comfort is a function of both design and material. The best ball of foot pads and cushions were made from soft material such as foam or soft gel covered with fabric. Foam cushioned best and stopped forward slipping. All hard materials such as gel or PU or plastic/rubber mix caused problems of being hard underfoot, too bulky or slippery. Ridges or bumps or texture in hard material to prevent sliding caused problems of being lumpy underfoot or painfully poking or burning into the foot. Many ball of foot cushions and metatarsal pads failed to have all four of the factors of comfort. Most of the ball of foot pads failed to stay in place, some even fell out of a shoe while walking creating a hazard. Only one stayed put. Some ball of foot pads were successful in stopping forward slide by hard ridges but the ridges caused foot pain. Three out of the 12 ball of foot cushions had an oval cushion with a hard ridge across the front. These ranked the worst. Smooth metatarsal pads that stuck to the foot were successful in providing cushioning in a small space without crowding the foot, but did almost nothing to stop forward slide. Three of the 12 were this style.
The analysis explored the issue of fake reviews, when it was discovered that 40% of Amazon reviews for ball of foot cushions and metatarsal pads were fake. The data for the study was collected in July 2019 from 600 reviews and 12 seller listings for ball of foot pads, ball of foot cushions, metatarsal pads. Only products from the first 6 pages of Amazon were chosen. Customer experience and seller claims do not match for many ball of foot cushions. Identical ball of foot pads are sold under different brand names. Some of the brands have mostly genuine reviews while another brand selling the exact same product may have all or mostly fake reviews. All fake reviews found were for ball of foot pads and metatarsal pads sold by companies with China as the country of origin or with no country of origin displayed.
The table below summarizes the findings from customer reviews. The ball of foot cushions are ranked according to how closely the customer feedback matches with the sellers claims on four items. The four items in the form of questions are: 1. Cushions. Does the ball of foot cushion add comfort to the foot ?, 2. Stabilizes. Does the ball of foot cushion stabilize shoes by stopping the foot from sliding forwards? , 3. Fits. Does the cushion fit into shoes without crowding, and 4. Sticks. Does the cushion stick and stay put or does it crumple or fall out of the shoe. In the last column on the right the Y and N refer to yes and no answers to the questions of 1, 2, 3 and 4.
TABLE OF FINDINGS FROM CUSTOMER REVIEWS:
The material of the ball of foot cushion and its design are the two factors that determine its functions of cushioning the foot and how well it will stabilize the foot by stopping forward slide. These two functions determine the perceived comfort.
The 12 Brands reviewed are made from various polymer materials in foam or in solid form that provide very different perceived amounts of cushioning. To stabilize the foot the products use varying methods. Some products have a raised soft toe grip (Killer Heels Comfort) or a hard ridge (Dr Eagle, Walkize, Pedi Soother Solutions) to stop the foot from sliding forwards. Some products use a material like foam that has surface grip (Killer Heels Comfort -foam, Foot Petals- foam; Mars Wellness- foam, Beautulipe - fabric covering gel) Foam and a fabric covering provides a dry surface underfoot which is more comfortable and less slippery than silicone gel, PU gel or TPE (thermoplastic elastomers.) Ball of foot cushion products that are made of gel may have a textured surface such as raised dots or grooves to help stop the foot from sliding forward (Ballotte, Dr Scholls, Foot Petals gel) The clear smooth metatarsal cushions (Zen Toes, Brison) rely on surface tack between the gel and the foot to stabilize the foot.
The customer feedback indicates which materials and designs perform as planned and which ones fail to perform as per the sellers’ claims to both cushion the foot and stop it from sliding forwards, particularly in high heel shoes.
The ball of foot cushion products were analyzed in groups of three which respectively are: The cushions that were closest to performing as their sellers claimed were from GROUP one - foam and GROUP four, the metatarsal pads groups. Products from these groups have a better designed cushion that can more easily provide comfort to the foot for both cushioning and stability or special purpose use. The foam pads are most likely to fit comfortably into a shoe. The worst products are hard silicone gel or TPE ball of foot cushions, or cushions with hard ridges on top. These products cannot provide soft cushioning, foot stability by stopping sliding and also have problems fitting into shoes, especially high heel shoes.
Group ONE: Ball of foot cushions, foam: Killer Heels Comfort; Foot Petals, Fancy Feet – foam; Mars Wellness
Group TWO: Ball of foot cushions, Silicone Gel, PU gel : Ballotte; Dr Scholls; Foot Petals - gel
Group THREE: Ball of foot cushions PU (polyurethane) gel, TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) gel, silicone gel:
Dr Eagle; Pedi Soother Solutions; Walkize
Group FOUR Ball of foot cushions, gel metatarsal pads : Zen Toes; Brison; Beautulipe
For more comprehensive details of the material in the table above and the methodology of the analysis see the blog " 7 Best Ball of Foot Pads on Amazon Ranked by Which Ones Work" see blogs, www.killerheelscomfort.com