A ‘hack’ for Clark’s wedge heels - more comfortable cushioning than the original without crowding your toes - for your best all-day office wedges!
Medium and low heel wedges have a reputation of being very comfortable to wear for long periods of time but they can sometimes cause ball of foot pain. The good news is that they can be easily ‘hacked’ for permanent ball of foot pain relief. Even a 2.25” high wedge heel (the Clark’s in the photos) places the foot on a downward slope that will make the foot move forward during extended wear such as wearing wedge heels all day at the office. When your foot moves forward inside a shoe a gap is formed at the heel end and toes get crushed- sometimes painfully - into the toe end of the shoe. A badly positioned foot in the shoe can cause ball of foot pain when walking, make walking awkward and makes your outfits look lopsided - and a grimace of pain never looks good!
The high heel wedge shoe in the photo is a Clark’s, famous for being well cushioned. However in this instance the shoe was insufficiently cushioned under the ball of the foot with foam that crushes, and too well cushioned in the toe box. The insole made of rigid foam in these shoes was the same thickness under the ball of the foot and in the toe box at the front of the shoe. The ¼” thick cushioning in the toe box made the area of the forefoot much too tight, even if the shoe had the correct length for the foot and the toe box was rounded. The necessary ‘hack’ to make the Clark’s wedge heel shoe perfectly comfortable - without becoming tight at the toes- was to remove the front half of the shoe’s insole and replace it with a contoured rebounding foam pad. As shown in the photo the contoured PORON ball of foot cushion extends only under the toes as a raised toe grip. It does not extend into the toe box of the shoe to cause crowding as the original Clark's cushioning did. A ball of foot gel cushion or a memory foam cushion will not work because respectively they are too slippery and hard to be comfortable or too soft to stop the foot from sliding forwards
The new contoured ergonomic foam ball of foot cushion helps provide comfort to the Clark high heel wedges in two main ways. It provides cushioning under the ball of foot without crowding or without flattening and stabilizes the foot preventing forward or sideways slide. Poron foam rebounds therefore a thin layer of foam provides excellent cushioning without crowding. The Poron ball of foot cushions are only ¼” (6mm) high at the toe grip and 4.5 mm directly under the middle of the ball of foot. The 4.5 mm raised part is custom fitted by the wearer to the optimal spot to spread the metatarsal heads and reposition them while also cushioning the ball of the foot at the point of greatest pressure. The ball of foot cushion tapers towards the edges to 2mm to save space in the shoe. The ergonomic shape contours to the underside of the foot providing cushioning where it is needed most and saves space for wiggle room for the toes.
In the photos the bright yellow material is a thin 1/16” sheet of EVA craft foam. This foam was used to cover the cardboard insole that was exposed when the Clark's shoes original insole was removed from the toe box front end of the shoe. The EVA craft foam is smooth under the toes and waterproof. It is thin and will crush to become even thinner to barely take up any space. A thin foam insole with fabric cover cut to size would function equally well to cover the cardboard insole.
A ‘hack’ for Maddon Girl ankle boots adds cushioning that is much better than the original to stabilize and cushion your foot for long walks in the park, a comfortable commute to work or for a morning on your feet of Saturday chores.
Low heeled pointed toe ankle boots are popular for their versatility – they look good with skirts or jeans – plus with their low heels you can walk in them for long periods of time in comfort - b ut they can be easily ‘hacked’ to be even better and feel more like cushiony runners than thin bottomed boots. The Madden Girl ankle boots need more cushioning targeted under the ball of the foot because the boots have thin bottoms. The cushioning should not crowd the toes in pointy toe boots therefore it has to be tiny. Pointy toe ankle boots- like Madden Girl - used for walking outdoors need ball of foot cushions and contoured toe grips to stop forward slide of your foot into the pointed toe. Toes get pushed forward inside boots most when you walk fast. The problem with pointed toe footwear is that if the foot slides forward the forefoot will be squeezed from the sides and the toes will become overlapped onto each other causing pain by being pressed into each other and into the top of the boot making unsightly - and painful - toe bumps on the outside of the boot.
The necessary ‘hack’ to make the Madden Girl ankle boots perfectly comfortable - is to add a contoured rebounding foam pad that targets cushioning to under the middle of the ball of the foot where it is needed most plus stops forward slide. As shown in the photo the contoured ball of foot cushion extends only under the toes as a raised toe grip. It does not extend into the toe box of the boots which would crowd the toes, especially in a pointed toed boot.
The rebounding foam ball of foot cushion helps provide comfort to the madden Girl ankle boots in two main ways. It provides targeted cushioning under the ball of foot. The Poron cushioning never flattens so a relatively thin ball of foot cushion will provide excellent spring back cushioning under each step without crowding the boots. The Poron ball of foot cushions have a raised ¼” (6mm) toe grip that hold the foot back from sliding into the pointed toe of the boot with no excess material inside the tapered toe section of the boot. The contoured ergonomic shape of the ball of foot cushion is space saving and designed for a custom fit to the exact angle of the toes making the cushioning very effective in stabilizing the foot.
After the ball of foot cushion is placed in an optimal position it can be left uncovered or covered as in the ankle boots in the photo by a thin 1/16” layer of EVA craft foam that covers the ball of foot cushion. (The ball of foot cushion shows up as a oval shape under the thin EVA foam) The EVA craft foam is smooth under the foot and allows the foot to slide more easily into the ankle boots . Pushing the foot into footwear laterally will cause the foot to stick to the surface of the Poron foam which has a grip surface. A thin foam insole with fabric cover, cut to size would function equally well to cover the Poron foam inserts and and make the inside of the boot smooth. A smooth insole will help the foot slide in easier especially in boots that are worn with thick ankle socks.
A comfort ‘hack’ for high heeled winter boots
Layering a pair of Poron foam ball of foot cushions topped with a craft foam sheet or thin fabric covered insoles works very well with winter boots to make them super comfortable for long distance walking, plus helps to insulate the foot against the cold ground. All high heeled boots could use additional cushioning. Contoured Poron ball of foot cushions are best if there is limited space inside any footwear. The rebounding foam will cushion the foot very well with only a 3/16 layer of foam because the polyurethane foam never crushes. Each step is as cushioned as the last. The design of the contoured ball of foot cushions is space saving, so the cushioning never crowds a normal fitting boot or shoe. Never wear shoes or boots that are too tight. If in doubt about your size always go larger and use foam inserts to customize the fit.
Ball of foot cushions have many problems. Too bulky, too hard, don't hold the foot back from sliding forwards and don't stick - even falling out of a shoe! Since 40% of ball of foot pad reviews on Amazon are fake making a good buy is difficult. This chart is based on analysis of 600 reviews to help you.
Review the ranking of the Best and the Worst in high heel shoe cushioning. See if you can find the one you wear most often, and compare it to the other six.
The 'secret' to making sure you get high heel shoe inserts that will work for you and give your foot maximum comfort is to never buy or wear high heels that are too tight. Customize your high heels with foam inserts that have at least three important features. 1. The cushioning should never crush. The 'new springy foam' feeling should last forever. 2. The cushioning should be soft, never hard and slippery like gel or a rubber/plastic combination. 3. The inserts should hold your foot back against gravity 100%. Much of the pain of high heels is from toes and forefoot being crushed. Bonus if the inserts you choose stabilize your high heels to stop wobbles - a big help in platform heels or high heeled sandals.