I will take the exam to become a Certified Pedorthist in a couple of months, after I finish accruing the thousand hours of practicum work required. This has taken me a while–it’s been difficult to manage my custom shoe workload along with adding in the hours of shadowing two talented and giving certified pedorthists in the area. Somehow along the way I found the time to turn a pair of custom molded orthotics into a pair of sandals. I wore them around this summer A LOT.
Below are the materials I used for the orthotics, fresh out of the vaccuum forming machine. Still warm! I first cast my feet in plaster and made some modifications so that I would have a form with which to work. Note: this work was done under the supervision of two C.Peds.
This the sandal base, trimmed and glued. I’ve marked where my toes land and made a nice shape (I’ve got a wide forefoot that likes to splay out, with a narrow heel. In olden times, this foot would fit a “combination last”. I don’t have a lot of foot problems, other than the width of my forefoot and pretty high arches. I walk a lot).
I covered the footbed with fairly soft leather so that it would shape around the orthotic easily. The leathers that I like to use in shoemaking are generally less flexible, to better hold the shoe’s shape. This is garment leather. Something like deerskin would work too. I added straps and adjusted them to fit. The sandals have a lightweight rubber sole of “soleguard” or “dance rubber”. This wears through pretty quickly (it lasts a season for me), but I like not adding the extra weight of a heavier sole.
I’ve made leather and cork sandals with a simple arch support in the past, but what I did not like about them was the break-in period under the heel. I like for a sandal to have a nice heel cup, and this pair fits my high arch as well.