Our readers put Vionic Shoes through their paces to find out if FMT Technology would work for them
Following my review of Vionic Orthotic shoes, we gave our reader panel one month to try their Vionic shoes and report back, this is how they got on:
I love my Vionic flip flops! I am wearing them as I sit to type this review.
When they first arrived, my husband examined the literature in the box and expressed concern that they could in fact be a bad idea after my recent hip replacement. I was seeing my physio later in the week so took them along with me to show her and ask her opinion. She checked my gait in them as I walked up and down the room a few times and she declared that they would be good for me - so it was 'all systems go!'
They took a little bit of getting used to as I usually wear Mephisto flip flops which are shaped differently for the foot. The toe strap is really comfortable and the shoes feel sturdy enough to wear outside (which normal rubber flip flops don't).
The stiffness in my hip joint after sitting for a while is definitely easing a lot - I can't say if the Vionic shoes have helped this but I believe they have probably contributed.
They are smart and have elicited quite a few admiring comments from friends and family.
I would recommend them but if, like me, you have had major surgery, it is probably a good idea to check with your physio that it is a good idea to wear them as they definitely change your stance and to an extent, your gait.
I have really enjoyed wearing the Vionic Venture trainers they have made a big difference to my weary, over-pronated feet!
When I first received the Vionic trainers I immediately tried them on. The size and fit were excellent but my feet felt a bit strange and not as comfortable as I was hoping. I spent a couple of hours wearing them whilst I walked my dog and did some housework. After two hours, my feet ached and I was quite relieved to take my trainers off. My feet were obviously not used to the biomechanical technology and needed to adjust to being realigned.
Over the next two weeks I gradually increased the amount of time I wore my Vionic trainers until I was wearing them for most of the day without any pain. My feet seem to have moulded to the trainers and given them the support they needed, so much so, that my plantar fasciitis and back pain is now non-existent.
Now I have absolutely no excuse not to walk the dog or exercise!
My Vionic trainers arrived very quickly, they fitted perfectly and were stylish. The first thing I noticed when I put them on was the arch support, which was different to what I was used to but were very comfortable to wear. They have great cushioning. I have worn them for walking, three to six miles at a time, and my feet and legs have not felt tired or sore.
As a busy mother I find myself constantly on my feet at home and at work and wearing my new trainers I have seen a dramatic reduction in the tiredness in my feet and legs at the end of the day.
I was delighted to receive an email to say I had been chosen to receive a pair of the Vionic shoes for trial. No sooner had I received the email than the shoes, a pair of pretty black flip flops arrived. I live in flip flops whenever I can and these are certainly smart enough to wear to more casual business meetings. I popped them on straight away and have worn them for much of the last month other than when in formal situations, where heels have been required.
A little background on me - I am closer to 60 than 50 and run a home based business. I'm very much into health and fitness and workout regularly - in fact I'm riding in the Prudential Ride London event, a 100 mile bike ride on 2 August!
I am in good health but do have a very slight curvature of the spin that can cause hip pain and slight carpal tunnel syndrome, more so at night than during the day. I also get some knee pain due to tight thigh muscles - all that cycling! I have heard that orthotic shoes can be beneficial to these types of conditions and sure enough within a day or two I found I was experiencing very little knee, hip or joint pain! This has continued for the whole period I have been wearing the shoes.
Walking slowly, as you would when viewing exhibits in a museum or gallery, or shopping almost always caused pain in my hip and numbness in my leg. On Monday this week, my daughter and I attended the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A in London. I wore my Vionic shoes and I had no pain or numbness at all! In fact we spent the whole day in London as tourists and I was thrilled to find I didn't experience any discomfort!
If I had to highlight one thing I was less happy with when I first starting wearing the shoes I would say the surface of the flip flop, where the foot sits. This has a bumpy or knobbly texture and during the first week of wearing the shoes if I left them on for long periods of walking this would feel a little uncomfortable or rough. However, I can liken it to wearing a thong shoe for the first time each spring; you soon get used to the thong between your toes. Similarly the surface of the shoe soon feels more normal and the discomfort goes.
I feel the need for another pair of shoes coming on and I certainly know where I will be purchasing them from.
Well I have to say I think these shoes have changed my life! None of my other shoes have got a look in since I got them. I did as advised and only wore them for a few hours a day. My feet seemed to fight against them for the first few days & did ache around the arches & heels. But from about day 4 I felt like I had been wearing them forever. All of my shoes wear down on the outside heel but these haven't at all and I've worn them extensively. I can wear them for ages with no leg or back ache. The biggest difference I've noticed is when I wear a previously worn pair of shoes, my feet feel awkward in them and ache after I've worn them for a few hours, I can't wait to get my Vionic's back on again. I'm a convert to these flip flops and will certainly buy a pair of the trainers when the weather turns.
I have to confess being unaware of the Vionic brand but had a major "a-ha" moment when I discovered that Vionic is endorsed by the much respected American doctor and best-selling author on holistic health, Dr Andrew Weil MD. Even more impressive is the fact that Dr Weil donates all of his after-tax profits from the royalties on sales of Vionic orthotic shoes to his not-for-profit foundation - "The Weil Foundation" which is dedicated to supporting integrative medicine through training, education and research.
Vionic shoes were developed by Phillip Vasyli, a renowned Australian podiatrist and founder of Orthaheel Technology. This leading orthotic technology is based on more than 30 years of podiatric success and Vionic sandals, shoes and slippers are bio-mechanically engineered to hug your arches, which supports natural alignment.
This means that the shoes help combat heel pain, ball of foot pain, shin pain, knee pain and, of greatest interest to me, back pain.
Mr Vasyli's theory is that constantly walking on flat surfaces such as pavements and wearing footwear which does not support our feet, leads the feet to roll inwards (over-pronation) when we walk, which in turn leads to these different types of pain. Vionic shoes have an orthotic footbed which help lift your arches and stop this chain reaction of pain from developing.
I was sent the Venture Walker which has a lightweight, durable mesh and man-made overlay to give breathability and comfort. The shoes have a removable covered EVA footbed and the bio-mechanic, orthotic footbed (FMT Orthaheel Technology) mentioned above that naturally aligns your feet and reduces over-pronation (the rolling inwards). The EVA midsole absorbs shock to help reduce the impact on your knees and ankles.
I have to say that I found the shoes incredibly light and comfortable to wear with no noticeable negative effect on my legs or back. I mention this because when I started to wear my Fitflops, I definitely noticed some mild muscle tenderness and tightness for the first couple of times I wore them.
You can definitely feel the orthotic device in the shoes cushioning the arch of the foot and, having walked several miles in these now, I would be quite confident wearing them on long walks or going sight-seeing in them. I've been wearing them on the school run and I am much better at keeping up with Caitlin, and particularly Ieuan, who goes everywhere at an easy canter, now my feet are properly supported. I'm not promising but I may even break into a jog occasionally.
Linda has shared this review on her blog Mother Distracted
First of all I need to say how much trouble I go through just to get shoes to fit my size 9, extra wide feet. Generally I try to go by the European size 43 as with different manufacturers, shoe sizing tends to be all over the shop and the same goes for widths. I return more shoes than purchase and have completely given up buying shoes from shoe shops on the high street. I had previously read good reviews about the Vionic brand and I was very happy when I was chosen to take part in Fighting Fifty's trial. Although I was half expecting I would have to return the shoes because of them not being wide enough.
When I first tried on the Venture Walker my feet slipped in easily. Did not feel tight at all, I liked the colour and style of the Vionic Venture, so a good start. The instructions which came with the shoes mentioned to only wear them for 1-2 hours for the first few days for your feet to realign. I followed these instructions but the first few days when I put on other shoes after wearing the Vionic Venture's or even just walking around my house in bare feet, my ankles hurt.
This discomfort certainly deflated my initial opinion I had with the comfort of the Venture Walker but I assumed this was because my ankles were pronating. I persevered and true to Vionic's instructions within a few days the Venture Walkers were comfortable shoes which didn't hurt my feet while wearing them nor when I put on other shoes after wearing the Vionic's. I can wear the Venture Walkers all day without experiencing lower back pain or sore feet and ankles as so many shoes I have had in the past caused.
Over all I am very pleased with the Vionic Venture Walker and I would definitely purchase from Vionic in the future if all their shoes are this comfortable. On their UK website there are a few choices for UK size 9 in wide. I am looking forward to viewing their winter styles as I would like to purchase a pair of casual boots with flat heels. My go to boots if you will. My only hope is Vionic will continue to cater for women needing larger sizing in wider styles.
I love these shoes, they are so comfortable to walk in and the definitely help relieve pressure on sore feet!
I have been using Vionic shoes now for the last few months. I have a severe back injury and I have arthritis in my back right down into my feet. The bones in my feet can get inflamed and very painful. They often get so very painful that for years I have pretty much padded about at home barefoot which has not really helped my posture, my feet or my back.
On starting to wear my Vionic I have noticed a huge difference straight away to how supported my feet now feel. They have really helped with arch support and also realigning my foot into the correct position they should be.
These Vionic shoes have been vital in helping ease my severe foot pain and I now would never be without them. They fit like a glove; I now walk a bit better, sit a bit better and stand a lot better. My feet just love them and they are rarely off my feet now. They are the first things I reach for every day! I just love them so much.
The Vionic sandals were true to size and I felt an instant change in my legs, (which felt as though they were further apart at the inside top) which I know sounds odd but not at all uncomfortable.
My advice to anyone would be to start wearing them around the house to get used to them. My first venture outside was a 10 minute walk and I could really feel it in my calf's, by which I mean that they ached I'm sure that must have been a sign telling me to wear better footwear. Now I walk without any problem.
The only downside is that they made my feet a little sweaty Sorry....Hope you're not eating!!!
Two MASSIVE upsides are:
1. My poorly arthritic feet are not so arthritic anymore. My toes used to 'Lock' if I curled them too much and now they don't. In general they feel much more comfortable.
2. My back is having a much needed 'holiday' Hooray, if it could talk it would say 'thank you I'm feeling just fine'. Since wearing the Vionic Master Pieces' my back now hardly aches at all. I can bend and stretch without the much dreaded pain.
I would advise the lovely people out there that need a new balance in life to at least give them a try. They have worked for me. Happy feet - Happy back.
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