*Contest closed! Thank you everyone for entering. The winner is Betty Chan. Please email me*Ever since I've upgraded from children's sneakers to big-girl shoes, I've faced the following issues:
1. Shoes in the smallest size available are still too big.
2. Ball-of-foot strain and even callouses from prolonged standing in heels.
3. Heels of shoes digging painfully into my lower ankles.
When Kelly of Stiletto Hardware offered to send me some memory foam cushions, I didn't have high expectations (jaded by the mediocre insoles I own). After 2 months of "testing," I think these are good enough to share.
SH currently has three cushion types. Each set is $7.95, plus 15% off with code XXP, and automatic free shipping over $10 to the USA or Canada. Not bad! The small company is based in Canada, and cushions are manufactured in the USA.
Target Versie Pumps were a little loose. Not terrible, but enough to cause blistering. I usually recommend ladies to get their shoes snug, as a loose shoe that continuously rubs against your foot is a recipe for chaffing and blistering. Ouch!
For shoes that are a little too big (and I emphasize, only "a little," such as a few millimeters, because anything more than that is too much to be fixed comfortably by inserts or insoles) I usually use foamy heel grips. Then I got this suggestion from a reader:
Secondly, my beloved Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps have been my trusty all-day-long shoes, and the balls of my feet would get calloused due to all the weight I'm putting on them. Yuck, yes, but such is reality. I put some Ultra Slender Ball of Foot cushions in a few pairs, and it has been nice to have an added cushion at that pressure point.
Lastly, I have these adorable Talbots tweed flats, but the heels were excruciatingly painful. The back of the heels were too high for my foot, and dug in with every step. A heel cushion gave me some extra lift and diminished the digging. I'm pretty sure that's not the intended purpose, but it works!
Since I'm not new to the world of inserts and insoles, I wanted to ask Kelly what differentiated her products from the competition. In my drawer alone, I have a number of Foot Petals, some failed gel heel grips from Dr. Scholls (if I could give those negative stars, I would), and a whole stash of foam heel grips purchased in bulk. Kelly's response:
- Top layer of memory foam in addition to shock-absorbing material in the bottom layer of the insole.
- Unique shape/smaller size of Ball-of-Foot Ultra Slender
- Both antifungal and antibacterial to prevent odor
- Thicker product due to the dual-layer nature of the insoles
I dug up a pair of my Foot Petals to show you guys how the shape, size, and thickness of these two brands differ. As you can see above, the SH insole is at least twice as thick as the Foot Petals. In summary, I personally found SH insoles to be comfortable, effective for ball-of-foot cushioning and for closing small shoe-size gaps. Tiffany, the queen of high heels, also did a review here. Readers - please feel free to share some of your favorite shoe solutions in the comments!
Stiletto Hardware is giving away four pairs of inserts to one of my readers, open internationally.