Friday, June 10, 2011

(Giveaway Closed) Stiletto Hardware Shoe Cushions

*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.

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Continue reading for my review and giveaway...
Each of my above shoes had different issues. First up, the 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:
So for the Versies, I used Ball of Foot cushions. These made the shoes snug for me, and more comfortable. If your shoe is only a TINY bit too big, then I'd recommend the Ball of Foot Ultra Slender cushions, so that the shoe doesn't become unbearably snug.

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!
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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
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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!
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Stiletto Hardware is giving away four pairs of inserts to one of my readers, open internationally.

36 comments:

  1. OOh, I want to give those a try! I'll share you tips with my Mom. :) She has tiny feet, and always has a problem with loose shoes. Thanks Jean!

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  2. Thanks for this! I keep buying heel lining because some of my heels are half size bigger, which isn't really a big problem because I rather go half size bigger than half size smaller or I'll get leg cramps, but it doesn't work sometimes =[

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  3. These sound like they'd solve a lot of my shoe nightmares, thanks for sharing! Didn't even realize there was a giveaway until the end :)

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  4. You are so quick! Thanks so much for sharing! :) I will definitely give this a try.

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  5. Wow the whole heel-grip/toe-pad advice from the girl who used to work at Nordstrom is so true! I'm going to switch to toe pads now!

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  6. Great review! I've been looking for something like these actually! =)

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  7. this is awesome! i always have problems trying to make my heels comfortable. can't wait to try these out!

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  8. There are so many times I want to get a shoe but they are always a half size to big, I try the dr scholls cushions but I end up getting blisters/scrapes on some places that are tight -_- Definitely wanna try these out!!

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  9. i took out my jimmy choos out for our anni dinner and my feet kept sliding forward! i needed the toe pads that night! i will def order them! thanks for the tip jean! -gma

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  10. I find that for closed-toe shoes, wearing nylons (either full pantyhose or knee/thigh highs) pretty much eliminates blistering. I've also read that putting deoderant on your feet prevents them from sweating, which can cause blistering but I've yet to try this because it sounds so messy :)

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  11. I used to wear foot petals, but they wore quicker than I hoped. I am very interested in trying out the stiletto hardware pads- thanks for the heads up!

    -julia

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  12. Hi Jean! Thanks for this; I'm always on the lookout for ways to make too-big shoes fit. Also, I just bought a pair of boots that I love but have a high ankle support on the left and I'm hoping to solve that problem the way you did with your Talbot Tweed Flats.

    I did have a question; where do you buy the foot petals in bulk? I like them a lot but they are pretty expensive.

    Thanks!

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  13. really? you hate the dr scholl's heel liners? i'm trying them out but not sure yet. this is great! all my size 5's gap and are too big

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  14. Hue shoe inserts are pretty good as well.

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  15. Great giveaway and great tips. Maybe with these I can now upgrade to grown up shoes.

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  16. Thanks for these! Amazing! Can't wait to try them! I'm not XXP like you, but I sometimes size 9's are too small but 9.5's are too big! So I'm in between half sizes, so annoying. Will try these out. I love how thorough you are in your reviews, keep it up!

    xoxo

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  17. Thank you!! Would really love to try these out.

    www.mrschong.com

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  18. Thanks for hosting this awesome giveaway. I might just look into getting some of these for my best friend's wedding at the end of the month. I don't wear heels often since I'm on my feet all day, but have to wear the ones she bought me for her wedding.

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  19. Thanks for the photos to show the difference! I have some Kiwi smiling feet insoles I like for flats but am still adding to the insole army for heels.

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  20. I think I need those. I like how they're extra thick. Would be great for my smaller foot. The heel cushion is also interesting because I also have that problem with shoes digging into my ankles. I may have to buy these in bulk. Haha.

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  21. I really want to try these!! They would be great with my size getting increasingly harder to find with all this vanity sizing going on.

    Great giveaway, Jean!! I entered =)

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  22. I am on my feet in heels for most of the day! I really feel like these could help me. Thank you for doing such a thorough review. I also liked the way you showed one insole vs. the other.

    www.theFashionableESQ.blogspot.com

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  23. I, like you, have always had horrible luck finding shoe cushions that really work - I'm going to have to try these. Thanks for reviewing all of the details!

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  24. Thanks for the awesome giveaway Jean! I have these pair of black patent simple heels that I love soooo much, and although they're pretty much been "broken in to", they still hurt the ball of my feet when I wear them for more than 2 hours... And I have a set of Dr. Scholls gel pads in there, but they don't really work that well... I'm kinda interested in trying these out though. :)

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  25. Oooh I'm looking for something better than foot petals! They don't seem to last as long. ;/ Thanks for posting this giveaway!

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  26. Thanks for the review Jean! The 3 pair packs from CVS are cheap (somewhere around $2 I think) and also do the trick!

    Random aside, I'm checking out Zen hair next week thanks to your tip from a few months ago :)

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  27. LOL I totally missed the contest? :P These seem great and good to know they're from Canada!

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  28. Aww...I wish that you could give 4 people one pair of insoles to try!
    Seems like a great brand to try but I'm not sure if I'm willing to take the leap in case they make my shoes tooo snug.

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  29. ohhh yay!! i'm so excited that I won!!! =D I guess I'm waiting for an email? =D YAY!! thanks Jean!

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  30. @Petite-ish Oo, let me know how it goes! I'm due for another visit soon...hope he doesn't mess it up lol.

    @Sarah Hi Sarah, I actually bought generic inserts (not foot petals) in bulk, on ebay. They were a very random brand though and the seller doesn't have any more.

    @Diana Aw, I wish I could!! I'll keep that in mind to "distribute" the goodies in future giveaways : )

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  31. @Betty Hi Betty, I don't have your email so please shoot me a message at petiteasiangirl at gmail.com and I'll get your info to Stiletto Hardware.

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  32. I want to enter the giveaway!!! I really need those :S

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  33. Thanks for the 15% off code Jean. I just ordered 1 of each to try :)

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