Questions & Answers

Orthotics and VFF

Received a call from a client wanting a custom orthotic made for his VFF. I told him they are designed for barefoot and there is no room. He says "I heard there is a new style that has a removable insole" I tell him there's no structure as a base for the orthotic and still not enough space. He then says "is there anything you can do?" Suggested other barefoot options and told him that if you want correction I can make modifications to sole but it could ruin them, it's up to you if you want to a chance that it may not work. His final remark "I think I want to try, I'll call back for an appointment.


Answers and Replies


Oh boy. So I guess some people would rather pay for a medical device rather than see if they can strengthen their feet and go without one...


For me, VFFs & orthotics are mutually exclusive. Once I completed my transition to VFFs and strengthened my feet, my orthotics of 25 years went into storage. I am so grateful that VFFs and other minimal shoes helped me out of my orthotics.

I suppose I could use my orthotics with other minimal shoes in my collection but i can't imagine doing so.

of course,everyone's situation is unique.


We have an appointment on Friday. He's still holding firm on modifying the VFF. Will try and talk some sense with him.

bpk, I had the same experience. Transitioning to barefoot has freed me from the orthotics I wore for 20+yrs.


When I first got my VFFs, i really was not thinking about my orthotics. I had worn them forever and essentially worn them in every shoe I owned. For example, I would only wear sandals with some strapping in back to hold my orthotics in place. when i started transitioning to VFFs, i would do part of my runs in VFFs, and part of my runs in my old shoes with my orthotics. when i would do the switch mid run from my VFFs to the structured shoe with orthotics, the first thing i would notice was how uncomfortable my arches were with the orthotics pushing up against them. after a few more transition runs, i ditched the orthotics, mostly just because they were uncomfortable. it was only after a few more runs and completing the transition that I realized that I didn't need nor want to wear to my orthotics anymore.

my point, i guess, is that if someone, even an esteemed professional, had tried to tell me at first that my goal should be to not wear my orthotics, I probably would not have believed them. wearing my orthotics was kind of like breathing. it was just something I did with no second thought. i had to figure it out on my own that i didn't need them anymore.

And along the way, I did read I got some good insights in that book about how one's arches are supposed to work and how orthotics have the potential to hinder the body's natural mechanisms for support & cushioning. With these insights and my own experiences, ditching my orthotics was an easy decision for me.


Someone made a "barefoot orthotic" that was like a tiny little huarache under his first metatarsal only. (Morton's Toe orthotic. Personally my Morton's Toe issues are not an issue barefoot.)

What is the condition he needs an orthotic for? Could you rig up a huarache for him to use when his feet are too tired for VFF? A huarache would provide the same toe spreading and ground protection of a VFF, but from cheaper materials it won't be so bad if they have to be replaced to readjust the orthotic.


He has an abducted (pigeon toed) gait, plantar flexed 1st metatarsal causing an over load on the 4th and 5th mets and hip pain. What would help alleviate the problems is a reverse morton's extension and lateral forefoot wedge. This could easily be made into a huarache if he's open to that. Could also modify the bottom of a VFF to do the same thing.

I'm made few corrective huarache for others with good success.


Putting an orthotic in VFFs? That defies logic. Perhaps if you made up some BS that the shape of the VFFs is just like an orthotic, providing the right kind of support that an orthotic provides maybe in this way you could talk him out of it.


No orthotic made and no modification to VFF. I added adhesive felt to the bottom of his VFF so he would get idea what it would feel like with the correction needed. He did not like it. So we went with a soft laminate type inlay to alleviate his issues. Explained to him that once his problem is resolved he should wean away from the orthotics so his feet do not become weak. We'll see if he does it, most people will not stop wearing them. They do not want to take the time to strengthen their feet.

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