The PR for Orthaheel® contacted me to review a pair of shoes from the new Vionic™ line. I had my pick of the litter, so to speak, and I chose the Sierra Casual Slip-on ($99.95) in berry/chocolate — they sent them in black/black. While the black is still sorta cute they are not as dynamic as the color blocking on the other two. From top to bottom: berry/chocolate, mustard/tan, black/black:
The Vionic shoes have the same Orthaheel Technology as their other lines. The “Orthaheel technology provides biomechanically contoured support concealed within contemporary designs”. They have many daily wear styles from sandals to heels to sneakers for women and men. The removable support was designed by an Australian podiatrist to help wearers reduce “over-pronation and the associated aches and pains”.
First Impressions of Orthaheel Sneakers
Once I got over the color (ok, obviously, not over that yet) I could tell they were well made shoes. The sole is sturdy (don’t feel like I am walking on ground) and there is an excellent not slip tread. Because these are a cooler season shoe there is a little bit of padding in the sides and toe for warmth. It has clean stitching and glue.
This is a slip on shoe with no shoe laces so the shoe is a little sloppy when walking. A nice finishing touch would have been a tab on the back to make it easier to pull on. The tongue moves around and I have to hold the tongue in place to slip in my foot and wiggle my forefinger around inside to pull on the shoe.
Here is a closer look at the Vionic insole in the Orthaheel Sneakers, that hump at the top of the image is the instep.
Free floating tongue.
My Vionic Orthaheel Two Week Diary
I decided since I tend to walk around in my stocking feet at home that I would do a diary for two weeks to update how my feet feel wearing the Orthaheel sneakers for extended periods.
Day one: I wore them for about six hours today. It was like walking around with a walnut in my instep. These shoes are definitely warm but they don’t have that cheap no breathing room warmth that cheap sneakers have. These shoes also don’t have that weird rubber smell that some new shoes have.
Day two: I hate that there is no tag at the heel to help pull these on. It was a two-take application today because the tongue folded underneath. Whatever, no biggie, just annoying. The shoes felt a little more comfortable today. Wore them for a little more than six hours.
Day three: I found it a little easier to wear today. It is almost like my instep has molded to the “walnut”. Definitely more comfortable. No blisters developing anywhere either.
Day four: Today it felt like the instep was a bit bruised on my left foot. Out of five I would rate the discomfort at a 1, just enough for me to make note of it. I decided not to wear them for more than a few hours which consisted of house work.
Day five: I wore these shoes for a mini photo shoot for another review I am working on because they worked. No instep complaints, it still feels firm in the instep but no discomfort. I probably only wore them for five hours today.
It’s hard taking pictures of your own feet.
Day six: This is my first day actually wearing them out and about in the real world. We went out for supper then for a walk by the bay. They do slide up and down my heel while walking but so far no blisters – bonus!
Day seven: Still feel like I have a walnut in my left shoe but the right one not so much. I wonder if the arches on my feet are different.
Day eight: I was out shopping again today. Was feeling otherwise comfortable foot-wise in these shoes but then all of a sudden the trigger points in the dip of my left calf went crazy and I was limping around the store. This is on the same leg where I’ve felt the walnut in the sole. I have never had this happen before so I have to attribute it to the change in footwear. I’m trying a heating pad to get rid of some of discomfort.
Day nine: Took a day off to let me calf recuperate. I didn’t think it would because it was so painful but it seems fine today. Going to take another day just to make sure.
Day ten: I ended up taking a few days off because snowy weather made me turn to boots. I cleaned off the soles and wore inside for a few hours. The walnut sensation I have been experiencing in my left instep has diminished. The shows are otherwise comfortable.
Day eleven/twelve: Over the last two days I wore them periodically and experienced miscellaneous aches and pains in my left ankle or right knee. I do find the shoes comfortable to wear and I was surprised at how good the traction is on the soles (we had some freezing rain and snow).
And that is the end of my twelve day diary for the Orthaheel sneakers. If you have any questions let me know.