December 2016

Focused young company grows closer to becoming internationally recognized footwear brand

By Robyn Parets

Ten years ago, the U.S. orthopedic medical community had never heard of Vionic shoes. That’s no surprise, as Vionic’s fashion-forward line of orthotic footwear marched into the market in 2007. Since then, the groundbreaking shoes for men and women have taken the orthotic and comfort shoe markets by storm. Indeed, Vionic shoes are now synonymous with stylish and supportive footwear for every occasion—from sandals to sneakers, and from boots to high heels.

“We’re a young brand, and in just nine years we’ve gone from a single flip-flop to becoming one of the foremost leaders in comfort footwear when it comes to function and fashion,” said Brandon Noble, the company’s director of medical sales and marketing.

Vionic’s vision is now even more focused: It aims to become the world’s favorite footwear brand. It looks like this goal may be achievable, especially after the company’s Relax Slippers were named one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” in 2016.

To understand Vionic’s meteoric growth in the past decade, it’s important to understand the company’s knowledgeable roots in the medical orthotic field. Australia-based Vionic Group LLC—with U.S. headquarters in San Rafael, Ca.—markets and sells its popular orthotic footwear brand through medical clinics, specialty shoe stores, and mass market retailers. Its full line is sold on its website, vionicshoes.com, and regardless of whether an orthotic clinic recommends the shoes or consumers purchase them on their own accord, Vionic stands alone in its mission to incorporate superior orthotic support in every pair of shoes.

“We’re a young brand, and in just nine years we’ve gone from a single flip-flop to becoming one of the foremost leaders in comfort footwear when it comes to function and fashion.”

The company’s dedication to biomechanics science is echoed by its sister business, Vasyli Medical. Founded in 1979, Vasyli introduced custom heat-moldable orthotics in 1987. Designed by some of the world’s foremost biomechanics experts, these medical orthotics were a game-changer for doctors and podiatrists who treated lower-limb disorders. Just a few years later, Vasyli rolled out over-the-counter, prefabricated orthotics. It seems only natural that shoes would come next, and they did. Vasyli’s technology around built-in orthotics for natural alignment is now known as Vionic with Orthaheel Technology.

Healthcare professionals trust proven orthotic footwear

It’s not hard to understand why doctors and podiatrists alike continue to recommend Vionic footwear for patients suffering from plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, Morton’s neuroma, and other conditions causing foot discomfort. Even Vionic slippers and sandals are effective for alleviating pain.

According to a recent peer-reviewed study, Vionic contoured sandals are comparable in effectiveness to the company’s best-selling prefabricated orthotics in the short-term treatment of heel pain. The 150-person study targeted heel pain sufferers averaging more than 50 years old. After a trial period of 12 weeks, patients wearing the Vionic contoured sandal were 68% more likely to report improvement in symptoms when compared to those wearing flat flip-flops. According to Vionic, the company’s shoes give plantar fasciitis patients “the confidence to walk, move, and live free from pain.”

Today, the Vionic Innovation Lab harnesses the knowledge of some of the world’s foremost experts in health and lower limb biomechanics, including integrative medicine expert Andrew Weil, MD, Jackie Sutera, DPM, and David G. Armstrong, DPM, MD, PhD, a recognized leader in diabetic foot care. The Vionic Innovation Lab experts work to advance new orthotic technology through foot health research and education. According to the company, part of their shared vision is to enhance foot health and promote a vibrant, active lifestyle.

Vionic Group: The ‘proud parent’ of complementary medical and retail brands

Indeed, the shoe powerhouse’s success in the clinical field and consumer market is driven by its proven Vionic with Orthaheel Technology. Satisfied customers spread the good word fast and the footwear brand now has a rapidly-growing fan base among doctors, therapists, retailers, patients and consumers.

In 2017, Vionic plans to forge ahead with its brand expansion. This will include the introduction of its latest footwear innovations: A cutting-edge block heel women’s shoe design and a new athletic shoe. Both new styles infuse the company’s orthotic technology right into the fashionable designs. To boot, the comfortable Elation 1.0 and Ngage 1.0 athletic shoes will be revolutionary for the company and its customers. These shoes include non-removable orthotics, integrated right into the outside soles.

“We’re pushing the envelope here,” Noble said. “We’re really excited.”

Robyn Parets is a freelance writer based in Boston.

Article sponsored by Vionic.

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