A contoured sandal made by San Francisco, CA-based Vionic is as effective for relieving heel pain symptoms as an in-shoe orthosis with a similar footbed and more effective than a flat sandal, according to an Australian randomized controlled trial.
Researchers from the University of Queensland randomized 150 patients with heel pain lasting at least four weeks to one of three footwear conditions: the Vionic contoured sandal; a prefabricated, full-length in-shoe orthosis with a similar contoured footbed, also made by Vionic; or a commercially available flip-flop sandal with a flat footbed. Participants were instructed to wear the assigned footwear during waking hours for 12 weeks.
Patients in the contoured sandal group were 68% more likely than those in the flat sandal group to report improved pain at 12 weeks, assessed using the Global Rating of Change tool, and 61% more likely to report improved function, assessed using the Lower Extremity Function Scale. Reported improvements were similar for the contoured sandal and in-shoe orthosis conditions.
The findings were published in December by PLoS One.