medi USA, the US subsidiary of the German company medi, is continuing to bring innovations to its igli line of carbon fiber insole products, with a particular emphasis on the brand’s roots in pediatric orthoses.
Ed Wilbourne, senior category manager in the Footcare Division for medi USA, located in Whitsett, NC, said the igli product line has enjoyed great success since its introduction into the US market in 2014. In response to this enthusiasm, the company has developed a separate, stand-alone website (igliusa.com) as a marketing and education tool.
“Our goal is to have the website be user-friendly for both clinicians and patients,” Wilbourne said. “People will be able to go there and learn about different conditions, igli products that have worked well for other patients, and so forth. Beginning in January 2015, we’ll also have a monthly update, written by guest presenters, that focuses on a particular condition and treatment. These will feature igli products to begin with, then later will branch off into other medi products within the foot and ankle segment.”
The igli line comprises a series of advanced, easily customizable carbon fiber insoles designed to be quickly adaptable, in a clinician’s offices, to accommodate a patient’s activities and expectations. A unique aspect of the igli insoles is their carbon “clip,” which is roughly three-quarter length and features thin incisions that allow a balance of control and flexibility. The clips are heat moldable at temperatures from 140° to 180° C.
“The strategic incisions allow the clinician to control the elements of foot motion without having to put the patient into a restrictive or difficult-to-wear product,” Wilbourne explained.
On the bottom of the insole several circular pads of varying densities are adhered by Velcro; these can be repositioned in the clinic for the best possible biomechanics.
As noted, Wilbourne is particularly enthusiastic about the changes in the pediatric line, which will improve and expand upon the igli Junior model.
“The product’s adaptability is even more important for young patients, because they’re growing rapidly,” he said. “You want to allow their foot to function in a normal pattern while controlling other factors such as pediatric flatfoot.”
The emphasis on pediatrics reflects the foundation of the igli line, Wilbourne said.
“The ability to have a foot diagnosed and a need addressed instantly, with postings that are easily adjusted at the patient’s first visit, is the core idea behind igli products,” he said. “We want to give clinicians something they can easily customize, without having to take tests and scans, and have the patient walk out with the product. The new insoles we’ll launch this January take the current model to the next evolutionary stage.”
The pediatric products will now be identified by color; for example, the new igli Junior Orange is similar to the original Junior model, including the same deep heel cup, but features a slight recess under the hallux for comfort. It also has a 1-mm layer of EVA that covers the bottom of the carbon fiber clip and protects it from dirt, sand, and the sundry other abrasive substances kids get into that can damage carbon. The new models also feature polyurethane postings, which will provide better cushion and resilience than the earlier EVA versions.
The igli Junior Orange, designed to be functionally equivalent to the existing model, will start at European size 19 and top out at 34. The igli Blue C+ is a heavier-duty model with stiffer carbon that runs from sizes 25–40, and is intended for bigger children or special applications requiring a more rigid platform.
“We’ve made the changes for a variety of reasons,” Wilbourne said. “One is durability; we want them to withstand the abuse kids give them.”
In the adult arena, the igli Active has surpassed the Allround as the company’s best seller, both in Europe and the US.
“The Active is similar to the Allround in that it is easy to adjust,” said Wilbourne. “The big difference is that the Active has a foot–orthotic interface of softer, trilaminate PPT that’s more accommodating, whereas the Allround is firmer.”
The other igli product that’s done particularly well since introduction is the Heel Spur Light, which uses a dual-durometer insole and a soft silicone insert under the sensitive area of the calcaneus, and has shown particular appeal for patients dealing with plantar fasciitis and related conditions involving heel pain.
Additional models in the line include the Control, for those with hallux rigidus and other arthritic conditions; the Comfort, which offers extra padding under the metatarsals and is targeted for those who spend a lot of time on their feet; and the Hardboot, for rigid sports applications such as ski boots. For situations requiring tighter-fitting shoes, such as soccer or business use, there are the igli Slim and the Business model.
According to Wilbourne, medi USA will reach out to clinicians and customers through both the website and seminars around the country, the first of which will be held in North Carolina in March 2015.
“We’re trying to be a good example of marketing through education,” he said.
Cary Groner is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Article sponsored by medi USA.