Good shoes should balance comfort, support and style. But it seems the stars rarely align in this manner; aesthetically pleasing shoes are often ill-fitting, and form-fitting footwear is often plain.
A former podiatrist aims to change that with a line of luxury women’s shoes that are as fashionable as they are wearable.
From Podiatrist to Shoe Designer
As a former podiatric surgeon, Marion Parke is keenly attuned to the foot and ankle pains and problems that many shoes contribute to or exacerbate. As a fashion-conscious professional, Parke was tired of uncomfortable dress shoes.
A recent Forbes article details how Parke left podiatry to launch her namesake brand of footwear in 2015. The Marion Parke line features twists on classic designs like pumps, heels, slides and booties backed by a thorough consideration of biomechanics.
“First and foremost these shoes are beautiful, hand-made Italian shoes with fashion first—that’s what was missing in my closet and that is what I wanted to create,” Parke says in the Forbes article. “A shoe that when you look at it you say, ‘It’s beautiful.’ Then when you put it on you say, ‘Wow, I can feel the difference.’”
The growth of Parke’s company has outpaced initial expectations, which is especially surprising considering the competitive nature of the shoe market. Parke attributes the success largely to the technology behind the shoes, the quality of the materials, and their overall feel.
“Every detail matters. We spend a lot of time on fit,” she tells Forbes. “Every millimeter in shoe design counts.”
Science in Shoe Design
Why is it so hard to find comfortable, stylish shoes? The size and structure of everyone’s feet differ; in fact, each person’s feet have slight differences in form—some people have shoe-size differences between their individual feet.
Footwear has improved dramatically in recent decades as we develop a greater understanding of how the feet and ankles work, and as shoe designers put that science into practice. Last year, a Footwear News article focused on innovations such as 3D printing and body scanning that are changing shoe development and allowing for more individualization.
A recent Wired report tracks the evolution of self-lacing shoes from a concept for Back to the Future Part II to a reality. Nike released the HyperAdapt “adaptive fit” shoes during the 2016 holiday season, just one year behind Back to the Future’s 2015 prediction.
Although knowledge, technology and materials have improved, it’s still important to try on multiple types of shoes to find the best fit. This is especially true if you find yourself on your feet for extended periods during the day, or if you lead an active lifestyle that includes running, hiking, etc.
Discomfort in the feet and ankles can affect your quality of life and lead to other problems. The podiatrists at the Foot & Ankle Center of Northern Colorado have extensive experience helping patients recover from foot and ankle injuries, and finding lasting relief from foot and ankle pain. Please call our Greeley office at 970-351-0900 or our Longmont office at 303-772-3232 to learn how we can help you.
Photo by njhomepictures