My passion to help people feel happier on their feet started in my early 20’s. As a trained dancer I have a deep understanding of how important the feet are to the function of the human body. Ballet is punishing on feet, and like many dancers, I experienced foot pain and injury from a young age. By my teens, I knew that when my feet didn’t feel great my mood suffered as well, and watched on as others struggled with long term foot problems. I’d always been interested in feet and what a remarkable piece of bioengineering they are. But the importance of looking after them became clearer with age, which led me to study Podiatry at University.
18 years of working as a podiatrist enabled me to spend a lot of time with people to help improve their feet through orthotics and footwear. This was very rewarding, especially when receiving compliments that podiatry helped their feet feel as light as air and ready to go dancing! However it was also a great source of frustration due to frequent issues people had with orthotics and arch supports. No matter how they are made, orthotics are often too bulky to fit into normal shoes, difficult to break in, require multiple appointments over several weeks to organise, and are downright expensive. So expensive in fact that many people can’t get the help they need, and their foot problems can lead to inactivity and health problems. Ready-made arch supports are more affordable and quicker to access, but often don’t provide enough support, deteriorate quickly, and are also too bulky to fit normal shoes. As an orthotic-wearer myself, I experienced these issues too, and know how limiting they can be. To me, orthotics and arch supports are meant to help solve foot problems, not add new problems. People deserve better; and I wanted to find the solution.
The journey involved long nights of research, visiting Orthotic laboratories, and trialling countless orthotics and arch supports from around the country and the world. What I found was even more disturbing; many custom orthotics looked the same despite differences in people’s feet, and customising the orthotics meant ticking boxes on a form, unable to create a truly unique design for the person. Then came the big one… pollution and toxicity. Until 3D printed orthotics came along, more than 80% of the plastic and rubber materials used to make orthotics was discarded, stacked high in storage silos destined for landfill. Exposure to airborne particles of rubber, plastic and carbon fibre created by grinding orthotic materials, skin contact with glue thinners, and toxic fumes from heating rubber and using industrial adhesives and glue thinners are known to cause a range of health complaints such as headaches, dizziness, lung and eye problems and more. I myself experienced these issues whilst covering and modifying orthotics in my podiatry practice. Needless to say, it all contributes to making people pretty sick and destroying our planet.
Specialised technology made it possible to design and fabricate bespoke 3D printed orthotics with infinite customisations. The learnings that came with the freedom to fully customise and the success of the bespoke orthotics with podiatry clients surpassed any expectations I had. Knowledge building and continual refinement resulted in a game-changing orthotic design. One that made people feel happy on their feet with amazing comfort, flexible support, and streamlined shape to fit all kinds of shoes, even heels and sandals. This was the solution I had been seeking; this was the conception of SPRIING arch supports.
A breakthrough in designing SPRIINGs covers allowed us to address pollution and sustainability issues. Covers that could be removed for washing, interchanged between different shoes and replaced when the cover was worn out meant SPRIINGs could be more versatile and durable, with less material waste and without nasty fumes from glue or thinners. Sustainable packaging was the final touch, with the re-usable SPRIING pouch made from rPET (recycled plastic bottles) and home compostable green mailer bags. And finally the bright colourful patterns help put smiles on faces and make the experience happier.
I am so excited about the future of SPRIINGs - they solve so many problems, but beyond that, they are here to bring happy experiences through being happier on your feet. And they are for anyone who wants to have more support in regular shoes, to feel happier in shoes you love. My goal has always been to help people feel happier on their feet, and to inspire more people to feel like dancing and SPRIING does exactly that. Dancing is joyful and allows us just for a moment to forget about the worries of the world. And right now we could all do with that