Q&A with Paul the Pedorthist: a professional's opinion on SOLE.
We speak to Paul Mäkinen about the business of looking after feet, and what sets SOLE apart.
It doesn't take 15 years to figure out that SOLE insoles are the most comfortable you've ever worn; more like 15 minutes. It doesn't take a professional qualification to recommend comfort to your friends. But if you DID happen to have 15 years professional experience working with people's feet, what would you say? We caught up with Paul The Pedorthist to find out.
The Lightest Tread (TLT): Please introduce yourself - who are you and what do you do?
Paul The Pedorthist (PTP): I'm Paul Mäkinen. Husband, father, CrossFitter, lover of skiing and golf. Born and raised in Nova Scotia. I am a Canadian Certified Pedorthist with 15 years of experience helping patients address lower extremity concerns through the use of custom and off the shelf orthotics and footwear recommendations.
"With support from the ground up then we can often have a significant impact on reducing pain and discomfort from many different conditions."
TLT: Any highlights from your 15 years you'd like to share?
PTP: Being a Certified Pedorthist has been a very rewarding career. Knowing that I have had a positive impact on so many lives through my work over the past 15 years is what keeps me motivated. I have had the privilege of making orthotics for Special Olympic athletes and that has been rewarding to see them excel in their sport and knowing that I play a "small" part in that.
TLT: How did you get into feet and footwear?
PTP: After graduating from a massage therapy program and working as a massage therapist for 3 years, in 2003 I started working for an independent footwear retailer in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They had multiple Certified Pedorthists working for them at the time and after many months of asking lots of questions about the different types of orthotics and how they functioned, I began my training to become a Pedorthist.
TLT: How did you find SOLE?
PTP: SOLE was one of the brands that the shoe store carried and I quickly identified them as the top off the shelf insole on the market. I started selling them 15 years ago as my go-to off the shelf solution and still recommend them to my patients today!
TLT: What's the most common condition or ailment you encounter?
PTP: Plantar Fasciitis (or some form of heel pain) is the single most common complaint that I get in-clinic on a daily basis. Heel pain can often be relieved with arch support and SOLE has got you covered no matter what arch type you may have.
TLT: Can you heal debilitating pain with insoles?
PTP: Insoles are always a great starting point for trying to address pain. The feet are the base for all other functional movements in the body. If there are mechanical/structural challenges, by addressing them with support from the ground up then we can often have a significant impact on reducing pain and discomfort from many different conditions.
TLT: Why do you recommend SOLE in particular?
PTP: The ability to custom mold SOLE inserts is what I feel gives them the edge on their competitors. Not all feet are the same. Being able to customize the fit and feel of the SOLE insert is key. Having a more customized support should set the user up for a better overall fit/feel experience.
TLT: Are there any common misconceptions about foot pain or looking after your feet that you’d like to address?
PTP: The one misconception I often hear from people is that custom orthotics/off the shelf insoles weaken your feet. To help my patients dispel this myth I often give them the analogy of "people who wear glasses are not weakening their eyes, they are just using the glasses to address some form of deficiency to improve their vision". Orthotics and insoles are a great compliment to an overall rehab approach that incorporates mobility and strength work while improving support and alignment.
TLT: What activities is it most important to have proper support for?
PTP: Repetitive stress activities are the ones that typically lead to common issues. It is always a good idea to have support when doing these types of activities (running, walking, standing long periods) to reduce repetitive strain on structures to help avoid injury.
TLT: Would you recommend insoles for people who don’t suffer any pain?
PTP: I definitely suggest insoles to patients all the time who I feel do not need a customized/corrective device. Prevention is always a good idea and using insoles is a great way to prevent future issues.
TLT: Can insoles positively affect your body beyond your feet?
PTP: I have provided patients with insoles for conditions affecting the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and even lower back. Again, when you think that it all starts at your feet, if you can improve function at the base, you can improve function on the joints above as well.
There you have it folks, straight from a seasoned professional. If you want the best custom-moldable support for taking care of your body, you've come to the right place!
Paul hitting the slopes with his family.