Full Metal Brace Shoe

Red-brown Derby

Full metal braces drive these shoes. I never thought I would make shoes like this, but the guy who needed them rather charmed me. He had Polio when he was 4 and has been getting around on braces ever since. Now over 80, any of his contemporaries, or older shoemakers with experience with these kinds of shoes and braces are extremely difficult to find.

After he contacted me, I looked around on PubMed to see what I could find. I read Basic principles of lower extremity bracing by Odon F Von Werssowetz, American Journal of Physical Medicine, August 1962. This seemed to describe his situation quite well. As I understood my part, it would be to fit a shoe that fit his feet and the braces. On the one hand, it’s just a shoe with a slot in the heel. Pretty clever.

lower extremity bracing example shoe

On the other hand, it’s a different idea of custom fit than I’m used to working with, since the act of walking and what constitutes a comfortable shoe is rather complicated by the interaction with the braces. I told him I would take him on, if he was willing to take a chance on letting me figure this out.

The shoes are made with welted construction and an embedded basalt fiber shank between the insole and leather midsole. A metal ferrule is mounted in the heel of the shoe which provides a reinforced slot for the flange of the leg brace to fit in. I recovered the original hardware from an extra pair of shoes that he had. I set it in with stainless steel bolts and nuts. The heel is additionally secured from the top with stainless steel screws.

Thanks for taking a chance on me Dave!

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