Behind the design: Our innovative take on the traditional ballet flat

Revolutionising the ballet flat

Ballet flats are a wardrobe essential, but they've tortured women's feet for years with their uncomfortable fitting and lack of cushioning and support. At FRANKiE4 our mission is to provide women with a healthier option for on trend footwear, and this range is no exception. We had a dream to create styles that are more comfortable and supportive than the traditional ballet flat.

Keep scrolling to learn more

Our ballet flats

PATENT PENDING

We've addressed the 4 key issues with ballet flats that cause women discomfort:

Our ballet flats

PATENT PENDING

We've addressed the 4 key issues with ballet flats
that cause women discomfort:

1

When flat is too flat

2

Reducing the pinch

3

Supporting the sole

4

Helping hold on

1. When flat is too flat.

Ballet flats are notorious for their simplistic look - a 'flat shoe' staple. But shoes that are ‘dead flat’ can increase the likelihood of pain.

Some studies support how just a small raise under the heel improves ankle joint function, thereby reducing the chance of injury or dysfunction in the lower limb(1)(2)(3).

Our solution - comfortably lift the heel!

Despite its flat-looking external appearance, our ballet flats have a hidden heel raise, and combined with the sole and the footbed - elevate the heel to avoid that ‘dead flat position’.

This ensures the wearers foot is better angled within the shoe, with the aim to reduce the overall risk of developing foot pain or dysfunction.

2. Reducing the pinch.

Whilst we love the look of a ballet flat, they do have a history of causing all sorts of rubbing on the foot,
whether it be at the toes or around the heels.


Our solution - soft on the toes, kind to the heels.


- Soft on the toes:

The toe area of our ballet flats have a hidden soft foam lining to help minimise sheer stresses,
by reducing friction and pressure on the skin in the forefoot area.


- Kind to the heels:

It’s not uncommon for customers to ask if there will be a ‘breaking in period’ with our shoes,
particularly around the heel. In most cases with our heel counters, we simply do not have a need for this.

Our ballet flats have a "Goldilocks" firmness, they're not too firm and not too flimsy.

This means you should have comfort from the very first wear and avoid the need for a 'break-in' period
to soften the heel counter.

Whilst we love the look of a ballet flat, they do have a history of causing all sorts of rubbing on the foot, whether it be at the toes or around the heels.


Our solution - soft on the toes, kind to the heels.


- Soft on the toes:

The toe area of our ballet flats have a hidden soft foam lining to help minimise sheer stresses, by reducing friction and pressure on the skin in the forefoot area.

- Kind to the heels:

It’s not uncommon for customers to ask if there will be a ‘breaking in period’ with our shoes, particularly around the heel. In most cases with our heel counters, we simply do not have a need for this.

Our ballet flats have a "Goldilocks" firmness, they're not too firm and not too flimsy.

This means you should have comfort from the very first wear and avoid the need for a 'break-in' period to soften the heel counter.

The variables

We understand that every foot is different.
Despite our best efforts to negate the need for a break-in period, some people have conditions or unique characteristics
which increase their need for a gradual wear-in. We have however continued to evolve the components of our designs,
enabling us to reduce the chance of discomfort from rubbing.

Read more here on why we don’t like the blanket advice that a heel counter should be 'firm'.

At FRANKiE4 we consider all of these variables when designing our product and are committed
to continued evolution. We will do this with real feedback from our customers, the ones who are first-hand wearing our shoes.

We understand that every foot is different.
Despite our best efforts to negate the need for a break-in period, some people have conditions or unique characteristics which increase their need for a gradual wear-in. We have however continued to evolve the components of our designs, enabling us to reduce the chance of discomfort from rubbing.

Read more here on why we don’t like the blanket advice
that a heel counter should be firm.


At FRANKiE4 we consider all of these variables when designing our product and are committed
to continued evolution. We will do this with real feedback from our customers, the ones who are first-hand wearing our shoes.

3. Supporting the sole.

The traditional ballet flat is minimalistic on all fronts, this typically includes what is under your foot too, creating a hard and uncomfortable experience for the wearer.

Our solution - soft supportive clouds

Hidden within the sleek looking exterior lies our unique layered support and cushioning system. Our podiatrist designed footbed cradles the heel, supports the arch and cushions the forefoot.

Want to know more on how our ballet flat style supports the foot?
See our diagram here.

4. Helping hold on.

Ballet flats tend to be so minimalistic making it hard to achieve the ideal fit. Women often wear ballet flats that are too small with the aim to stop them falling off, resulting in painful pressure points over the toes.

Others tend to wear the correct length, but find themselves clawing their toes to keep the shoes secure to their foot. This results in pain, discomfort, and excessive heel slippage.

Shoes that are poorly fitted through the forefoot may lead to the development of skin lesions such as corns or callus. In addition, possible joint issues such as toe deformities and the development of increased pressure underneath the foot. (4) 

Our solution - adjustable forefoot system

The toe box on the FRANKiE4 ballet flat has been carefully considered and strategically designed to offer more comfort and adjustability to the wearer than the traditional ballet flat.

Our ballet flats enable women to add a forefoot cushion under the footbed for a tighter fit if needed, without compromising their true size.

Caroline McCulloch
Founder
B. Podiatry, B. Physiotherapy

Alan McCulloch
Founder
B. Podiatry, P.G.Dip in Human Movement Studies

Sara Taylor
In-house Podiatrist

B. Podiatry (Hons)

Jess Kostos | Physiotherapist

Jess Kostos aka "The Mama Physio" is a Melbourne-based Physiotherapist with a specialist interest in Pelvic Health for Women.

@the.mama.physio

www.themamaphysio.com.au

"As with most people I tend to find that fashion and supportive comfortable shoes are mutually exclusive. However, the FRANKiE4 range, including the ELiZABETH which I own, have changed that for me! I am a physiotherapist so I stand up ALL day. Years ago, I had given up on ballet flats due to countless blisters, sore, and swollen feet. I relied upon my trusty runners to get me through the day.
From day one, the ELiZABETH flats were extremely comfortable and I wore them all day without thinking about my feet once. I also like how low profile they are given the supportive sole. Thank you to FRANKiE4 for revolutionising comfortable and supportive footwear!"

It's what's inside that counts...


Podiatrist designed contoured support and cushioning.


Hidden heel raise to enhance foot and lower limb comfort.


Clever adjustable forefoot to improve hold.


Soft foam lining; gentle on the toes.


"Goldilocks" heel counter;
kind to the heels.


UNIQUE PATENT PENDING DESIGN FOR FRANKiE4 CUSTOMERS

It's what's inside that counts...

✔ Podiatrist designed contoured support and cushioning.

✔ Hidden heel raise to enhance foot and lower limb comfort.

✔ Clever adjustable forefoot to improve hold.

✔ Soft foam lining; gentle on the toes.

✔ "Goldilocks" heel counter; kind to the heels.


UNIQUE PATENT PENDING DESIGN FOR FRANKiE4 CUSTOMERS

Experience the FRANKiE4 difference.

SHOP OUR BALLET FLAT RANGE

Our revolutionary ballet flat design takes centre stage amongst other minimalistic slip-on flats.
If your day-to-day is a little more face-paced, or you're needing to step-up the amount of hold and support in your shoe,
we recommend looking at our full range of casual sneakers ›

References

1. Johanson M, C. A. H. C. K. H. S. A., 2006. Heel Lifts and the Stance Phase of Gait in Subjects with Limited Ankle Dorsiflexion. Journal of Athletic Training , pp. 41(2)159-165.
2. Pope, R., Herbert, R. & Kirwan, J., 1998. Effects of ankle dorsiflexion range and pre-exercise calf muscle stretching on injury risk in Army recruits. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, Volume 44, pp. 165-172.
3. Riddle D, P. M. P. P. J. R., 2003. Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis: A Matched Case-Control Study. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery , pp. 872-877.
4. Branthwaite H, C. N. G. A., 2013. The Effect of Toe-box Shape and Volume on Forefoot Interdigital and Plantar Pressures in Healthy Females. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, p. Article Number

Further readings

Plantar Force Distribution for Increasing Heel Height Within Women’s Shoes. Physics Department, The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio.
Beeson, P., 2014. Plantar Fasciopathy: Revisiting The Risk Factors.. Foot and Ankle Surgery, pp. 20(3) 160-165. Branthwaite H, C. N. G. A., 2013.
The Effect of Toe-box Shape and Volume on Forefoot Interdigital and Plantar Pressures in Healthy Females. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, p. Article Number 28. D Barkema, T. D. a. P. M., 2011. HEEL HEIGHT AFFECTS LOWER EXTREMITY FRONTAL PLANE JOINT MOMENTS DURING WALKING, Ames: Iowa State University . Ho K, B. M. P. C., 2012.
The influence of heel height on patellofemral joint kinetics during walking. Gait and Posture, Volume 36, pp. 271-275. Johanson M, C. A. H. C. K. H. S. A., 2006.
Heel Lifts and the Stance Phase of Gait in Subjects with Limited Ankle Dorsiflexion. Journal of Athletic Training , pp. 41(2)159-165. Pope, R., Herbert, R. & Kirwan, J., 1998.
Effects of ankle dorsiflexion range and pre-exercise calf muscle stretching on injury risk in Army recruits. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy , Volume 44, pp. 165-172. Riddle D, P. M. P. P. J. R., 2003. Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis: A Matched Case-Control Study. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, pp. 872-877. Rossi, W. A., 1999.
Why Shoes Make Normal Gait Impossible, s.l.: Podiatry Management. Telfer S, W. J. T. D., 2014. Measurement of functional heel pad behaviour in-shoe during gait using orthotic embedded ultrasonography. Gait & Posture, pp. 39;328-332. Wearing S, S. J. U. S. H. E. H. A., 2006.
The Pathomechanics of Plantar Fasciitis. Sports Medicine, pp. 36(7) 585 - 611. Werner R, G. N. H. A. W. N. K. W., 2010.
Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis Among Assembly Plant Workers. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , pp. (2) 110-116. Wulf M, W. S. H. S. B. S. R. L. B. T., 2016.
The Effect of an In-shoe Orthotic Heel Lift on Loading of the Achilles Tendon During Shod Walking. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Theray, pp. 46(2): 79-87. Young C, R. D. N. M., 2001. Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis. American family Physician, pp. 63(3) 467- 474.

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