Billy Oversplint Footwear: Functional, Fashionable and Price Friendly

Orthopaedic footwear has come on leaps and bounds. No longer are they as stigmatising as the preconceptions we all generally have.

There are ongoing historical problems when it comes to fitting ankle foot orthoses, bulkier bespoke insoles, and splints into footwear. It is an age-old issue that many healthcare professionals face on a daily basis and is something that is constantly addressed.
The issue not only starts there, as it’s not just as simple as finding a shoe big enough for accommodating an Orthosis, its the multiple difference shoe designs, and constructions. Parents and carers enter a world of complete confusion, and despite the ongoing knowledge from the clinicians, its so difficult to advise them accordingly when brands and seasonal styles change so often, resulting in what was last year’s ideal model now becoming completely obsolete only 6 months later.
Not only is all this a problem, but the younger demographic is left with limited choices. As NHS budgets lessen and the ability to provide over-splint footwear is further clamped down on, parents are left with ultimately two options. They can have their children fitted in NHS supplied Orthopedic boots which essentially replace the need for splints when applicable, as an alternative treatment or they must find shoes from the high street which go over the splints. These are usually 2-3 sizes bigger than required to accommodate the bulkier Orthosis device.
Orthoapaedic footwear has come on leaps and bounds. No longer are they as stigmatising as the preconceptions we all generally have. Long gone are the boots seen on Forrest Gump, as Orthopaedic footwear is now much trendier and high street in appearances.
Our feet are made up 26 bones covering a multiple of joints, and naturally can dorsiflex and move to allow a fluid transition into footwear. This, however, is much more difficult and restrictive when the foot and ankle is not only fixed in a set position, but also when the space in the shoe is limited by design. We also must consider that bracing/splinting which encumbers the whole surface of the foot essentially makes the foot much bigger than it non splinted counterpart or the internals of the shoe are taken up with bulky orthosis such as total contact insoles, and other orthopaedic bracing, meaning foot room is reduced.
The difficulty is finding footwear which opens low enough to allow a rigid splint sufficient entry into the shoe. Ideally the facing and laces should be as low as possible to give the top of the shoe a larger opening, and a back height low enough to allow a shallow entry angle for the device to get into the shoe unrestricted. The issue with this, however, is these designs become too shallow and don’t often accommodate for the extra depth needed.
It’s worth aiming for mid top height trainers or a boot which gives you deeper internals and a deeper quarter compared to a shoe, but with this the styles available then don’t often have the lower laced openings. This means you cannot pitch the splint correctly into the footwear and there’s a struggle to position the orthosis into the footwear.
With these issues in mind, in 2016, two Seattle men entered the market with a solution that could change the way Orthosis are accommodated into footwear. One of these men, Billy Price, a teenager that initially suffered a spinal cord injury in 1996 resulting in him being a paraplegic from the waist down. Billy had daily difficulties with mobility, dressing himself and spent years adapting to his new lifestyle after his accident. Undeterred with whatever life threw at him, Billy found ways to plan, strategise and overcome most hurdles. However, he never did fully figure out the frustration with his over splint footwear. With all the above issues mentioned, Billy set out and designed footwear which he knew would fill a void in the market. Partnering with financial expert and operations specialist Darin Donaldson, they created and launched Billy footwear.
Billy footwear came to market as a universal shoe. A term defined in the fact that its design and features were universally acceptable and beneficial for the masses whilst still allowing for individuality. A design and structure were incorporated into their footwear meaning they worked and appealed to everyone requiring help with donning footwear, whilst giving them a shoe which provided fashion and function. They achieved this by making a trainer style mid top boot, with modern canvas uppers and welted soles, which incorporated a zipper fastening giving the footwear a completely unique USP.
The shoes not only allow for hidden depth and extended back heights to physically give support around the heel of the splint, but they also help to accommodate the device into their uppers seamlessly. They manage to do this thanks to their unique complete front opening zipper. The shoe can open fully from the instep down to the toe end of the shoe and can be folded open like a book to allow any Orthotic device to sit straight down into the footwear. This means that the issues with entry or obtuse angles into the footwear are completely eradicated. The footwear therefore finally has ease of application, an ability to accommodate orthoses without restriction, and are fashionable and available in a multitude of sizes.
From kids with special needs and the requirement to wear splinting, parents struggling to find the right design of footwear to children that are simply struggling to tie laces and parents which might have their comorbidities or mobility issues meaning they cannot assist in putting their children’s shoes on. Billy footwear opens to an entire range of clientele in need for easy to fit footwear. They are quick, easy to fit, secure and supportive.
Billy footwear is manufactured and distributed from the US, however, Orthotix are now in partnership with their UK distributor to allow these functional, fashionable and price friendly shoes to be ready available through NHS clinics and private clinics across the UK, as well as on our e-commerce platforms and web shops.
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