In our Birmingham manufacturing facility, we make custom orthopaedic shoes to solve a variety of foot problems which cannot be solved with insoles or semi-orthopaedic shoes. Orthopaedic shoes have an image of being old-fashioned and clumsy, but that is a very outdated view. We make custom shoes to any design, many of which are barely distinguishable from ordinary shoes. So, exactly what is the process of getting a custom-made orthopaedic shoe from Trulife?

Foam print to factory


A foot print being taken in a foam tray

The first step begins with our experienced clinicians, who will take measurements of the patient’s foot. Measurements for a custom shoe usually take around an hour and they are carried out at your orthotics appointment with your orthotist. The process usually starts by taking a foot print of your feet, followed by a print in a foam tray. Sometimes we may even take photos of the patient’s foot.

Information is then selected and collected on what type of shoe the patient would like (take a look at our footwear catalogue to see our range), the colour, and the technical design that will address the patient’s clinical needs. Patient information is then sent to our Birmingham manufacturing facility.

The making of a custom orthopaedic shoe


A last being checked and measured against the patient’s foot measurements.

The ‘last’ is often seen as the most important tool for making a shoe. The last is a foot piece shape of material over which the shoe is moulded. We will make a pair of lasts for the patient based on the measurements taken – they are effectively model copies of the patient’s foot. Every shoe we make at Trulife is unique and will require a pattern to be cut for it. Our in-house design team uses a CAD / CAM machine to create the pattern. Pattern cutting involves creating the shape of each component of the shoe.


Stitching of the shoe patterns; a process that is carried out by a skilled machinist. Each shoe is hand built in this way.

From here, the hand-built components are assembled using various processes to create the finished shoe . ‘Edging’ is the process of flattening the edge of the pieces of leather / material used for the shoe, which gives a crisp, neat join between the pieces of material, as well as a comfortable and quality finish. Next, the shoe is carefully stitched together and any additional trimming is prepared.

We offer various different adaptations, such as heel raises for leg length discrepancy.

3D scanning to create the insole

To create the insole, the contour of the patient’s foot is captured using 3D scanning technology, before then being milled out and hand finished. Various materials are available with different densities for control and shock absorption. Finally, the shoes go through quality control and are polished, ready for delivery.


Final shoe fitting in clinic.

The shoes are delivered to clinic, where one of our orthotists will fit the shoes and check all the measurements to make sure the new orthopaedic shoe fits the patient!