Ever wondered WHY your feet hurt so much in heels?

Emily did. Every single night she went out in heels. And every single morning following a night out!

Battling her own personal love-hate relationship with heels and faced with it daily in her clinical practice, Emily was more and more determined to discover the underlying cause of high heel pain, and more importantly, to engineer a solution that allowed women to love wearing high heels now, and in the future.  

It all started... 

In 2005 while she was in her final year of University studying Podiatry, Emily decided she was going to stop at nothing in her quest to uncover the answer to these questions. To unravel the high heel enigma and unearth a solution for herself, and her heel-loving girlfriends, Emily used these very questions as her final research topic. However, despite reviewing all available research at the time, the secret detail leading to a cure for high heel pain remained to be unidentified.

It wasn't until her wedding day in 2010 that Emily’s big breakthrough presented. On this special day, she wore a pair of beautiful grey suede four inch Bally stilettos for a straight twelve hours with no internal support. The day was magical. However, two hours into the reception she wished she'd packed her flats and subsequently she bore the consequences including the dreaded burn and excruciating muscular fatigue of her feet and legs for the entirety of her honeymoon. Emily noticed she was unable to scrunch her toes to hold on her thongs (flip flops) and she couldn't use her calf muscles to climb stairs -  a total adventure killer!

While lying face down and enduring her 5th massage for the week - an epiphany struck. It all started to make sense. This became the moment Emily uncovered the hidden high heel mechanics she coined "The Stiletto Effect", and it was here, that the Emily Braidwood concept was born.

Intrigued? Let us take you through the findings of Emily’s study performed over hundreds of clinical consultations with women in pain.

If you are more of a visual kind of person, just scroll on down to the  bottom of this page for the before and after photo evidence!


Ready? It’s lab coat time.

Evident from Emily’s own experience as well as all her research since her serendipitous wedding week, the hidden “stiletto effect” was a result of muscular fatigue and overuse due to the foot position in the heel. When the foot is placed in a high heel over 4cm (1.5 inches), the big toe extends, causing the arch to naturally raise and the foot to roll outwards. The higher the pitch, and the longer the wearer stands or walks in heels, the more muscle strength is required to maintain an equilibrium of the ankle to prevent it from rolling out.

When the main muscles around the ankle fatigue including the calf muscles (this usually occurs between 1-3 hours), the toe scrunching and lateral ankle stabilisers are required to over-compensate. When these muscles burn out, our toes grip, the dreaded burning of the ball of the feet begins, we risk taking an embarrassing stumble and long term ailments i.e “grandma's hammer toes” may start to creep in. 

What this discovery highlighted was that the traditional use of arch support to relieve pain was exacerbating the rolling out of the foot and amplifying the “stiletto effect”. The penny dropped as to why Emily's clinical efforts up until this point, and the standard off-the-shelf generic insoles, weren't the magic solution. 

By flipping conventional beliefs on it's head, Emily focused on providing support along the outside of the foot to prevent the foot and ankle from rolling out, a method which proved to be effective and successful in minimising muscle fatigue and pain.

With an abundance of corporate women seeking answers to foot pain related to high heels, Emily continued to develop her research and used bespoke prescriptions to refine the insole prototypes. The pain patterns and insole success stories were rolling in, and it became astoundingly obvious there were two underlying reasons behind high heel related pain;

  1. the force on the ball of the foot created by the heel pitch of the shoe and;
  2. the muscle fatigue created by the instability of the heel.

Thousands of clinical hours ensued to finalise the uniquely multi-benefited design of insole that fused cutting-edge science with advanced cushioning technology.

It was the birth of a patented, innovative collection of insoles was the beginning of a high heel engineering revolution.


Up until now, multinational insole companies and Podiatrists alike have applied the same support strategy from flat shoes to high heels: to redistribute forces through arch support and uniformly cushion under the ball of the foot. 

Our difference is our unique valgus design that focuses support on the outside of the foot, stabilising the outside ankle and concurrently reducing muscle fatigue. The slim-line valgus wedge redistributes pressure (without pronating the foot), allowing the wearer to keep perfect alignment and use their muscles effectively without overload and fatigue. By minimising the muscle overload and fatigue, foot comfort is increased by more than 70%, and a majority of the mechanics that cause the dreaded "grandma's toe problems" are significantly reduced.

THE STILETTO EFFECT V'S EB EFFECTWant to know more about our founder?