Today marks the launch of Shoe Buddy, a mobile application that gives users insights into the best shoes on the market specific to individual sporting needs. Shoe Buddy was founded by Dr Michael Kinchington, sports medicine podiatrist to the Sydney Swans and Western Sydney Wanderers, who has long-provided unbiased and independent reviews on the latest sports shoes on the market. Shoe Buddy is his way of imparting his knowledge and extending its reach via mobile technology.
The most interesting aspect of Shoe Buddy is the Scan My Foot feature, which accurately assesses a person’s foot shape from a mobile device. Once the user fills out anthropometric details including weight and height, as well as fitness level, they are required to scan their foot to determine its shape and select the type of sport they play. Shoe Buddy then lists the most appropriate shoes on the market, removing any ambiguity or concern about selecting the wrong shoes.
Dr Kinchington says that some people have flat feet while others have high arches and some are pronate while other are sub-pronate. These factors, combined with a person’s individual needs and profile information, are calculated by Shoe Buddy in order to give custom shoe recommendations. Each shoe is presented with Dr Kinchington’s professional opinion which he bases on the latest research across performance, injury prevention and comfort. He shares his views on shoe quality and integrity, and gives an indication of the shoes’ lifecycle (via the Life Span Calculator) based the user’s exercise habits.
“A heavy set long-distance runner with a pronating foot shape has different needs than a young tennis player with a flat foot. They train differently, the impact on lower limbs varies and the shoe support required is unique to each sport and a person’s foot shape,” says Dr Kinchington.
“Shoe manufacturers go to great lengths to innovate shoes every season yet it’s often hard to translate the value of new shoe features, especially when everyone has specific needs.
“Short of seeing a podiatrist, Shoe Buddy is the best way to get the right information so consumers can make smart and informed buying decisions.”
The inspiration for creating Shoe Buddy spawned from the alarming number of people – even in Dr Kinchington’s clinical practice, raising the same questions and concerns: ‘What is the best shoe for me?’ ‘How long do shoes last?’ ‘I am so confused when buying sport shoes as there are too many options and scant advice’.
“While I can help my patients with this information because I know their circumstance, it struck me that there are hundreds of thousands of people with the same questions. I realised with the proliferation of apps and mobile devices, I could help a far greater number of people who need shoe advice,” says Dr Kinchington.
For the launch of Shoe Buddy, Dr Kinchington independently reviewed more than 150 brand name shoes in the categories of running, tennis, netball, x-training, and children’s athletic shoes.
Given shoe manufacturers typically launch new shoes every six months, Shoe Buddy will continue to stay up-to-date and provide reviews of the most current shoes on the market.
Shoe Buddy is available on Google Play, and will launch on iTunes within the next few weeks. The free version of the app only allows users to review the latest athletic shoes on the market, with manufacturers’ details and product features. The premium version of the app, which includes the foot scanning technology and offers personalised recommendations, is priced at $3.99.