fashion

ROADTEST: 3 women try the podiatrist-founded footwear with game-changing support.

Frankie 4 Footwear
Thanks to our brand partner, Frankie 4 Footwear

It’s a safe space here, so I’m okay with admitting out loud: I don’t believe in bare feet.                         

Let me explain.     

If I’m not either showering or sleeping, I’m always wearing shoes. If I’m lounging around my house? I’ll wear shoes. Vacuuming? Shoes, obviously. Doing my skincare? Checking the mailbox? Eating? Without question, my feet are shoed. 

(To caveat, they’re not all the same shoe! I’m not a savage.)

It’s definitely something I’ve absorbed as the norm from my mum, and not realised until adulthood that it’s… unusual, according to the 8 friends and 13 work colleagues I checked with. 

I’m turning 30, and I’m actually finding from all my shoe-wearing – in which none of said shoes are giving me much support – the aches and pains in my lower back and knees are really setting in. But it’s the pain in my heels and the arches of my feet I didn’t expect.

And so began the hunt to find healthier options for fashion footwear I could wear both inside and outside the house. The shoe-lover in me was overjoyed to be introduced to FRANKiE4

FRANKiE4 footwear is an Australian Lady Startup (we LOVE to see it) on a mission to give women shoes with the ultimate foot-supporting benefits, packed into styles we actually feel confident wearing. 

And we’re talking sandals, boots, sneakers, heels, flats. All of ‘em.

Each FRANKiE4 design lifts, cradles and cushions the heel, while giving arch support to help with better lower limb alignment.

The result are shoes that look beautifully modern and on-trend, as opposed to something with chunky orthopedic vibes a doctor might recommend – that looks a little (a lot) dated and unflattering.

The FRANKiE4 team were kind enough to have two of my Mamamia work friends and I choose a pair and put them to the test. Here's our review on just how comfortable and supportive we actually found them. 

Shell, MiM Blush Braid

I wanted some sneakers I can basically live in for casual daytime outings. Think: a pair for fun Fridays at work, for zipping out to do life admin on weekends, and also for visiting friends (and keeping up with their little ones). My existing sneaker collection is looking pretty flimsy with no foot support whatsoever, and it's not doing my turning-30 aches and pains any favours.

So I picked out FRANKiE4's MiM Braid Sneakers in Blush (this colour, can you believe! Made for me!) in my usual size 7, as I fell a bit in love with the leather braid detail on the sides.

I severely underestimated how exciting this delivery would be in lockdown. Image: Supplied. 

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Right out of the box, I was first struck with how incredibly soft and squishy the leather was. Thie style came with a Sole Saver Pack™ too so I could tailor the fit inside the shoe for my rather narrow feet. I popped them in, and chucked them straight on with my pyjamas when they arrived (the moment couldn't wait), and it surprised me how supportive the cushioning instantly felt under my soles and arches. 

I don't say this lightly when I tell you they are like clouds on my feet. CLOUDS. 

Podiatrist (and labradoodle) approved. Charlie with the clouds. Image: Supplied. 

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The MiM Braid Sneakers are very lightweight, and have embedded the brand's signature Sole Hero™ Footbeds (and a triple layer support and cushion system) without making it look like a chunky platform. These fancy footbeds are total overachievers too: helping with alignment and movement, while cushioning shock absorption on hard surfaces.

This is very new territory for me, but I've already felt that this pair's heel support (for pain prevention) and arch support (for better foot and leg alignment) has most definitely helped alleviate those aches I'd been having. And I'm over the moon about it.

They've been so easy to pair with my wardrobe too, as they tick my cute, casual and comfortable boxes beautifully:

Fit check (featuring another labradoodle). Image: Supplied. 

I'm only a few wears in, but am blown away with the difference it makes when you wear shoes designed to actually support your feet. WHO KNEW. 

I took this revelation about FRANKiE4 to my mum, a nurse having worked on her feet for almost 40 years. Turns out she’s been wearing their workwear sneakers on the wards for the last 10 years. (So... Linda knew. Damn it Linda.)

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I'm now retiring all sole-destroying shoes I've accumulated, as FRANKiE4 has set a new bar! I might be coming on strong but my feet and I love them. Excuse me while I tell all women I know and/or am related to.

Amy, POPPY Black

Being a busy woman in her 30s that meets with clients, I was looking for a pair of flat shoes that would be comfortable to wear on the commute to work (me running for the bus in heels is not a good look), whilst still looking professional when I'm in the office for meetings.

I picked the FRANKiE4 POPPY flats in Black. I'm tired of wearing trainers on the commute to work, and hauling a second pair of shoes with me to change into when I got to the office. The POPPY shoes eliminate that for me completely, meaning from door to door I'm feeling much more sophisticated (bye, jogger skirt combos!) and polished, while having my feet supported and cushioned (no blisters here). 

Even with working from home, my POPPY pair have been great to slide on to feel more put-together and in the working headspace rather than wearing my slippers or flimsy sneakers (no foot-supporting benefits going on there!). 

Just arrived! Image: Supplied. 

As soon as I tried on my POPPY flats, I'm with Shell in that they instantly felt like a cloud for my feet. I didn't expect flats to feel so good when worn; my old shoe choices had me thinking flats were never meant to be comfy, but FRANKiE4 have that all figured out.

The quality and lavish leather detailing is impressive, and as soon as you have them on your feet, you can appreciate the strategic triple layered design to help cradle and contour to your feet where needed.

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My pair also have a hidden heel raise. I've found it holds my feet within the shoes nicely, and is forgiving enough to accommodate movement but still minimises friction and pressure on my skin.

These shoes are a must-have to bring style to your office wardrobe rotation. Image: Supplied. 

My POPPY pair nicely with my high-waisted, ankle grazing 'mom' jeans and a blazer for an effortlessly stylish look. These shoes are a great on-trend alternative to sneakers, that give me so much more comfort for work meetings and client visits than if I opted for my usual heels. They can also be worn with a pencil skirt and a business shirt for a more tailored, corporate look.

My younger retail-working self wishes the POPPY was around then when I was on my feet for long shifts, as my ballet flats were definitely not this supportive! Image: Supplied. 

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I would highly recommend the POPPY as a must-have to bring style to your office wardrobe rotation. I think they might just be the most comfortable flats my feet have ever experienced.

So tempted to add more of the POPPY style to my cart (I'm eyeing them off in Tan, Red Rust and Chalk Reptile Emboss). 

Ash, SHELLY II Blossom

With life in lockdown, I wanted my hands on the ultimate comfy shoe for around home, particularly for working remotely. When full-time WFH first kicked in, I loved taking full advantage of wearing pyjamas on the bottom, and playing it cheeky with a workplace-appropriate top when Zooming with my team or my clients (let’s be honest... we’ve all done it). My feet have always just had whatever on them (slippers, old sandals or nothing at all).

It's been just a few months, but the aches have crept in, especially in my feet. They've been hurting lately and I'm not surprised: my old house sandals and even older slippers aren't exactly bolstered with support (and they're both as flat as a pancake), so I was counting on FRANKiE4's SHELLY II Blossom slides to ease the discomfort.

I've always chosen what looks good over comfort and care with anything I put on my feet. My friends rave about their footwear from FRANKiE4 (and so do the 60,485 five-star verified buyer reviews), so I had high hopes of these sandals being the ultimate mix of fashion and function.

(And just to say, FRANKiE4's whole online section devoted just to house shoes is so damn cute and the first time I've seen a footwear category dedicated to it. Love that!)

When my SHELLY II Blossom pair arrived, it was love. 

Wearing my SHELLY II Blossom slides. Image: Supplied.

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The blush colour is low-key and perfect for this warmer season, but the shoe itself is giving me high-impact style with the leather detailing and adjustable strap. As soon as they were on my feet, the Sole Hero™ Support Footbed was doing all the talking. This pair has a built-in heel, arch and forefoot support which was instantly comfortable and contoured nicely to every nook and cranny of my feet. 

Obsessed. Image: Supplied.

I first took these bad boys for a spin on my daily coffee run. Even walking on uneven bumpy roads and pathways, you could really feel that the dual layer support and cushion system was doing its work. I've loved wearing these around the house, working from home and casual walks about my local area. They've definitely given me relief from the strange pains in the arches of my feet I was experiencing from my old pancake slippers. The feeling of softness under my feet from these FRANKiE4 slides is so good, and I'm wondering how I ever managed full-time lockdown life without them?!

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Happiest of feet. Image: Supplied.

I wanted a shoe that had podiatrist-designed support, yet were fashionable, and with these SHELLY II Blossoms they delivered more than I bargained for. I'm still obsessed with the blush colour, and convinced that the neighbours are jealous seeing them when I'm taking out the bins! 

I love them so much I’ve now gotten the SADiE Nutmeg house shoes since to get my slipper fix too (with $20 off too using code F4MAMAMIA. Such a win). They're basically slip-on woolly wonders, cushioned with soft shearling from Australian and New Zealand sheep. SO GOOD.

All three of us have retired our sole-destroying footwear, and feel like we've landed our ideal FRANKiE4 pairs that beautifully balance comfort and style. It's settled: FRANKiE4 are magicians and have packed game-changing comfort into styles we actually feel excited about wearing.

Off to tell every woman we know.

FRANKiE4 shoes are taking women further. For work or play, their footwear deliver podiatrist-designed support for game-changing comfort in every cleverly cushioned step. 

Use code F4MAMAMIA for $20 off any full-priced purchase!

Feature image: Supplied.

Frankie 4 Footwear
FRANKiE4 footwear is an innovative fashion label reinventing the way women experience shoes. Our mission is to take wellness to the next level with award-winning, Podatrist founded support for game-changing comfort in every cleverly cushioned step. Our shoes are taking women further. Healthily empowering us with the confidence to kick goals at home, work and play. More human than a brand, we spoil our customers (and their feet) with the love and attention they deserve, while following our heart to improve the lives of Australian families and do better by our planet.