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Jun 19, 2019

Former cricketer Ronnie Irani speaks about the next step in his career – co-founding OrthoSole

Former England and Essex cricketer, Ronnie Irani talks to Mark Hayhurst about the next step in his career – co-founding OrthoSole

When a sporting career comes to an end what do you do next? That’s a question that Ronnie Irani answered with vigour.

The former England and Essex all-rounder, who scored over 20,000 runs and took more than 650 wickets in his first class career, came up with an innovative idea – OrthoSole.

The insole’s system of removal support options gives a customisable support combination to completely change the insole to match the foot, body and lifestyle.

Inserting a pair of OrthoSole’s orthotic insoles into footwear is proven to ease heel impact, relieve key pressure points during movement, reducing the likelihood of foot fatigue and combating the onset of painful sports-related conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

When playing professional cricket, Ronnie travelled to Germany to visit top podiatrist Martin Trautmann. As Ronnie and Martin became friends, Ronnie shared his vision of an orthotic insole that could be used universally to help as many people as possible – at a fraction of the cost of a custom orthotic. Inspiration struck, and Martin found a solution. However, as Martin was extremely busy with his own practice and a long list of clients, he couldn’t invest the time and resources into such a big project.

Ronnie stepped in along with his business partners in the USA to take the reins and enlisted the support of one of the best biomechanics teams in the world at the time in Portland, Oregon – and so work began on developing the OrthoSole products.

Ronnie said: “I used to get expensive insoles made for me in Germany – they made a massive difference to everyday life and not just my game. I wanted to invent one that everyone could afford. I wanted to help people that wouldn’t necessarily spend five – six hundred euros a pair, because that’s how much they used to cost me. I wanted to invent a bespoke insole that everybody could afford, at £30-£40, and that’s what we have done.”

The insoles have been designed to help improve the fit and support of existing sports shoes with the help of a series of interchangeable metatarsal pads. These arch pieces – which can be quickly and easily added to the bottom of each insole – reduce the amount of stress that’s placed on feet during exercise.

As there’s no one-size-fitsall solution when it comes to sports orthotics, each pair of insoles comes with a range of light, medium and firm pads. It is possible to experiment with varying levels of support in different areas of the arch and heel until a combination that feels 100 per cent comfortable is found.

Alongside the patented metatarsal support system, they’ve also added a 3mm layer of impactabsorbing PORON to both the footbed and the heel chassis of every insole. This medical-grade material provides extra relief at various pressure points, and because it’s heat-sensitive, it warms to the shape of your foot during use to cushion and stabilise your feet even further.

What’s more, the unique fabric used to create the inserts will keep feet cool and dry, even when training extra hard.

Ronnie added: “I was the man who was directing traffic when it comes to design, invention and ideas. Now we supply outdoor retailers Blacks and Milletts, physios, podiatrists.

“One of the biggest uptakes for us is from firms who care about the wellbeing and health and safety of their staff.

I supply some of the biggest corporate companies in the world, who look after their staff who are on their feet all day. That could be Warburtons bread, Coca-Cola, Greggs the Bakers and DHL. My insoles allow them to customise what is right and comfortable to them and that’s the key to our invention.”

When worn in the bottom of shoes or boots, the customisable insoles actively work to prevent:

  • Generalised pain in the arch and heel of the foot from intense or prolonged exercise
  • Foot fatigue from overuse
  • Excessive pronation, otherwise known as flat feet
  • Supination, the inwards rolling of the feet during movementv
  • Uneven weight distribution
  • Uneven ankle alignmentv
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Shin splints
  • Circulation issues in the feet

The insoles don’t just protect arches and heels from harsh impact – they also work discreetly to improve foot positioning and stabilise ankle joints, which in turn reduces the amount of pressure placed on not only lower limbs, but also on knees and the lower back.

But the insoles aren’t just suitable for trainers, hiking boots and other heavy-duty sports shoes. OrthoSole have introduced a range of lightweight yet highly supportive orthotic sandals that are perfect for fashion-forward swimmers.

Made from tough yet breathable EVA, the fully adjustable orthotic sandals offer the same unique support system as their other products, packed into a cool, comfortable shell with a non-slip design for a secure fit. There are five different ranges containing a total of 16 different designs for men and women.

Ronnie said: “The key to the insoles is the arch and the metatarsal, and there is really high shock absorption in the materials. We do our own manufacturing, we have two factories in the Far East but they only finish for me. I source all the materials, so I have quality control and can save on margin. We now export globally. I’ve got distribution companies in the Middle East, Europe and in the USA. It’s gone really well.

“I love it. I’ve played cricket for England, I’ve done national radio, and that was wonderful. But this is the best job I have had in my life. Playing cricket and being a professional sportsman is only a steppingstone as to what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. It was wonderful at the time but it’s the real world and you must absorb that and love every moment of it. But what I am doing now, I own my own products, have two factories in the Far East, and I get to travel with my job. It’s the best job I have ever had.”

For more information on the wide range of orthotic insoles now available from OrthoSole, visit

https://www.orthosole.com/

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