Thor Johansen | Ultramarathon Runner
"This letter is many years overdue. I have been meaning to reach out to compliment you on your orthotics for some years now and I recently picked up another pair and decided it was time to put pen to paper.
I would like to share my story with you and thank you for the amazing products you provide.
I have always had foot pain ever since I was a kid. I always thought everyone else had the same experience. It was not until I joined the Norwegian Army at 18 (grew up in Norway) that I realized bad it really was. I was barely through boot camp when I was left completely unable to walk due to severe pain in both feet. I was hospitalized and eventually discharged for medical reasons. Shortly thereafter I consulted with a surgeon and was diagnosed with severe hallux valgus. I was told surgery was absolutely necessary or I would be completely unable to walk within the next ten years.
When I finally received the notice to appear for surgery three years later I was attending college in the United States and was unable to travel back to Norway for surgery. During these years I was able to walk and do short – 10 minute – runs but struggled with severe pain when spending too much time on my feet. I tried all kinds of different shoes and insoles with no relief. I had even tried other specialized molded orthotics but got no relief from anything that I tried.
Fast forward another 10 years or so. I was working with a Chiropractor in Wheaton, Illinois who recommended another pair of orthotics. He had a scanner box in his office and suggested I have my feet scanned for custom orthotics. At this point I had no faith in any kind of orthotics and had it not been for insurance covering the cost I would undoubtably said “no.” Feeling skeptical was putting it mildly.
After a couple of weeks I received my first set of orthotics from Foot Levelers. I got a set for my dress shoes and running shoes. It took some time to get used to the new orthotics but within a few months the pain gradually lifted and I was able to spend time on my feet without much discomfort. I was even able to run without pain.
In 2011 I ran my first ultramarathon, a 50 mile race, using the orthotics. By this time my feet were much better, although such long runs still created some pain. I continued running and found that with the use of the Foot Levelers I had less and less pain. I completed my first 100 mile ultramarathon in 2013 without much foot pain at all.
As I write this today, I have completed 14th 100 mile+ ultramarathons (including a 250 mile ultramarathon two years ago) along with several other long-distance runs. I just picked up another set of your orthotics last week and I was excited to put them to use.
What impresses me about your products is how amazingly helpful they have been in my recovery. I not only avoided surgery but I am able to walk and run as much as I want without any foot pain. I have to remain particular about the type of shoes I get but that’s a small price to pay. The other thing I will say is that your orthotics are extremely durable. A pair can last 2-3000 miles of running.
So with that I wanted to say THANK YOU for making an amazing product."