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Ellis Brigham Feetbox

4 March 2024
Ellis Brigham Feetbox

We are always looking to use the latest technology to improve our customers’ experience in the outdoors. It's been over 90 years since our founder, Frederick Ellis Brigham, began making custom footwear in North Manchester. Now we are embracing the next generation of fitting accuracy with Feetbox. 

Feetbox is in partnership with Sidas, a leading insoles and foot care product manufacturer. Coupled with our team’s knowledge, the Feetbox helps you find the best footwear fit.

Footwear Buyer, Jeremy Stevens 

“This new tool takes us a step further in finding you the perfect fitting footwear. With the new Feetbox machine, we can narrow down our range based on your needs and measurements. The system analyses the shape and size of your feet and diagnoses where you need enhanced support. I’m delighted we can offer the service free to all customers.” 

What does it do? 

  • Measures foot size and width of your feet  
  • Reveals weight distribution and pressure points 
  • Identifies where feet need extra support 
  • Get your scan results via email 

Dean Miller from our Stratford shop explains how technology is revolutionising the quest for comfort.

Why is it so important to get a ‘perfect fit’ with hiking footwear? 

Because your trip relies on your feet being comfortable. If your feet are in pain then the trip stops.

Is it not enough just to find a boot that feels comfy straight out of the box?

If you're walking for two or three hours, you'll probably be fine. The problem is if you're walking for six hours every day for a week, or you're carrying a rucksack on uneven ground, because your feet will change during that time. It’s not the same as strolling across a tiled shop floor – there’s a huge difference.

What’s wrong with the insoles that come with the footwear?

They’re usually a more basic design, which helps keep the the boot affordable. They’re also meant to fit everyone – they’re not meant to provide any sort of structure or support. It gives you a really good first impression of the boot, but the boot needs to be customised to make it fit your feet properly.

What kind of foot issues do customers typically present with?

Pronation; pressure and calluses on the underside of the toes; blisters at the heel; pressure on the top of the little toe… There's a wide range! It depends if they've got a wide or a narrow foot, if they have square toes, short toes, or feet that are different shapes or sizes.

How does the fitting process begin?

We've got around 20-25 boot models on the wall, and for some customers it’s really hard to make a decision. They’re often inclined to choose based on the looks or colour rather than the actual shape of the boots, although just by looking at their feet while asking them some questions I’ll be able to start narrowing down the selection. Then when you get them out of their shoes and socks into bare feet, you can start to see any pressure points. After that, the Sidas Feetbox machine gives you more information about the profile, because you can't see the underside of the foot when they’re standing up. The machine can also measure each foot and really determine any difference. From there I’ll typically choose the two boots I want them to try on.

How does the Sidas Feetbox machine work?

There's a pressure pad on the floor that the customer stands on, and a camera that points down at the foot from above. It gives an accurate scan of the foot to show the volume, and a live pressure map so you can tell which parts of each foot are pressing down hardest when they're standing. There's a big computer screen right in front of the customer that presents all this information to them, so they can see exactly what the fitting expert is talking about. The machine will show you whether you’ve got high arches or low arches, and it will tell you the exact difference in the length and the width of your feet. And it actually gives a recommended insole based on those measurements.

Feetbox Screens

Is there a treadmill element, like when you get your gait analysed for running shoes?

No. With road running you land in the same place on every single footstep. When you're hiking or mountain running, every step will be at a different angle, so you don't need specific gait analysis for off -road shoes.

What do you do with the data from the machine?

If there’s a difference in size then I will fit the bigger foot first to make sure that's correct – because normally the smaller foot just has to follow along. And I can show the customer specific lacing techniques, or suggest a slightly thicker sock to get the fit correct on both sides. I've had customers who were two complete UK sizes different in length – like a 6 and an 8 – but with the right lacing and socks, I’ve managed to get both feet to feel secure.

Talk us through the insoles which the machine recommends.

Sidas offer a huge variety of insoles to fit a wide range of different foot types and activities. So there's a heavily cushioned one with a really thick gel heel and gel toes, which is for your casual footwear. Then there’s a lightweight low-profile one for hiking and running, which has got a little bit of cushioning. Next up is a stiffer, heavier outdoor insole for trekking and mountaineering boots. Plus within each range there are three different arch profiles (high, mid and low). Finally we have Sidas’s custom mouldable insoles – one for hiking boots and one for ski boots – which use a separate machine to take an imprint of your foot.

Are they expensive?

They’re around £40 to £45 for an off-the-shelf insole, and then the mouldable ones are between £55 and £90 – the ski ones are more expensive because they have a carbon sole. The fitting process is free, you just pay the price on the box.

What have you learned from fitting so many boots?

We've done 10,000 scans of customers’ feet across the past year and a half. Sometimes they’ll move their feet to try to manipulate the scores and make their feet seem normal! But honestly, we’re all different – there's no such thing as a normal foot. It does not exist.

Do I need to book? 

No, you do not need to prebook for a Feetbox scan. 

Where can I get it done? 





Fort William 

London, Covent Garden 

London, Kensington 

London, Stratford 

London, St Paul’s