The story of Footbalance starts in 2003 with Erkki Hakkala, a physiotherapist specialized in podiatric medicine. An innovator by nature, Hakkala founded a foot and lower limb analysis clinic at the Diacor Medical Centre in Helsinki to develop more modern treatment methods that would better serve patients. Inventions to improve the well-being of people have never been in short supply, but for some reason our feet have been largely neglected.
While treating patients Hakkala grew concerned that the majority of the population is at risk from issues related to their lower limb alignment, but usually don’t consider their lower limb health until coming down with a severe foot injury or acute, debilitating pain. Such conditions could be easily prevented with the right steps. Hakkala realized that easier access to preventative solutions, particularly custom insoles, was the key to raising awareness and helping people earlier. This would require a more affordable product that could step beyond the confines of medical clinics and into the context of people’s everyday lives.
Hakkala’s first step was to address old-fashioned methods for molding custom foot orthoses that required multiple time consuming, and expensive, visits to a medical center. His second step was to develop a lighter weight insole suited to today’s active lifestyles. Thousands of hours of development and product testing with doctors, medical professionals and real patients paid off in a proprietary system combining high quality foot analysis, rapid molding methods and dynamic insoles.
The Footbalance system developed by Hakkala enables the rapid production of fully customized insoles at an ordinary retail shop in less than ten minutes – at a cost-effective price. Thanks to this innovation custom insoles can be affordably and efficiently molded anywhere. After years of work, Erkki Hakkala had attained his first target: bringing customized insoles within everyone’s reach.
To commercialize his innovation Hakkala joined forces with Antti Pihlakoski, a leading figure in Finnish and international athletics organizations. Years earlier, injuries had forced Pihlakoski, a top runner in his day, to abandon his own athletic career. After Footbalance helped him he offered to help launch Footbalance. Through his coaching, the first pilot trials at Finnish retail stores began at the start of 2007, followed by rapid international expansion.
In 2010 the Swedish private equity company Scope became a large Footbalance shareholder. Their investment enables Footbalance to build on its unique custom insole concept to reach more markets and consumers. Our insoles are now available internationally at over 700 sales outlets and counting.
As Footbalance expands across the globe our ultimate objective remains the same: to help the owners of the world’s 13 billion different feet obtain better well-being through innovative foot support solutions!