DC Fit Masthead

HerBaby: Prenatal Roadtest – Frankie 4 Footwear

Jessica Schumann

Finding a pair of shoes that fit perfectly is any woman’s Cinderella moment. But it rarely happens. There’s always a sacrifice be it comfort, support or style.

I’ve always struggled to find footwear that not only fits well but that offers the right support and accommodates my orthotics, particularly when it comes to flats and tennis shoes. So it’s no surprise that I’ve continued my long-term relationship with heels, even though we haven’t always been a perfect match.

Up until recently, I’d pretty much sacrificed any foot comfort for a pretty shoe style because I felt sexier, more sophisticated and, yes, stylish. But when you’re six months pregnant, heels are not your friend, and in fact, fast become your enemy as lower back pain, pelvic strain and discomfort creep in.

“The hormones released during pregnancy relax the pelvis,” says local podiatrist, Suzanne Paterson of SP Podiatry.

“Such hormones may also have the same effect on the many ligaments that hold the bones in the feet together and this may lead to structural change.”


From office to meetings, out and about…you can’t go wrong with a pair of Frankies in your wardrobe.

From burning calves to instability, (your centre of gravity shifts during pregnancy), swollen feet and ligament laxity, not to mention the fact that you’re literally supporting someone else now, the last thing your body needs is to balance on thin six-inch stilettos.

That’s where FRANKiE4 footwear comes in – a range of footwear designed by a podiatrist and physiotherapist to maximise support for your feet without sacrificing your wardrobe. But before you tune out and think I’m talking about those oh-so-stylish shoes found in a chemist, keep reading…

“FRANKiE4 footwear is made for the natural shape of the foot,” says Suzanne. “Toes will not be squashed into a narrow toe box. The polyurethane foot bed cups the heel, provides support under the arch (for the metatarsals and the toes), whilst being incredibly light to wear. Internally, the pregnant woman’s body works constantly and the FRANKiE4 footwear supports her from the feet up, all day long.”

I’ll admit I was sceptical at first, but after slipping my feet into a pair of black ELLiE leather sneakers for a two-week roadtest both in and out of the office, I’m a convert and have already bought a pair of the NiNA Ash Gold sneakers for spring while keeping my eye on the return of the black LiZ boots for next winter.

With a custom-fit foot bed that can be adjusted to suit any foot — because we all know every foot is different — consider your sole saved throughout your pregnancy.

As a podiatrist, Suzanne sees a lot of feet and says her aim is to get the best fit for patients and customers, while ensuring they like their footwear.

“The full length, ¾ insole and forefoot cushions are used to full advantage when a pair is fitted,” she explains.

“We use the foot beds to accommodate differences in structure and size, as more often than not, both of an individual’s feet are not identical.”


Frankie 4 Foot beds and the LiZ boot.

They also work perfectly to accommodate stockings, hosiery or just your good ol’ winter socks too.

As for the range, you won’t be limited for choice. The FRANKiE4 footwear range includes everything from sneakers to heeled boots in winter and Mary Janes to sandals for summer. But it’s the versatility of my ELLiE sneakers that I absolutely love – they go with any outfit and are perfect for pretty much any occasion including an afternoon walking tour around the zoo, running to and from meetings at work and of course, heading to birthing classes and the supermarket.

JAMiE peach

JAMiE boots in Tan/Peach smooth leather.

“As a podiatrist, I recommend shoes that are adjustable and can be secured and the FRANKiE4 footwear range includes this all,” says Suzanne.

“The autumn/winter range consisted of LIZ – a boot in camel or black oily nubuck with a 7cm heel (the camel almost sold out in the first week nation wide!); LOUiSE is smooth black leather boot with a Cuban heel of 4.5 cm while JAMiE is a flat boot with a zip at the back of the heel and comes in black, camel nubuck and tan/peach smooth leather.

“It’s an ideal range for those who have always struggled with boots who can enjoy style in comfort. The ELLiE lace up is available in metallic silver, smooth black leather and rouge leather. There are also red and black patent slip-ons, SOPHiE and JODiE is a smooth black ballet flat.”

ELLiE black

The very versatile ELLiE…

Given my style takes on a smart casual bohemian theme, versatility weighed in heavily along with three essential criteria when it comes to my footwear and the ELLiEs more than delivered.


Being flat-footed in both feet, a shoe needs to offer me arch support. Without my orthotics, I can barely last an hour in a pair of flats and even then with orthotics, it’s not long before my feet start aching and I’m manoeuvring my foot to accommodate the pain.

FullSizeRender 38

Perfect for when you’re out and about…

But with the ELLiEs it wasn’t until the last five minutes of a two-hour guided zoo tour (and 3,500 steps) around the zoo that I started to feel any niggles and it wasn’t even in my arch. The only pain I experienced was slight rubbing on the back of my heel, which is standard for breaking in any pair of new shoes (and the fact that I wore no socks probably didn’t help).


The ELLiE is ideal for any wardrobe, be it corporate or casual.

I backed this up with another tour the following morning and no pain at all… I paired the ELLiEs with a pair of black maternity jeans, cute tee with a long sleeve white top underneath and my winter jacket and black beret.


With support comes comfort. When I didn’t want to wear my orthotics, namely when in the office, I was able to use the foot bed components (¾ sole, full sole, toe and heel cushions) to get a perfect fit.

Neither of my feet is identical to the other, including size (one feels closer to a size nine and the other a nine and a half) but, to my relief, this is quite normal, according to Suzanne.

“Feet are very complex and house a quarter of the bones in the human body, as well as a network of muscles, ligaments and joints. They are required to absorb impact and flex as we move about and as such, feet are prone to injury if not adequately supported,” Suzanne explains.

“The foot beds included with each pair of FRANKiE4 footwear (except sandals) provide support and cushioning, which contribute to their unsurpassed comfort.”

And comfortable they are.

Although Suzanne advises that many patients and mums-to-be find their feet size increases after pregnancy, fluid retention can also be experienced and therefore cause the feet to swell during pregnancy. Lucky for me, I’ve not yet experienced any swelling in my feet, but with an adjustable inner sole, this is definitely ideal for pregnant women who do experience swelling because you can adjust each shoe as needed, and carry the cushions in your handbag when out and about.


There’s nothing worse than throwing on your runners….Grab your Frankies instead.

Teamed with my yoga pants and something comfy on top, I love that I now have a casual pair of sneakers to throw on instead of my runners, which in comparison are actually quite heavy. With the ELLiEs, they’re super lightweight and don’t tire your feet. Packed with secret cushioning and hidden arch support to make them super comfy, it seriously feels like you’re wearing a pair of slippers, which is the very reason why I keep grabbing them when running out the door for birthing classes.


Of course, some would say style is the most important element when purchasing new shoes, but there’s no point buying a pair of shoes that are comfortable and supportive but that you hate the look of. With FRANKiE4 footwear, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Given I spend most of my time in the office or attending media calls, style was a big one for me. I didn’t want to be giving up style just to be comfortable (vain I know). Teamed with black opaque footless tights, a black & white mottled dress, purple wrap and earrings, I still felt I trendy and not at all out of place without my heels.


Even in the office, you can still feel trendy and fashionable with Frankie 4 Footwear.

What I love about the leather sneakers is just that — they’re leather — which means you know you’re getting a quality pair of shoes. Secondly, because they’re black they go with everything in my wardrobe – jeans, black tapered pants, and long skirt, even my yoga pants. A pair of versatile sneakers is essential for any woman’s wardrobe but it’s something I’ve always struggled to find, until I tried the ELLiEs.

“It’s incredibly important that your shoes fit well, are appropriate and supportive for your particular activity, and don’t hurt your feet,” adds Suzanne.

As most women know all too well, “often our feet are the most neglected parts of our bodies”.

“Yet they are pivotal in transporting us around every day,” says Suzanne.

“FRANKiE4 footwear successfully promotes a healthy, comfortable option without compromising on fashion or style.”

So whether you love your boots in winter or an adorable pair of flats for work, just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to give up being stylish too…

To discover Frankie 4 Footwear for yourself, phone (02) 6297 6350 or email Suzanne Paterson to book your personal shoe fitting session. You’re feet will thank you and so will your sole(s). 

the essentials

What: Frankie 4 Footwear
Where: SP Podiatry, Focal Point Arcade – 25 Monaro Street, Queanbeyan or Barton Specialist Centre – Suite 9/3 Sydney Avenue, Barton.
Phone: (02) 6297 6350
Web: www.sppodiatry.com.au

This is a sponsored post, and the author received a pair of Frankie 4 Footwear ELLiEs free of charge for the purpose of this review, but opinions are the author’s own. It complies with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s guidelines on Online ReviewsRead our Sponsored Post Policy if you would like more information. 


Jessica Schumann

A 'rambling ranga' at heart, Jessica Schumann is a bubbly, creative social thinker who thrives on words, social media and an innate knack for sharing stories. When she finds the time to write, Jessica seeks out the beauty in change and the essence of human condition. Varied and diverse in nature, her writing delves into the enviable world of people, travel, food and culture. When you can't find her in a nook writing, just follow your nose and you’ll soon find Jessica indulging in her other passion – cooking – or curled up on the couch with a good book in hand. You can find her over at ramblingranga.com.au. More about the Author

Focus Cosmetic Medicine Leaderboard