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One of our standards is to treat our clients in the way that we would choose to be treated ourselves. We are serious about this!
1) We take appointments seriously. That means that we do not overbook clients expecting that some will just not show.
2) We schedule enough time to be thorough with your needs. Of course, there are times when things simply do not work out as expected, but it is seldom that one of our clients ends up waiting for us for more than ten minutes. We take appointments seriously, and ask the same of our clients! We are commonly booked out two to four weeks, so please call when you know that you should and not wait until the crisis.
Your Visit to Merrell Footlab
What to expect: For our usual clients living within driving distance there are typically three visits:
On the first visit you will be asked to fill out our client information form to get us started. I will then go through the information you have provided, listen to your concerns and probably ask a lot of questions. I will make weight-bearing dynamic imprints of your feet to allow me to see how you are bearing your weight, I will observe your gait, and do a careful evaluation of your feet and lower legs looking for “red-flags” or symptoms of foot problems and pain. All of this allows me to put the pieces together to understand what is going on bio-mechanically with your lower body. I will then take time to discuss with you what I see and to teach you what it all means.

We can then discuss the possible courses of action. You make the choice. If I recommend orthotics or shoe alterations, you are not obligated and you are free to choose in or out. If you wish not to proceed with orthotics, the only cost to you is for the time of the evaluation. If you choose to go forward, I will make the necessary impressions of your feet. At this point I will not be willing to go forward unless you commit to the follow-up visit. You may be given stretching exercises to assist your body, and we will discuss footwear needs for orthotics. Typically I will have your orthotics ready in seven to ten days.

For the second visit you need to bring shoes or boots that will work with the orthotics. When you get here, I will trim the orthotics to fit into your shoes using the removable innersoles or footbeds as the pattern. Once again I will watch you walk to make sure the devices are doing what is needed at this point, and make adjustments as necessary. You will be instructed how to “make-friends” with your orthotics. At this time we schedule the follow-up visit.

Follow-up visit. After two or three weeks of wearing the orthotics, it is time for a check-up/tune-up. Nearly always there are adjustments to be made. It takes time for your body to figure out how it is supposed to be working. Between your feedback and what I observe in your gait we know what needs to be done. For most of my clients this is all that is needed for two or three years. For an occasional client there is a longer time of altering body compensations. In some cases there are repeated follow-up visits needed.

For our “out-of-town” clients, the first and second visits can be scheduled on the same day. This needs to be carefully scheduled as we will block out about half of the day for you. I will make impressions in the morning, do the plaster work and fabrication midday, and have the orthotics ready for your feet by late afternoon. We call this “rapid dispense.” We charge extra for this service, and require a deposit before the first visit, but it saves you a second trip. We still require a commitment for the follow-up visit.
For our custom boot clients: if you are coming from out of the area, you and I will need to have an in-depth phone interview so I perfectly understand your needs before you get here. This is probably best done via Skype. And I will need imprints—all of this before I commit to make boots for you. Only then can we schedule time. The schedule will not be firm until I have received a deposit. My request is that you be here long enough for me to do measurements and come to understand what is needed and to do trial shoes. Then I need you back when the work is complete and we put the boots on your feet. I don’t make boots and mail them out. I need to see them on your feet and know that everything is working as it should. If significant bio-mechanical work is part of the picture a follow-up visit will be needed.

We have a “bunkhouse” here on the property that is usually available for our “out-of-town” clients. If you are interested, inquire about the details.

Using this “boots made while-you-wait” system, customer satisfaction has soared. I don’t know of any other bootmaker working this way. Traditionally bootmakers measure the feet, make notes as to what is to be done, and put them on the bottom of the pile. When the order gets to the top of the pile, the boots are made and then mailed out. That was our method years ago. Probably because of our legacy of attention to detail or our skill with challenging feet (that is what we seem to get—challenging feet) we no longer do that. As such we need to use every possible advantage. Having you here during the bootmaking process allows me to be successful at what we do.

We are literally a “mom-and-pop” operation. Yes, that sounds pretty corny, but the reality is that when you call, you get one of the owners on the phone—one that has been around for 40 years, and you will get our undivided attention. You will not be passed from one practitioner to another. Around here there is no “passing the buck.” That is a good thing for you, a very good thing!

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