25What is a skive and how does a skive work? This is what we want to help teach you in this article. Orthotics have been used for a long time to help divert forces, redistribute pressure and alter muscle activation. The roll of pronation has widely been discussed and is always a controversial one. Pronation is now not considered a bad thing and the role of stability now appears to be more accurate. Ether way the skive as designed at a time when pronation was an accurate diagnosis. Kevin Kirby was the guy who came upon with this idea.

What is a skive?

A skive is a flat spot within the heel cup that creates an angled floor under the foot. This angled floor can be put anywhere within the heel cup. Most common used as a virus wedge, it can also be used laterally ¬†and sometimes posteriorly. The incline angle can also be changed deepening on your goal. The skive is then usually measured in mm. ie. 3mm medial heel skive. It’s most commonly put at a 15deg angle.

How does a skive work?

With a flat angle within the heel cup it act to reduce the force that is acting upon it. For example, a calcareous pronating on a medial heel skive will help reduce the amount of subtler joint eversion. It works as if the calcareous is rolling up a hill. This reduces the distance going up and help increase the supination forces going back down.

How much does a skive work?

Reasuch varies. Some documents that nothing lower than a 4mm skive has any effect. The 4mm may have a 15% increase of medial calcaneal pressure helping prevent it from over pronating. From there a 6mm has a larger effect. With the larger skive size though comes the issue to fitting it into the heel cup and them fitting it into a shoe. Non of the skives though effected the plantar pressure at the Midfoot or the forefoot.


Everybody has different prescribing habits. I personally like 4deg rear foot virus as a foundation and then start from a 3mm heel skive if a feel any more rear foot control is needed. Personally, I don’t prescribe over a 5mm medial heel skive due to it taking up too much space. I also feel that arch profile has more of an effect on the foot to equate to good results. Hopefully this has cleared up some questions on How does a skive work. If you have more questions on our orthotics please contact us.