Category: Currents

Staying safe at NWPL

The health, safety and well-being of our team is a responsibility we take very seriously.

From being far ahead of the curve by offering great health insurance, paid sick leave and 401(K) matching to investing in an employee-led Wellness Committee, NWPL invests in its employees.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve doubled down on our health and wellness focus.

Kudos to Tam, NWPL’s Accounts Receivable Specialist (and the newest member of our team), for sewing awesome masks to help keep our team safe!

Small contributions can go a long way.  Thank you, Tam!

Stay well!

A Blast from the Past: NWPL in the 1980’s

Northwest Podiatric Laboratory is synonymous with out-of-the-box thinking, the relentless pursuit of revolutionary ideas, materials and technology, and exceptional customer care.

We merge the quality of traditional hands-on techniques with the convenience and performance of cutting edge technology. The result? Amazing solutions for foot pain! This isn’t a newly created marketing initiative to drum up sales…it’s baked into our DNA. Our laser-focus is evident in the millions of people we’ve helped over 50+ years. The spirit of Northwest Podiatric Laboratory is beautifully captured in the introduction to our 1989 company catalog. Back then, the technology was different and the hair was bigger, but our core remains unchanged.

Northwest Podiatric Laboratory company catalog, 1989:

Our laminate orthoses are fabricated from high performance materials used in the aerospace industry. Our unique processing of these materials, such as multiple layering of fiberglass and carbon fiber graphite cross layers within epoxy resin matrices, has resulted in state-of-the-art orthotic materials.

The new materials allow our orthoses to be inherently stronger and significantly thinner than all conventional orthoses, including rohadur, polypropylene, TL-61 and subortholen. In addition, our technological advances, such as “Triplane Tailoring” have enabled us to create orthoses that can be made flexible or rigid independent of thickness. Thus we are able to specifically design the internal structure of orthoses to control and transfer force factors according to the demands of the individual foot, specific activity and your Rx.

Northwest Podiatric Laboratory, Inc’s. ongoing research and development of orthotic applications using aerospace materials and technology has resulted in a close working relationship with the aerospace industry. Because of the sophisticated requirements of orthotic applications, our innovations in processes and materials have directly resulted in advances in aerospace technical development and international patents for Northwest Podiatric Laboratory, Inc’s. unique line of orthotics.

Christopher E. Smith, DPM., is presently a Professor of Podiatric Biomechanics at the California College of Podiatric Medicine and has over twenty years of professional teaching experience in his primary field of clinical and theoretical biomechanics. He is widely acknowledged by both his students and colleagues for his critical evaluation, attention to detail, specific insights and nuances and his preoccupation with the stability of the midtarsal joint.

His insights and experience have been major factors in the success of numerous world class athletes, including several United States Olympic Gold Medalists. Along with Dennis Brown, President of Northwest Podiatric Labs., he is engaged in ongoing research and development (as pictured above) of high performance composite materials and their application to functional foot orthoses.

Dr. Smith’s expertise, direction and knowledge have been instrumental in our development of our uniquely effective line of rigid orthoses that restore proper function while providing utmost patient comfort.

Dennis Brown is the main organizing and creative force in our team of experts. His experience in the design and fabrication of orthotics spans more than two decades. Holder of numerous worldwide patents, his ability to grasp theoretical principles and extend them beyond the ordinary continually results in breakthroughs in orthotic materials and fabrication processes.



Northwest Podiatric Laboratory is an industry leader in custom foot orthotic and related technologies. Dennis Brown, a retired British soldier, elite athlete and natural-born inventor founded the company in 1964 and was joined by a biomechanics pioneer, Dr. Chris Smith, in 1974. With an excluisve blend of science, craftsmanship and innovation, the partners have built a company that utilizes proprietary production techniques and technology to produce orthotics with a unique shape and unparalleled performance. Northwest Podiatric Laboratory has helped over a million people suffering from foot pain to lead better, pain-free lives. Learn more at

Ask NWPL – Info on Rx form

Question: Why does NWPL require so much patient information on the Rx form?


Answer: At first glance, age, weight, height, sex, activities and shoe type may appear superfluous. This information, however, is vital. It’s significance is apparent once we understand some concepts of composite orthotics (like NWPL’s Superglass). Let us begin by taking a step into the past. With thermoplastics, increased thickness is necessary to increase rigidity. Thicker is stronger and thinner is more flexible. Unlike thermoplastic materials, our Superglass orthotics have a true graduated flex range that is independent of the thickness of the device.

Shoe size, width and heel height are important considerations because these factors determine the final shape and dimension of the device. If we know the shoe size, we will check the cast/scan against standard lab sizes. Heel height is especially important when the device is for higher heeled shoes. Remember, for any shoe over 1.5″, the casts must be modified so the device will not rock on the shank of the shoe. Implicit in this modification is the lack of biomechanical control.

Shoe type is very important. While the length and width of the foot are readily determined from the anatomic markings on the casts/scan, we must consider the footwear when determining the precise dimensions of the device. A low dress shoe fits the foot much more snugly than the same size athletic shoe. Consequently, the devices must be fabricated to lesser dimensions.

We can make orthotics for nearly any shoe type, however, we recommend a lace-up shoe with a half inch heel. By giving us complete information, we can specifically engineer your prescription.