Two Questions at the end of 2005

December 29, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

A recent statistic at asked an interesting question: “Did you the know average person will walk more than 115,000 miles in a lifetime, which is enough to walk the circumference of the earth four times over? Additionally, the average person does not wear a properly fitting or comfortable shoe.” An additional statistic is that the average person takes under 5000 steps per day.
     Two days short of ringing in 2006, I have two questions. The first is, “How for did you walk or run in 2005?” Not that there is a magic number. The number is for you to know, if you even have any idea. The point is that you should have, for health reasons if for nothing else, put some decent miles on your feet. If you put some miles on your feet you are ready for the second question.
     The second question is, “How were your feet in 2005?” Here there is an answer I’m looking for. It’s, “My feet were great!” That’s the right answer. That means your feet were happy and being treated well. If however, you answered, “My feet were killing me.” Then you need help.
     You may have been bothered by bad toenails, plantar fasciitis, corns, bunions, flat feet, foot pain, blisters, or one of many other ailments. If so, what did you do about the problem? Looking for answers is not hard. Sure, it may take time, but our feet are worth it. They carry us everywhere.
     Two days from now, you’ll have an opportunity to look the New Year in the eye and decide what you’ll do to make 2006 better than 2005. I hope getting your feet healthy and happy will be high on your list. If you need help, I recommend either of my publications, Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatment for Athletes or Happy Feet: Foot Care Advice for Walkers and Travelers. To check them out, click on the title on the left side of thos page or go to Footwork Publications.

Custom Shoes

December 26, 2005 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports 

What happens when you can’t find a shoe you like? Your options are limited. Shoe companies are not in the business of making custom shoes. If you have a narrow heel and a wide forefoot, overall narrow or large feet, or have typically struggled to find shoes that fit well you have experienced “shoe hell.” Most shoes, because they don’t fit your feet, lead to blisters, arch problems, tendonitis, squished toes, and more. Rather than find a shoe that fits your feet, your feet are forced to fit into shoes made for the masses.
The best choice is to check out the Hersey Custom Shoe Company. They offer 10 shoe models for Dpsrunners, walkers, race walkers, and hikers. The 10 include trainers and light-weight trainers, high-mileage shoes, racing flats, walking and racewalking shoes, hiking shoes, trail runners, and a high top for those who need ankle support. Their approach is very simple, “Tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll let you know if we can help.”
The Hersey staff will work with you so you get the shoe you want, based on your unique foot needs. Bart_bench1You will answer a set of questions about how often you run and race, what your usual race distance is, shoes you have used in the past that have worked and that have not worked, and then a set of questions about your feet (pronate, supinate, abnormal wear, orthotics, shoe breakdown patterns, etc). You will also send a tracing of your feet based on their specific instructions. Then choose your model and design options and the shoes will be made to fit your feet and your feet alone.
Do they cost more? Certainly. Are they worth it? If you have hard to fit feet, I’d bet they are. If you want a shoe that is solidly made and not an off-the-shelf made in who knows where shoe, I’d also bet they will appeal to you. Check out the Hersey Custom Shoe Company.

Dry and Cracked Feet?

December 23, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare 

It’s that time of year when the effect of cold and the dryness in the air has a negative effect on our skin. If the skin on your hands is cracking from being outside, you can bet your feet are also suffering. Be sure to use a moisturizing lotion on your feet. In extreme cases when your skin is especially dry and cracked, apply the lotion or cream and then cover the area with plastic wrap to hold it in. Here are my favorite skin care choices:

1.  SkinMD Natural – This is a new shielding lotion that adds moisture while stopping the loss of your natural moisture to heal dry and damaged skin. 

2.  Zim’s Crack Crème – A natural, herbal lotion that moisturizes and softens dry and cracked skin.

3.  Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Crème – Heals and protects dry, rough and callused skin.

4.  Weleda Skin Food – An herbal crème that moisturizes dry, flaky, and damaged skin.

The important tip to remember is to use the lotion daily or according to the package’s directions. Using these lotions once or twice a week will not allow them to work their healing magic on your skin.

Cold Feet? Let’s Warm Them Up

December 18, 2005 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports 

Many times in the winter we go outside for a walk or run and end up with cold feet. Is it our shoes, socks, or something else? Let’s look at several causes and solutions.
     Our shoes can easily be the culprit, or at least a contributing factor. If the shoes are made with mesh in the uppers, the top of the shoe surrounding the foot, cold air can easily go right through to your feet. Consider wearing other shoes in the winter or even choosing a pair with a Gore-Tex liner.
     Socks are a huge factor in keeping your feet warm. Simply changing to a thicker sock will not necessarily make your feet warmer. The types of yarns are important. Wool is a good insulator. Many socks are made with a combination of components: wool, Lycra, spandex, Coolmax, to name a few. Be sure you don’t increase the thickness of your socks too much and make your feet too tight in your shoes, which inhibits circulation. This in turn makes your feet colder.
     Remember what you may have learned as a child. When your head is cold, the rest of you will also be cold. So… warm your head with a hat or cap, knit cap, or some form of headgear. Keeping your head warm will help warm your feet.

FIXING YOUR FEET E-zine – Blistershield, Buffs, SkinMD, and more…

December 18, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Volume 5, Issue 12b, December 2005
John Vonhof, Footwork Publications
Copyright, December 2005, All rights reserved


The feature article is about BlisterShield & SportShield. Then I
introduce you to two products and give one foot care tip for you to
check out. The Bad Feet Contest shows what can happen when one has
children and a roll of duct tape.


The Fixing Your Feet E-zine is published twice a month to inform and
educate athletes and non-athletes about proper foot care skills and
techniques, provide tips on foot care, review foot care products, and
highlight problems people have with their feet.

Read more

Pedicures for Men

December 14, 2005 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports 

A local newspaper, the Modesto Bee, in central California, recently carried a story about Nails by David Lee, a salon in Modesto. It seems the owner, David Lee, has discovered a great way to get men into his salon.

     Once a month for the past nine months, Lee has been holding pedicure/manicure nights for men. Although women are welcome, most of the people on these nights are men. For $15.00, you’ll get a pedicure. Lee provides food and the customers their choice of drinks. On a recent night, tables held bean burritos and Mexican rice. Drinks included Jose Cuervo Gold tequila and mixing for margaritas.

     If you are looking for a Christmas gift idea for that special man in your life, or brother or father, Pedicure call around to find a salon which provides pedicures for men. Give them a gift certificate for a pedicure. Many men interviewed for the newspaper article indicated they were comfortable going to the salon on a “men’s” night versus going when it likely to be filled with only women. Ask the salon if they have a men’s only night and if not, suggest they consider this unique service. Even better, give them the gift certificate and go with them.

     This is a great opportunity to get toenails properly trimmed, skin exfoliated, and calluses managed. While most men opt for a pedicure, many businessmen get manicures because their hands have to be nice and manicured. Others use waxing services to reduce excess hair or get a facial.

      Many of Lee’s clients splurge and have their nails done in burgundy, fire engine red, or even in a French style topped with gold and silver sparkles.

     If you want to know more about pedicures, especially if you’re an athlete, check out two recent issues of my Fixing Your Feet E-zine. The first described pedicures while the second gave readers comments on having pedicures done.

     As the old adage goes, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” I just may have to go check it out myself. I’ll let you know. After all, I want my feet to be happy.

How I Buy Shoes

December 11, 2005 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Sports 

When I shop for shoes I tend to pick companies I have had good experiences with, and know by reviews and research that they make quality shoes. I bought a pair of Saucony shoes many years ago and found even thought they fit well in the store, outside was a different story. Similarly, I once bought a pair of Asics and ended up giving them away because they hurt my feet. My first few pairs of running shoes were New Balance but I later switched to Nike because I like the Air concept for support and cushioning. I still use Nike but just bought a pair of Brooks Trance 5. I used to wear Montrail shoes for trails but last year the new pair I bought rubbed me wrong and so I switched to Inov-8 Flyroc.
     I read the reviews in the magazines, check reviews online, then go to the stores and put my hands all over the shoes. If I know someone wearing shoes different than mine, I’ll often ask them why they wear what they do.
     When I try on shoes, I first look for fit and comfort. The shoes must feel comfortable from the moment I put them on. I don’t feel running shoes need to be broken in. Today’s shoes should fit right from the start. I want wiggle room for my toes, a wide forefoot and a good grip on my heels. I want the shoe to lace properly without putting pressure on the top of my foot. I walk in them, and if possible, take them out for a short run.
     Then I look at the shoe itself. I want an outersole right for the running I will be doing. Putting my hand inside the shoe, I feel for seams or rough spots in the stitching. I pull out the insole and look at the inside of the shoe. I check the insole because many shoes companies cut corners on this important item. When I get home, I wear them around the house to make sure the fit is good.
     I’ll be honest too. I never buy from the bottom of a shoe company’s line. I buy top end shoes because, over the years, I have found they fit better and are the best shoes for the money. I want my feet to be happy.

Brand Loyalty in Footwear

December 7, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports 

When athletes talk about footwear, you often hear, “Be loyal and don’t jump from brand to brand or style to style." So, how true is that statement? Let’s look at a few different perspectives on the subject.
     From the manufacturer’s perspective, it makes perfect sense. If buyers are loyal and stick to their shoes, life is perfect. They have an on-going audience who remains faithful and so their shoes will always sell.
     From the shoe store’s perspective, it makes life easier. They’ll keep buying the same shoes from the same manufacturers. Sure, they’ll take chances on new shoes, but if we remain loyal to the old shoes, they’ll have a harder time convincing athletes to buy them.
     So, that leaves our perspective. The customer. So why would athletes remain loyal? Let’s identify some reasons, keeping in mind that the inverse is true too—when one of the reasons fails, the athlete is often open to a change in shoes.

1.    The shoes work well for my sport
2.    The shoes fit
3.    They’ve never caused problems
4.    I hate taking a chance on a new shoe
5.    I like the style
6.    I like the color

     Certainly, shoe companies would like us to be loyal. One obvious problem is that companies often seem to disregard the people who buy and wear their shoes. They will often change or discontinue shoe styles with no warning and at the drop of a hat. If you’ve found shoes that work, every Spring and Fall is tense as you wait to see if your favorite shoes are still being made. I know athletes who buy several pair of shoes once they find a pair that works for their feet. They don’t want to take a chance on the shoe companies not honoring their loyalty. I don’t blame them.
     Next time, I’ll share how I buy shoes.

Happy Feet! Booklet is Ready

December 3, 2005 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

After a long wait, my new booklet, Happy Feet! Foot Care Advice for Walkers and Travelers is in stock and ready for the walkers in your life.
Frontcover101    Whether you walk for health or fitness, for the fun of it or for your job, or while traveling or on vacation—this booklet is for you. You may travel a lot or only a few days each year, but travel means walking—so this booklet is for you too. Even though you may not do a lot of walking or traveling, preventive foot care is a good idea.
     Don’t let the size of this booklet fool you. The pages are crammed full of information and tips about foot care basics as well as more advanced care. Common problems are addressed and solutions offered.
     Everywhere we turn, we hear about the benefits of walking. Walking is the perfect low-impact exercise for developing and maintaining fitness. Good health, increased energy and muscle tone, fitness, and weight loss are all benefits of a routine walking regimen. A walking routine can also reduce the risks of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems. But walking can also stress the joints, strain the muscles, make the feet susceptible to hot spots, blisters, and lead to problems with toenails, stubbed toes, sprains, and strains.
     Walking requires very little basic equipment—shoes, socks, and insoles. Yet the war against foot problems can be lost when one of these three is ill fitting. Our feet are unique. Even though yours may look similar to mine, they are as different as our fingerprints. Although our feet may fit into the same size and shape of shoe, there are differences in how our feet actually mold into the shoe.
     Walking becomes more enjoyable when you become aware of what makes a good fit in your shoes. This involves everything from choosing the best socks to treating common foot problems.
     Each walker needs to find what combination of shoes, socks, insoles, and foot care works for them. Everything you put on or around your foot becomes related to how well your foot functions. That’s the goal of this booklet—to help you get the most enjoyment out of your walking experience.
     This booklet is 3.75 x 8.5 and 36 pages in length. In an easy read format, it gives advice on biomechanics and gait, buying footwear, fit, lacing, insole and toenail tips, skin care, powders and lubricants, blister care, sprains, foot care kits, and more.
     It’s a bargain at $5.00. Happy Feet! is the perfect Christmas gift for the walkers you know. Click here to read more and order one or two.

FIXING YOUR FEET E-zine – Christmas Gift Ideas and the Reebok Pump 2.0

December 3, 2005 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Books, Foot Care, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Volume 5, Issue 12a, December 2005
John Vonhof, Footwork Publications
Copyright, December 2005, All rights reserved


My editorial is on the Reebok Pump Wrapshear shoe. But for fun, I start
by giving you my favorite good stuff to put on your Christmas list or
to buy for your friends. There’s two foot care tips, an important note on energy
drinks, one non-feet good stuff item, and a simply must have stupid
gift for the person who has everything.


The Fixing Your Feet E-zine is published twice a month to inform and
educate athletes and non-athletes about proper foot care skills and
techniques, provide tips on foot care, review foot care products, and
highlight problems people have with their feet.

Read more

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