Running and other Sports: For Love or Money

April 29, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Life in this age is often complicated. Time is precious and money talks. That’s why it’s important to recognize what matters.
     Nick Ianco, a Marketing Manager for New Media Strategies, has been working on a promotional piece for New Balance. He emailed me the following; “I think this “For Love or Money” marketing campaign speaks to the positive aspects of running, or any sport for that matter, which is one of the reasons I was excited to have a part in the promotion. I just ran the Boston Marathon last week, and sometimes when the going gets rough, I have to reaffirm why the heck I even get out there in the first place. I think this spot answers the questions pretty well, so I thought other fitness-health-running blogs might have an interest in speaking to the idea of running for love rather than the money that permeates so many other sports.   
     “It speaks to me – as a runner and a human – as well. It sometimes feels like running may be the bastion of honest competition, but certainly threatened by performance enhancing drugs and other types of coercion. It is good to know that there are others out there who run, bike, swim, climb – or whatever – simply for the sake of enjoyment and fulfillment.

     Listen closely as you watch the video. Yes, life is complicated. We have our good and bad times. It says, “Like anything, there will be times when you think about quitting, but you never find that point when you do quit. It’s about going beyond that. You think about what your motivation is.” It’ll take you through the bad times. Click here to watch the video For Love or Money.
     Whichever sport you choose, running, walking, hiking, adventure racing, make sure your motivation is right—do it because you love it—and remember, keep your feet happy.
     A few shortened versions of the spot have appeared on television in various small markets (during running events, etc.) but the entire version has not been released to the public via television. The ad is for New Balance. They make great shoes. Take a moment and check them out.

Fixing Your Feet E-zine: Trail Shoes, Collecting Toenails and more

April 26, 2006 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

FIXING YOUR FEET E-zine

Volume 6, Issue 4, April 2006
John Vonhof, Footwork Publications
Copyright, April 2006, All rights reserved

THIS ISSUE IN SUMMARY
My editorial talks about Who Makes the Best Trail Shoes. Then, if you have ever lost a toenail, you’ll appreciate the story behind Colleting Toenails. There is one foot care tip and in Non-feet Good Stuff I talk about SkirtSports.

PURPOSE
The Fixing Your Feet E-zine is published monthly 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.

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A Great Resource for Walkers

April 24, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

There is a lot of information on the Web. Some of it is suspicious or of questionable value. Every once in a while we score big and find a site that is worth it weight in gold. If you are a walker, casual or serious, and /or an athlete, I recommend checking out About’s Walking site. The site host is Wendy Abt2Bumgardner. Articles are posted that will help anyone into walking. At the site, headers on the left include, Essentials, Walking Offers, Topics, Buyer’s Guides, Tools, Most Popular Articles, Latest Articles, and much more.
     Each posting is an article that discusses some part of walking, from shoes to gear to events, foot health, walking better, fitness, clubs, and much, much more. Down the center are featured articles and stories. On the right are Headlines and What’s Hot. It is easy to spend several hours checking out all the articles and links. I often go there and find myself layers deep in links of great stories and tips.
     Wendy takes care to provide information that is helpful whether you are a beginner or experienced walker. When you have a chance, check out About Walking. Click on the "Stay up to Date" by Wendy’s photo at the top and subscribe to whichever of About Walking newsletters or e-courses about walking that interests you. All free.
     If you have extra time, go to About’s main Web site and spend some time chekcing out more good stuff. There’s something for everyone.

If you want to go Barefoot, but…

April 20, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

When I posted the piece the other day about going barefoot I remembered a great new footwear that Indexbigimage_1was important to tell readers about. I saw these last summer at the Outdoors Show in Salt Lake City and I almost missed them because they seemed strange. But, they are the right footwear for those wanting a barefoot experience but also wanting to protect their feet.
     FiveFingers is the first and only footwear to offer the exhilarating freedom of going barefoot—with the protection and surefooted grip of a Vibram sole. These are great for those wanting the feeling of going barefoot—with protection. Toss them in your backpack for walking around camp after a day of hiking. Use them for walking, running, hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing, canyoneering, coastal approach, and after-sport recovery.
     FiveFinger gives you a gecko-like grip on slippery surfaces. They protect your tender feet from scorching sand and sharp rocks. They allow you to go barefoot—without leaving yourself exposed.
     The Fivefingers Web site says, You were born barefoot and FiveFingers encourages you to walk 5fingersthat way. With little to them, they enhance your natural walking motion, gently spreading your toes to strengthen foot muscles, increase your range of motion, and improve general foot health. The muscles in the feet and lower legs are stimulated for greater balance, agility and strength. Because you are more aware of how you walk and your stride, they help straighten your spine, improves posture, and reduces lower back pain.
     If you have any doubts about how durable they are, check out the Web site of Barefoot Ted. He Vibramffboston02stypically runs marathons barefoot. Lately, he has used Fivefingers for the LA and Boston marathons. Here is his Boston photo. For those who don’t know the distance, that’s 26.2 miles of asphalt in Fivefingers. If they can hold up to that, they will work for whatever you toss at them. He gives a good report on how Fivefingers worked for him.
     I plan on picking up a pair this summer. They look like fun. On the Fivefingers Web site the price is $70.00 and they are available in a variety of colors. Still not convinced? Here are to more Web sites with reviews. The first is Meraner Land and the second is from a site called I.D.
     FiveFingers footwear was the brainchild of industrial designer Robert Fliri. He proposed the idea to Marco Bramani, grandson of Vibram founder Vitale Bramani, who invented the first rubber soles used on mountaineering boots in 1936.

Going Barefoot – It’s OK

April 15, 2006 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

More people are going barefoot then ever before. On a recent business trip to San Antonio, being a people watcher and a foot watcher, I couldn’t help but notice how frequently people go barefoot. Many people are taking this a bit further than I’d choose to do. I noticed several people walking barefoot through the hotel lobby. This was a large upscale hotel in downtown San Antonio. Then I noticed someone in the airport walking around the terminal in bare feet. On the plane coming home were several people in their seats with bare feet. One young lady walked up and down the aisle and into the plane’s lavatory in bare feet.
     Lest you think that going barefoot is only for walking and runners, consider the group Barefoot Hikers. Barefoot Chris (his trail name), a member of Barefoot Hikers, recalls the shocked reaction of hikers they encountered while on a weeklong barefoot backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. They heard stories of many other barefoot hikers, including at least two that had done the entire trail without shoes. Those interested in exploring the outdoors barefoot should check out  and the Society for Running Barefoot and Barefoot Living. The book The Barefoot Hiker by Richard Frazine is about hiking barefoot. Barefoot Hikers have chapters in many states.
     I met Ken Bob, the founder of Running Barefoot, when I was in Los Angeles last month. He was going to run the LA Marathon the next day–barefoot. Nice guy. I like the quote he has on his website from Stephanie Tourleson, the author of Natural Foot Care, "The best treatment for feet encased in shoes all day is to go barefoot. One-fifth of the world’s population never wears shoes, ever! But when people, who usually go barefoot, wear shoes, their feet begin to suffer. As often as possible, walk barefoot on the beach, in your yard, or at least around the house. Walking in the grass or sand massages your feet, strengthens your muscles and feels very relaxing. If you can cut back on wearing shoes by 30 percent, you will save wear and tear on your feet and extend the life of your shoes."
     When venturing barefoot onto trails or even pavement, you should take a few precautions. Start slowly with short barefoot excursions to give your feet time to adjust. Your feet are used to the support and cushioning of shoes, and going without will make a sudden change. Be attentive to the conditions of the path underfoot. Your feet can be cut or punctured by debris on the road or trail. If you want to run barefoot, start by walking. This strengthens the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the feet and ankles.
     Walking and running barefoot can be an excellent way to condition your feet in order to prevent blisters when you do wear boots or shoes. Your skin will be tougher and you may develop calluses. Yet, be forewarned—this is no guarantee that you will not get blisters! Blisters under skin-toughened calluses can take four to six weeks to heal, significantly longer than the usual two weeks it takes a normal blister to heal.
     Aside from the possibility of cutting your feet on glass or metal, if you have any cuts or open skin on your feet you take the risk of picking up an infection. Another concern is skin that calluses over. These calluses can split into fissures, or cracks in the skin. This opens the inner layers of skin to a greater risk of infection. If you step on something sharp and get a puncture wound, seek medical care. Puncture wounds typically close up and this seals any debris, germs, or contaminants inside the wound. If you choose to go barefoot it’s smart to take care of your feet. There is no point in getting an infection through carelessness.
     It’s OK to go barefoot, in fact it is fun and refreshing and makes your feet happy.

Filing Toenails

April 12, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Health 

I recently received the following email question.

     “I would like your input. I need to file down my thick toenails. I checked out a pedicure set online and it is battery operated. Looks good to me. Let me know your take.”

     The answer is fairly easy. Unless you have really thick nails and prefer the faster filing of a Images_4 battery-operated unit, a regular file would fine. For thickened toenails however, a callus file is larger and files more nail at a time—and can be bought for as little as $4.00. A regular nail file is about 1/2 inch wide while a callus file is over an inch wide and often slightly curved. Good callus files are stiffer which allows pressue to be applied to the filing process. Which ever filing method you use, just be sure to do it on a regular basis.

     Foot care can be done inexpensively with a simple nail file or callus file, and a container of lotion or callus cream.  It is easy to go overboard and spend a lot of money and get a fancy 47298 pedicure set when only a few of the tools are needed. However, if you really want to do quality foot care, I highly recommend the purchase of a set and learning how to manage both your toenails and skin. Nail files, callus files, and skin creams can be found at your local drug store. Pedciure sets can be found at mnay online sites including FootSmart.com.

     When our feet are properly cared for, they are happy. Let’s work at keeping them that way. It only takes a few minutes a couple of times a week.

Clunky Footwear is Trendy

April 4, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Travel 

Yesterday’s newspaper had an article on Crocs. On what? Maybe you have seen them. They are the lightweight, colorful footwear that looks like clogs. These unique comfortable closed cell foam Holey structure shoes have a soft pliable feel, provide cushioning to your heels for all day wear, all the while massaging the bottoms of your feet with their textured footbed to promote circulation. They’re lightweight, warm in winter and cool in summer, with a vented design and anti-bacterial material to reduce foot odors.

     These clunky shoes have been talked about on Oprah, and many celebrities wear them. The article calls them the new flip-flops. Made by companies with names like Crocs, Holey Soles (shown to the left), Waldies, and Quark, these shoes are fun – and highly functional.

    I wrote about these back in October and said they were worth a look. The article reinforces my recommendation. I’ll admit that some of you may look at the shape and say, “Hey, they’re Waldies clogs and they look funny.” You know what? Their benefits outweigh their look! I’d toss these on my pack for use as camp shoes without a second thought. Typical weight is 8-10 ounces – per pair! And since they are made from one piece of closed cell foam, they won’t come apart or break down. Choose from an open back shoe or one with a heel strap. The colors are as wild or sedate as you want. All this for around $20-$50.00, depending on the company.

     These great shoes offer foot support with a molded foot-bed for arch, toe and heel support. Their tread is designed to grip and reduce slipping. The inside clings to your feet without toe curl. Quark In the summer they breathe because of their creative ventilation. In the winter, wear contrasting socks.

     The foot-bed has been designed for toe, arch and heel support while at the same time gently massaging your foot-pad. This massaging action helps promote blood circulation and reduces foot swelling.

     Wear them in camp when backpacking, walking at the beach, boating, at the pool, gardening, out shopping. Wear them around the house, while picnicking, or walking to get the mail—you name it.  At the end of the day, hose them down or wear them right into the shower.

     These clunky shoes have become very popular. They’ve been tested on cement and trail and proven extremely durable.

      For those who want to check further, see them at Crocs, Holeys, Waldies, or see several brands at LiteShoes.

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