Birthday Shoes – Check it Out!

March 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footwear, Footwear Products, Sports

If you are into Vibram FiveFingers or any of the new minimalist shoes, you owe it to yourself to check out the website

I consider BirthdayShoes to be the best informational website on the subject. It is very up-to-date as new shoes are released. In the month of March alone, they reviewed the:

  • Nike Zoom Waffle Racer IV
  • Merrell BarefootTrail Glove
  • Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport
  • New Balance NB Minimus
  • Fila Skele-Toes Four Toed Shoes

While the main focus is on FiveFingers, they are fair in their reviews. The “Guides” section offers a wealth of information on resources, reviews, how to’s, frequently asked questions, and modifications and repairs.

If you wear FiveFingers, are thinking about getting a pair, or are interested in minimalist shoes, is a website to bookmark.

Soles4Souls and Sport Chalet Partner for Japan Relief Efforts

March 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Health 

Today’s post is about helping others. We all have shoes in out closet that we no longer wear, but are useable. Please read this and consider helping. Thanks. I know I have at least three pair of shoes in my closet that are gently worn and will help someone. I’ll drop them of on Saturday.

Shoes for Japan

Shoes for Japan

Soles4Souls and Sport Chalet have joined forces again to bring shoes to victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Pacific Rim.  With more than 500,000 individuals homeless and living in shelters in Japan, the proud and even prosperous country is overwhelmed by the need and devastation.

Sport Chalet will help those suffering by collecting footwear in support of Soles4Souls’ commitment to donate footwear to the affected areas. Beginning March 18 through April 10, customers at Sport Chalet’s 55 stores will have the opportunity to drop off a gently worn pair of shoes.  All donations will directly support relief efforts.

Click here to find a Sports Chalet location or you can text the word SHOES to 20222 to donate $5.

Soles4Souls has partnered with other organizations on the ground in Asia to transport and distribute the aid to the victims in need in Japan.  With the damage estimated at more than $200 billion and rising, the need for items like footwear is great.  Soles4Souls, which was founded after the Asian Tsunami in 2004, has continued to respond to natural disasters like the one in Japan with footwear that protect victims against foot-borne diseases.  With a proven response system in place, victims like those in Japan are provided a pair of shoes that will offer hope and protection during the rebuilding efforts.

“As we keep those affected by the tsunami in our thoughts, we cannot forget how important basic necessities – such as shoes – will be for our friends in Japan,” said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. “We deeply appreciate Sport Chalet and their customers for rallying behind this cause and offering a way for individuals on the west coast to do their part and help others in need.”

“After the devastation that we witnessed with Haiti, we were able to collect and ship over 1 million pairs of shoes to the victims of that tragedy,” said David Hacker, Director of Marketing at Sport Chalet. “So, of course, after the earthquake and tsunami happened in Japan, our initial reaction was to once again do our part and offer customers at our 55 locations an opportunity to affect the lives of the suffering through the mission of Soles4Souls.  And with the threat of a tsunami coming so close to home, it is a natural response for Sport Chalet to offer our resources to help those who have been affected by this disaster.”

About Soles4Souls® & Clothes4Souls®

Soles4Souls collects, recycles and reuses shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and closets from individuals.  We distribute usable shoes to people in need around the world (we recycle less than 2% of donated footwear). Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 13 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 7 seconds).  The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal and the United States.

Clothes4Souls, a new division of Soles4Souls, provides hope for hurting people through the gift of new clothing from manufacturers, designers, and retailers.  Those who graciously give (rather than destroy) unused inventory are assured their donations are distributed to people around the world living in desperate need.

Donating parties are eligible for tax advantages.

About Sport Chalet

Sport Chalet, founded in 1959 by Norbert Olberz, is a leading, full service specialty retailer with 55 stores in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah; Sport Chalet online at and a Team Sales division. The Company offers more than 50 services for the serious sports enthusiast, including backpacking, canyoneering and kayaking instruction at its store locations.

SOURCE Soles4Souls

Types of Blisters

March 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care 

There are many types of blisters. In my experience, toe and heel blisters are the most common, followed by ball of the foot. Here is a summary of the three.

Toe Blisters

Shoes with a toe box that is too short in length and/or height often cause toe blisters. The toes rub against the toe box and blisters result. Improperly trimmed toenails are also a common cause. Socks will catch on the toenails and push them back into the cuticles, causing blisters or fluid under the nails. Blisters between the toes are commonly caused by friction from skin on skin. Blisters on the bottom of the toes can be caused by friction from the insoles. Oftentimes the pinky toe curls under the neighboring toe, leading to blisters. Shoes with a good toe box and properly trimmed toenails are important to preventing toe blisters. Injinji toe socks can help those prone to toe blisters.

A huge ball of the foot blister

A huge ball of the foot blister

Ball of the Foot Blisters

Blisters on the ball of the foot are generally caused by friction. This may be from the surface of the insole or from socks. Often a lubricant or powder will help prevent these. Trying another pair of insoles can also help because your insole coverings may be rough. An ENGO Patch placed on your insole can effectively reduce friction.

Heel Blisters

One of the more common blisters found on athletes’ feet are on the heels. Is there a reason for this? Why do so many athletes blister there? The best answer is that heels move around a lot inside shoes. Both up and down and side to side. Some shoes have plastic in the heel counters-a piece of plastic that is curved around the back of the shoe’s heel counter. This plastic piece can sometimes be an irritant and rub on your foot, causing a hot spot that turns into a blister. Another irritant is the edge of the insole where it meets the inside of the shoe. Run your fingers around the inside of your shoe. Feel for seams or the hard plastic heel counter that can cause blisters. Feel the edge of the insole. Some insoles have a thick edge, while others are thinner. Another insole may fit better and not have the problem edge. Bottom of the heel blisters can be caused by a rough surface of your insole or socks that are worn through and the weave has irritated the skin.

Of course, there are blisters on the sides of the foot, midfoot, back of the foot above the heel, and more. The above three types are the ones I have found to be the most common. If you can master getting rid of these, and patching them if they occur, you’ll know how to patch any blister.

Getting the Most Out of Fixing Your Feet

March 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Books, Foot Care, Health 

By now, many of you have ordered and are reading the 5th edition of Fixing Your Feet. One new chapter I added to this edition is, “Getting the Most out of Fixing Your Feet.” Because some people turn to specific chapters, and skip the front material, I have decided to print this new chapter here. Nathan’s story is an important lesson in how to get the best out of the book.

In the 14 years since Fixing Your feet first came out, I have answered many questions about foot care. I have patched thousands of feet at ultramarathons, multi-day stage races, adventure races, marathons, and walking events. If there is one thing I have learned, it is this, the majority of athletes wait until they have problems to learn how to care for their feet.

When problems develop, everything becomes reactive-working to solve an existing problem. Preventing foot problems is being proactive-working to solve problems before they develop. Being proactive takes time up front. Being reactive takes time and resources often when they are not available or when using them may jeopardize the outcome of the event. I prefer proactive.

So here you are, holding this book in your hands. Maybe it’s the first time seeing it or may you have had one of the earlier editions. The question is, how can you get the most value out of it?

I would start by skimming the table of contents, the Foreword and the Introduction. That will give you a feel for the depth of information inside. Then, of course, read the chapters that catch your attention – maybe because you are dealing with those particular issues.

If you are new to learning about foot care, set aside some time to read through the Part One: Foot Basics and Part Two: Footwear Basics. They are the starting point for everything else in the book. Then skim through Part Three: Prevention and highlight the material that catches your attention. When you have time, go back and read the chapters that apply to your situation. Pay close attention to the chapter on Taping.

Part Four: Treatments, is important to cover when you can take in all the information. If you are experiencing specific problems with your feet, read those chapters first. Then skim the others. Be sure to read and study the chapter on Blisters.

Anytime you see products that sound interesting, check them out on the listed websites. Not all of the products are right for you, but I guarantee that many are.

Nathan’s story, below, is a perfect example of how to get the most out of Fixing Your Feet.

Nathan’s Story

As I was finishing the material for this 5th edition, I received an email from Nathan Wilson, who lives in the Kimberley region of northwest Australia. The week before, he had finished the seven-day, 250km, stage race, Racing the Planet – Australia. Nathan had finished some marathons and ultramarathons-the longest being 100km races. Of the 185 starting competitors only 118 completed the race, and most competitors had a lot of problems with blisters from the first day.

Three months before the race, he bought Fixing Your Feet. He read it and learned a great deal about what he needed to do in preparation for this grueling event. Importantly, he learned how to deal with the problems he had had in other races. He learned how to pretape his feet and had the right tapes. In fact he taped his feet three times during the race. He carried seven pairs of Injinji socks and Teko merino wool blend to wear over the toe socks. He used Hydropel at the start of each day. He used Sorbothane insoles for added shock absorbation. For river crossings, he took off his shoes and socks, and once on the other side, cleaned his feet and reapplied Hydropel. Each evening he cleaned his shoes and insoles. When he got into camp each day, he dried his feet and coated them with iodine, and in one instance, benzoin, to dry them further. He watched his electrolytes, to avoid swelling of his feet and hands. For him, the race was an enjoyable experience.

Nathan was proactive from the get-go. Contrast that to others, who did not have adequate protection for the wet conditions, did not know how to use the contents of their “required” foot care kit, did not pretape, used the wrong tape, had not conditioned their feet and bodies for the weight of their packs, and who were reactive to problems.

Nathan wrote, “I realized that the part of the book that focused on working on your feet prior to a large event really had an impact on me. After reading people’s stories of soaking their feet, removing calluses and filing their toe nails, I was motivated to do the same on a near daily basis. It also motivated me to work on my ankle strength and my calves to help my feet. I suppose if I had not done this prep work, all of the taping/hydropel/toe socks etc, would have helped some but it may not have made such a difference. A lot of people have asked about the race and the blisters ‘I must have had.’ I just laugh and tell them that I didnt get a single one.

Nathan thanked me for getting him through Racing the Planet – Australia, a very tough event. I commend Nathan for doing things right.

I hold Nathan up as an example of how to use the material in this book. I could not have found a better example of being proactive.

I challenge you to do likewise.

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