May 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care Products 

I have held a pretty firm position on moleskin for many years – I don’t like it and I don’t use it.

Here are my reasons. It doesn’t stick. It doesn’t shape to the foot’s curves. And it’s too thick.

I have no objection to other athletes using it, but I don’t touch the stuff.

Several years ago, I worked provided foot care at the 3-day Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk in San Francisco. They had a pretty good supply of powder and Vaseline – and boxes of moleskin. Everyone sat around and cut the stuff into small, medium and large ovals. Hundreds of moleskin ovals. It didn’t take long for the rest of the medical staff to figure out the stuff sucked. They quickly learned that I had my own supply of tapes – and they wanted some.

ProFoot Moleskin

ProFoot Moleskin

Well, even an old dog can learn new tricks. Pamela Cress, the VP of Marketing for ProFoot (New York), emailed me about trying a pair of their insoles. I agreed and when the package arrived, inside I found a packet of their “special” moleskin. It’s called “VelvetexTM Moleskin.

Reluctantly I took it out of the packet. I my mind, it was moleskin – pure and simple. But I wanted to give it a fair test. I cut an oval, peeled off the backing, and applied it to my heel, right over clean skin without any tape adhesive. It stuck extremely well and stayed on for two days. It’s not thick and is very soft so it formed itself to the curves of the side of my heel.

Photo #1 - ProFoot's Velvetex Moleskin

Photo #1 - ProFoot's Velvetex Moleskin

This evening I took another piece and put it on my heel and a piece of a different manufacture’s moleskin on the other heel. The ProFoot moleskin was superior and stuck better than the other brand. The ProFoot moleskin is shown in photo #1. It is softer than any other moleskin I have seen. It’s stickiness is better than everyone else’s too. After wearing it for two days I found it did not stick to my sock. It stayed in place.

Photo #2 -Brand X moleskin

Photo #2 -Brand X moleskin

The other brand is shown in photo #2. It’s much coarser in feel and easily comes off. If you look closely, you’ll see the far left edge lifting off the skin. That comes from it’s inability to form to the curves of the foot.

Here’s what ProFoot’s webpage says about their moleskin: “Velvetex is a unique breathable material that is softer and more durable than ordinary moleskin, it also performs better under pressure. The unique Microfiber texture moves with your foot to help reduce friction, further protecting your sore spots. It soothes, relieves, and prevents blisters, calluses, corns, sore spot, and red tender skin. It’s also latex free.”

I can honestly say I like ProFoot’s Velvetex Moleskin. I will be purchasing some to keep in my foot care kit for cases where I want something thicker than tape – probably for the balls of the feet and heels. I will use Compound of tincture of benzoin to help it stick even better. ProFoot has a winner in their moleskin. You can easily add a strip to your kit.

The Velvetex Moleskin is packaged with two 3.25” x 5” sheets to a pack. The ProFoot web page has a button to buy from Amazon, Walgreens, and other online websites. Amazon has it for $3.11 per pack.

Fair disclosure: ProFoot sent me their Moleskin to test. I have no financial investment in the product or company.

Fixing Your Feet in Hardcover!

May 11, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Books 

Those of you who are fans of Fixing Your Feet will probably agree that the 5th edition released in the Spring of 2011 is the best one yet. Of course I am biased, but I have seen each edition become better that the previous ones.

Yes, I think the 5th edition is the best one.

My publisher, Wilderness Press, released it as a trade paper version. So imagine my surprise when I received word that it would be released in a special edition hardcover edition for Rodale Press and Runner’s World. Several months ago, in a deal with my publisher, they did a test, offereing Fixing Your Feet to their subscribers. Because the test was successful and the interest was good, they decided to go with a hardcover edition.

If you are interested in Fixing Your Feet in hardcover, click on the link. As you can see from the ad below, they did a great job with the marketing.

Fixing Your Feet in hardcover

Fixing Your Feet in hardcover

Looking at Shoe Uppers

May 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Footwear 

Last month I was at my local REI store to conduct a clinic on foot care. At the same time, they held a footwear festival, which had eight footwear companies represented.

I noted something about some of the shoes that is valuable to know if you are shopping for shoes. Specifically, the materials of the shoe’s upper.

I have two photos to share with you. The shoes in these photos are made by Salomon. In fair disclosure, I have several pairs of Salomon shoes that I received as swag for working medical at races. I find they are well made and are easy to fit to my feet.

Shoe with a mesh upper
Shoe with a mesh upper

The first photo shows a shoe that is typical of many shoes today – by most of the companies. The shoe’s upper is made with a mesh material. Whether it is one or two, or even more layers is not important. It’s mesh.

Wearing shoes with a mesh upper will generally help keep your feet cooler. But the mesh allows minute particles of sand and dirt to get inside, onto and into your socks, and on your skin. Those particles can cause friction and over time can cause hot spots and then blisters to develop. Yes you can wear gaiters, but the usual gaiter design covers only part of the front of the shoe’s upper. Stuff still gets inside. The alternative gaiter is a design that covers the full shoes, from the outer sole up over the ankle. A few months ago, I did a review of a gaiter that covers the whole shoe. Here’s the link.

Shoe with a non-mesh upper

Shoe with a non-mesh upper

The second photo shoes a different shoe, also made by Salomon, that has an upper made with a non-mesh material. This upper will keep sand and dirt out of the shoe. A gaiter with this shoe will be useful if you are running in a sandy, dusty, or dirty course, where you would likely get stuff into your shoe through the top of the shoe.

To be truthful, I feel strongly that trail runners should wear gaiters regardless of what shoes they wear. Gaiters are good proven equipment.

If you have a race or event on your summer calendar that involves lots of sand and loose dirt, keep the material of your shoes in mind when planning. Something as simple as a non-mesh upper can save your feet.

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