Picking Your Footwear

April 18, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Footwear 

Yesterday I watched hikers, backpackers, and walkers do their best to pick the right footwear out of dozens of possible choices. It was a madhouse.

I had done a foot care clinic at the Berkeley REI store. It was fun with 40 people attending. Rather than 1 hour, it lasted 1-½ hours. They had lots of questions. Good questions. They ranged from neuromas, taping, blisters, plantar fasciitis, toenails, minimalist footwear, barefoot running, and a few others. The guy in the front row ended up with all fingers on one hand tapes (to simulate toes), plus tape on the palm of his hand (to simulate taping he ball of the foot). Earlier I had talked to the footwear sales staff to give them tips on footwear and answer their questions.

So, as I said, it was a madhouse. The store was packed. REI put together a Foot Wear Festival with 12 footwear vendors on hand to promote their wares – and my free clinic.

Stacks of shoes

Stacks of shoes

Adults, teens and children were there to pick out shoes, boots and sandals. The crowd never stopped the whole day. REI staff worked like dogs, assisted by the vendor reps, to bring out stacks and stacks of footwear. I talked to a few folks who had been in my clinic as they tried to pick the best for their feet.

I had told them to buy footwear based on what they wanted to do, the weight of their packs, experience level, and any pre-existing foot conditions. I watched them look at the footwear from different angles, look inside, feel inside, try them on and walk around, stand on the artificial rocks to try different positions, and more. Many were doing a good job.

I had told them earlier that I believe there is more than one pair of shoes that is correct for their feet. Whether picking running shoes, boots, or sandals, there is more than one for you. Pick your footwear based on function and form, and above all, comfort. After walking around the store in them, then take them home and spend time wearing them for several hours. Make sure they feel right and don’t have any rough spots. Then when you are satisfied, wear them outside – and enjoy them.

Nike’s Inexpensive Shoes

March 29, 2007 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Footwear 

A few days ago I wrote about “Can Good Shoes also be Cheap Shoes?” This post will continue that theme – from a different vantage point.

     A month ago, an Associated Press story described the pairing up of discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource and Exeter Brands Group, a subsidiary of Nike. They are pairing up to produce and sell a “high performance $34.00 running sneaker.” The bottom line is that both companies want to take advantage of a highly lucrative market.

     Nike will produce the shoes under the label Tailwind Collection and Payless will serve as the Hpva1a_20070320_br1c2a_2 exclusive retailer. The Tailwind shoes will feature a honeycomb gel that compresses on impact. The Collection includes one running shoe, an athletic sandal, and slip-ons. The line is expected to be in all 4600 Payless stores by year-end. Click on the link above and then the "Tailwind" logo on the Payless Web site to see the new line.

     Several years ago, Nike formed Exeter to make inroads in the low-price athletic shoe market. Their Starter brand is sold in Walmarts and the SHAQ basketball shoe is sold to multiple mass retailers. 

     Clare Hamill, the president and CEO of Exeter, claims the honeycomb gel in the Tailwind shoes is about 20% more expensive than footwear without much technology. Cohen said, “This takes the low end to a new extreme…. and pushes the edge of technology.”

     So there you go. You can soon buy your running shoes and athletic footwear at Payless ShoeSource. No course, there will be no salesperson who knows anything about footwear and nothing about how to fit shoes, and are likely not athletes either.

     Note also that the Nike Air Tailwind will be disappearing from stores. How else can Nike and Payless promote the new Tailwind Collection when the name is so similar to an existing Nike shoe? Will people be confused?

     I will make a note to check out these shoes at my local Payless store. If your running is very casual and very low key, these shoes may be Ok for your feet. If you hate spending your next paycheck on shoes, they may also be a good choice. The Payless Web site shows the product line, and unless I missed something, the line is only for women. Oh yea, two of the shoes do not have laces – but Velcro. I thought Velcro was on shoes made for the much older generation! Cool.

     Be forewarned however, your feet can tell the difference between good fitting and good shoes, and poor fitting and cheap shoes.

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