The Top Eco-Friendly Women’s Footwear Brands Inspired By Nature

Pikolinos Puerto Vallarta

Nature has inspired many innovations in the world. The Wright Brothers studied birds in flight to get a better grasp on the physics of lift for their invention of the airplane; designers have emulated the properties of shark skins as they created swimsuits for Olympians; and a Swiss engineer invented Velcro after examining the burrs that his dog would catch in his fur, and noticed that the burrs contained hooks and loops.  The efficiency, functionality and beauty of nature continues to inspire new inventions and designs across the globe, and this is especially prominent in women’s footwear.  Here’s a rundown of some of the best women’s shoe brands inspired by nature on the market today.

Taos Footwear credits its shoe designs as being inspired by the natural beauty of the American Southwest. The company prides itself on creating comfortable but stylish women’s shoes for everyday use. Crafted from leather and fabric, its footwear is often embellished with decorations like stones and rugged buckles. Taos also does its best to support the environment by recycling in its office, building its shoe boxes out of recycled material, and choosing materials and manufacturing practices that leave as small an environmental footprint as possible.

Pikolinos is a footwear company inspired by the Mediterranean region. Following the stunning vistas and laid-back vibe of this area, Pikolinos turns out unique, thoughtful designs season after season. The respect for nature has translated into its manufacturing processes: all leather used is chromium-free, and vegetable dyes contain no toxic components.

On the other side of the world, Olukai has deep connections to the Hawaiian islands. Olukai creates shoes fit for an island lifestyle, meaning to be able to go from the beach to the forest while maintaining durability. Comfort is another priority of Olukai footwear. Olukai has coined the term, “Wet Sand Principle,” to indicate that as users walk on wet sand, their heels touch the sand first and the sand quickly fills in under the arch while their toes splay out in front. Every pair of Olukai shoes uses a footbed that adheres to this principle, providing long-lasting, anatomically-aligned comfort.

Earthies is another fabulous shoe line inspired by nature. Part of the umbrella company of Earth Brands, Inc., Earthies evolved from a company that focused on the whole-body wellness experience to that which presents a hip collection of holistic-inspired designs in earth-friendly hues, including sky blues, rich browns and vibrant reds. Earthies also takes part in Trees for the Future, whose slogan is “Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree on Earth”. Its goal is to plant as many trees as possible to offset deforestation around the globe.

Born platform sandals are handcrafted using either full-grain or veg leather to create ultra-comfortable, feminine footwear. Practicality aside, these open-toe creations are works of art. Each sandal design is inspired by nature from all corners of the world, and aims to convey a youthful sense of adventure.

Lastly Birkenstock, a hugely popular company, has been creating earth-friendly and nature-inspired shoes for over a century! It’s not enough that their products are comfortable, unique and timeless; Birkenstock also strives to make sure their assembly is eco-friendly by constructing quality shoes with low waste production.  They recycle all leftover and scrap material when manufacturing, and use boxes made only with recycled paper and printed with environmentally-friendly inks.

What is your favorite line of nature-inspired, eco-friendly footwear?

Water-resistant vs. Waterproof shoes: Which Should You Purchase?

Arcopedico L19

There are many considerations you should think about when you purchase waterproof or water-resistant footwear. The distinction, and which feature to pursue, can be confusing.  In addition to selecting a style that suits you best, you need to factor in elements such as climate and weather, activities in which you’ll engage, safety, and comfort. Whether you require hiking boots for a long trek, rain boots for strolling about in springtime, or running sneakers to train for an upcoming marathon, there are many options available to you. For starters, should you opt for water-resistant or waterproof shoes?

Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof

Manufacturers use a test called a “hydrostatic head test” to determine the water resistance of footwear. This procedure determines how many millimeters of water pressure the shoe’s materials can withstand before being permeated. The properties of water resistant shoes differ from those of waterproof shoes; do not automatically assume that you need a waterproof shoe. Sometimes water-resistant shoes are better for your application.

When to Choose Water-Resistant Shoes

For any activity that occurs in a humid or damp environment, a breathable, water-resistant shoe may be the better choice. Water-resistant footwear offers more versatility in terms of style and material, where typical textiles include leather, treated canvas, vinyl and nylon. Options like Merrell’s walking shoes are crafted to keep your feet cool and dry both inside and out, as cooling air passes through the shoe to prevent the buildup of perspiration.

The increased number of available fabrics and materials can make water-resistant footwear more fashion-oriented as well. For example, many of the Arcopedico boots feature metallic, snakeskin, and bright motifs while offering water-resistant properties.

You can also add water resistance to footwear by using a spray like Cadillac All Weather Shield Water Repellent. This is an easy to provide extra protection if you have a favorite pair of hiking or running shoes that you’d like to wear in wet weather. Suede shoes can also gain protection by the use of water repellent sprays.

When to Choose Waterproof Shoes

Waterproof shoes aren’t just clunky rain boots. You can find them in a wide variety of styles, from business casual to athletic. You can waterproof some styles at the expense of breathability. However, due to the use of synthetic materials, many brands at Footwear etc. have utilize the waterproof material, GORE-TEX ™. This lightweight, breathable material is highly effective at at keeping your feet dry.

The Women’s MBT Chakula GTX GORE-TEX® is a great example of an athletic shoe that allows for the evaporization of foot moisture, and it is light and versatile enough to be used for most any sport or activity. Conversely, the Ecco Sculptured GTX is a casual women’s slip-on that is ideal for activities like shopping and moderate walking. The great thing about these two models is that they contain ergonomic features that can help provide extra comfort and reduce the chance of injuries.

Check out the wide variety of waterproof and water resistant products at Footwearetc.com!

 

 

 

How to Treat and Prevent Foot Odor

Four Seasons Odor Away

Foot odor is annoying and embarrassing regardless of the climate you live in. Since odor is more prevalent during warm weather, your usual foot-washing routine may not be enough to clear up the problematic aroma. Fortunately, the problem can be treated with good hygiene and the proper footwear. By following these few simple suggestions, you can successfully keep your feet cooler, drier and less pungent.

Tips for Keeping Your Feet Clean

To start, get into the habit of exfoliating to remove excess dead skin cells once or twice per week; this will keep your feet from harboring bacteria, which is the generator of odor. Wash your feet with an antibacterial soap, tea-tree-oil based soap, or any mild soap of your choice daily.

Many items you can find around your kitchen will also help to clean and deodorize your feet. Cornstarch, baking soda, vinegar, salt and tea are cheap, easy and effective solutions that you likely already own. Try a few of the following to see which works best for you:

  • Two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in warm water
  • Two tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in warm water
  • Half cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Half cup table salt or Epsom salt dissolved in water
  • Five bags of tea, brewed (can be soaked using warm or cold tea)

After one of these relaxing soaks, dry your feet thoroughly, paying attention to the area between your toes, as moisture is the main culprit that creates the unpleasant smell. You can also give your feet a quick swipe with the deodorant you use under your arms. Note: apply deodorant to your feet at night before you go to sleep so that it has a chance to absorb into your skin and not create a slippery situation.

Sandals can help keep your feet cool and dry, but if your feet need to be covered, remember that leather and canvas are optimal materials for breathability. If you wear shoes with socks, try cotton or any socks that excel in moisture-wicking properties.

Give your shoes a break between wearings. Instead of wearing the same pair two days in a row, leave them at home with a few sprinkles of cornstarch, baking soda, talcum or medicated (such as antifungal) foot powder until you wear them again. Cedar chips, cedar balls, or dried sage leaves can also help deodorize your shoes.

Footwear etc. carries a variety of foot odor removal products, including sandal cleaners and deodorizers, Odor Away spray, shoe fresheners, and specialized insoles and shoe and foot odor removal products. Customers have found these to greatly aid in abating foot odor.

You don’t have to suffer with foot odor! If the problems persist after you try the aforementioned suggestions, speak with your doctor for further recommendations.

New Balance 980 Shoes: A Brand New Running Experience!

New Balance 980

If you’re looking for a new experience in running shoes, check out the New Balance 980. It contains a brand new technology called Fresh Foam, which is created from a single piece of foam. Why does this make a difference in your running experience? Read on….

New Balance had the sense to take actual runners’ data and incorporate that into a shoe that could suit their needs. Answering the calls for lightweight, stable, high performance running shoes, the 980 has shown it has what runners want.

The 980s have a lower midsole, to give you a more natural feel under your feet. Yet the Fresh Foam is very soft and stable. It has an approximately 4 mm drop as you run, and the outsole is made from blown rubber. The cushioning really sets this model apart from the rest. Some users have reported that it feels like you’re running on a cloud, or even cotton balls!

The breathable mesh definitely helps keep your feet cool and dry, a necessity in a high performance shoe. This is in keeping with a minimal upper, so the performance features really occur in the rest of the shoe.

Not only does the cushioning make a huge difference, there are no sew overlays on the mesh upper. This is important because there are no seams to potentially rub your feet and potentially irritate them.

There have been a lot of positive reviews in an assortment of running magazines, such as:

Awarded “Best Ride” in the Competitor Magazine Spring Shoe Guide (March 2014)
Awarded “Best Neutral Running Shoe” by Running Network (March 2014)
Featured in Prevention Magazine’s “2014 Awards, Sneaker Buying Guide” (April 2014)

Interested in a great new running shoe? Try out the New Balance 980s. See if they can help improve your performance as you enjoy the fabulous new technology. See them at footwearetc.com today!

How to Choose Your Shoes for Summer Travel

sandals-hero-notext-7-1-14

As you firm up your travel plans for summer, thoughts on which shoes you’re going to bring and how you’re going to pack them are probably the furthest thing from your mind. However, it’s something to consider early on, lest you throw in any old pair that fits into your luggage and end up suffering blisters and sore feet throughout your whole vacation. Objectives for travel packing should include packing lightly, comfortably, seasonally, and stylishly – which is why it’s such a tough job to pack such a limited amount! Whether you’re hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, shopping Kensington High Street, or kicking a ball around beachside, here are a few considerations that will help you to feel relaxed and look presentable.

The most versatile set of shoes to pack are walking shoes; low profile, comfortable dress shoes; and a pair of special activity shoes such as flip-flops for the beach or hiking boots for trail walking.

Select Only the Most Comfortable Fit

Because comfort is priceless when you’re far away from home or on your feet for hours, preparation is key. If you just purchased a new pair to take with you, make sure you wear them for a long stretch prior to ensure they’ll feel as good during the fifth hour as they do during the first.

Additionally, use common sense: eschew a pointy-toed stiletto in favor of a dress shoe with a rounded toe, and switch out thin heels for a clog or platform. Choose the best textiles for the weather; a porous material like leather will help your feet breathe, and won’t be adverse to rain like suede.

Always keep practicality in the forefront of your mind when choosing what footwear to pack for nighttime. Travel is all about the unexpected and, if a series of events requires you to be on your feet for longer than you had anticipated, your choice to wear footwear with wobbly heels with delicate strap may haunt you. Therefore, strive to find shoes that have thicker heels, solid treading and a sturdy construction, like many of the options made by Dansko and Taos.

Style with Simple Picks

If your vacation involves jet-setting to a fashionable city, choose chic, simple, shoes with clean lines to go with as many articles of clothing as possible. The end goal is to select a pair that is sophisticated but ultimately very comfortable, such as a cute pair of flats with arch support, like the Women’s SoftWalk Napa. A variety of shoes will effortlessly transport you from the beach to dinner, and then for a long walk afterwards. Whether you opt for black or bright neon orange, select footwear will coordinate with the majority of your wardrobe. With this in mind, it may be wise to have your travel ensembles be similar to one another to make this task easier.

Anticipate Outdoor Adventures

When your vacation plans includes high adrenaline sports, recreational activities and other adventures, take care in selecting the proper footwear. When it comes to hiking boots in particular, there are a myriad of options in sole weight, water resistance and boot height. To ensure that your foot remains blister-free, try on the shoe with the boots unlaced, and move your foot forward inside the hiking boot. If you can’t slip your index finger between your heel and the back of the boot, it’s too small. Furthermore, consider the boot materials: Gore-Tex fabrics may be necessary for wetter, sportier trips that require waterproofing and breathability. For lighter hiking, rafting, or backpacking adventures, choose rugged, supportive sport sandals. For additional tips on selecting your outdoor hiking boots, click here.

Don’t forget to make the packing process as simple as possible: Wear the bulkiest pair of shoes while you travel to save room in your luggage.  Wrap your packed shoes in shoe bags, which will not only allow you to keep your clothing clean, but makes it easy to stuff those awkwardly shaped pairs into the corners of your suitcase. Hopefully these tips help in preparing you for your summer vacation!