Bond with Your Terrain Using Barefoot Technology from Merrell and New Balance

There’s a new trend in footwear: less is more! Manufacturers are just beginning to follow the lead of Vibram FiveFingers, which emulate the effects of barefoot walking/running yet protect the soles of your feet. Merrell and New Balance have both come out with fantastic new lines of shoes subscribing to the philosophy of “connecting” you to the terrain and providing the benefits of walking and running barefoot, yet protecting your feet from rocks and other potentially painful materials.

These collections may be minimalist in terms of padding, weight, and allowing your foot to move as if it had no shoe on at all, yet they are stylish and provide excellent traction and protection for the soles of your feet. The durable Vibram sole helps you resist slipping, but is also flexibile. These are not overcushioned, overbuilt shoes; they provide you with the ability to run off your arches, and land on your whole foot – thus diffusing the impact as you run. You’ll use muscles in the way nature intended, and will notice that your feet and leg muscles will become stronger.

Merrell’s Barefoot Collection has a variety of styles for men and women that are attractive enough to wear anywhere! I particularly like the Mary Jane-styled Barefoot Pure Glove in Lavender. I would have no qualms wearing it shopping, or even for a walk in the woods. They really let me feel in touch with the terrain, while protecting the soles of my feet. It’s an incredibly comfortable shoe.

Men have a variety of choices as well. A great shoe for everyday wear as well as running is the Barefoot Tough Glove in black. The laces secure the shoe to your foot, yet do not undermine the minimalist feel of the shoe. There have been numerous reports from runners as to how good this shoe feels when they run! And it transitions well for everyday activities too.

New Balance’s Minimus Collection is New Balance’s entry into the barefoot running shoe market. These shoes also allow you to feel the terrain, and are marvelous for trail running as well as casual wear. The Vibram outsole protects the soles of your feet, while the synthetic mesh upper provides lightweight support and comfort. Designed to be worn with or without socks, the Minimus is great for neutral runners as well as those with chronic injuries or gait issues. I particularly like the WT10GG in gray.

Note that an adjustment to Barefoot Technology can take time; using conventional shoes with their cushioning and stabilizing mechanisms may actually have weakened your muscles. You may need weeks or even months to get used to this technology, so start out gradually. As running shoes, these collections stimulate muscles, allows your feet to find their natural landing pad, and helps you attain a more efficient stride.

The Merrell Barefoot Collection and the New Balance Minimus Collection give you give you all the benefits of walking/running barefoot, in some stylish and incredibly comfortable shoes. Give them a try, and experience Barefoot Technology at its best!

The Most Unique Footwear Ever: Vibram FiveFingers Shoes!

Ever want a shoe that fits like a glove? Now you can have one – the Vibram FiveFingers shoes. These are by far the most unique-looking shoes I’ve ever seen, and I was anxious to try them out!

These are the only shoes you’ll find where each of your toes fits into its own “finger,” like the fingers on a glove. Why is this important? This allows your toes to move more naturally. It also helps to strengthen muscles in your feet and legs. The heel is not raised; rather, it’s lowered so that your body weight is distributed evenly across the shoe and therefore encourages spinal alignment and proper posture. All of these factors together help to improve balance and agility. You get all the benefits of walking barefoot, with the protection of a shoe.

 Vibram FiveFingers makes shoes for a variety of activities, such as:

The KSO- a great general-purpose fitness shoe. The patented Vibram sole is slip resistant, and razor siped for extra flexibility. (The Vibram sole material extends up over the ends of the toes, adding protection.) This is a fine shoe to wear for running, water sports, yoga, and even light hiking. The upper is a thin, breathable and abrasion resistant polyamide fabric that stretches to conform to your foot shape. The antimicrobial microfiber insole adds a little bit of cushioning. I can easily see myself wearing these to go rafting, or boating, or for a short trail hike. And it’s machine washable!

The Komodosport– the ultimate shoe for the serious fitness enthusiast.  Take the KSO and ramp it up with functional improvements to get this shoe designed with the athlete in mind. The durable 4mm Vibram outsole makes this shoe perfect for running and cross training. The footbed is stitch-free and seamless to ensure as little friction as possible. You can get a custom fit by using the hook and loop closures over the top of the foot and around the heel. Machine washable like the KSO, it’s a rugged shoe that you can feel great about as you train.

The Performa Jane – women have a great option to wear for indoor activities. The Performa Jane was designed specifically for indoor fitness activities, yoga, and pilates. You get all the great benefits of all the Five Fingers shoes with added flexibility in the sole plus a Kangaroo Leather upper. You can customize your fit with the hook and loop closure over the top of the foot. You also get maximum feel of the exercise surface along with a slip-resistant sole. Just note that this shoe is not designed for extended outdoor wear.

If you love walking barefoot, you’ll really love the Vibram FiveFingers collection. Protect your feet while strengthening the muscles in your feet and legs. Just be sure to wear them just a few hours at a time at first; since you’re probably not used to using these muscles, you’ll need to strengthen them gradually. But in the long run, it’s worth the wait!

Custom Shoes Without the Custom Price!

Little did I know that you can actually have customized shoes at affordable prices. How is it possible? Aetrex found a way!

Aetrex has come up with a fascinating new technology called Mozaic Customization. It allows you to modify all Aetrex footwear so that you can relieve any pressure points on your feet and provide for an equal distribution of pressure as you walk.

How does it work? First, you identify the pressure points on your feet. (You can do this by noticing particular areas of pressure as you stand. Another way is if you have access to a store that has a machine that can do this for you, the machine can map out those areas.)  Next, find those areas on the insole that correspond to your pressure points and remove the little squares there. Finally, put the modified insole back into your shoe. You’ll notice an immediate difference in how your weight distributes throughout your feet, and how the pressure areas are relieved!

I love how you can get this custom fit on a wide variety of types of shoes. Aetrex makes athletic walking and running shoes, casual everyday shoes, and dressy shoes for both men and women!

Love to run? Try the Aetrex Women’s Voyage Runner V557. Not only does it have the Mozaic Customization system to relieve pressure, it also contains a molded, external heel counter for extra rearfoot control. The Carboplast footbridge provides motion control and stability, and the mesh upper keeps your feet cool and dry. This shoe even helps you avoid overpronation! I’m looking forward to taking these out for a run through the local park!

 The Aetrex Men’s Ariya is a beautiful, dressy shoe that you can wear to work, out on the town, or even with casual wear. The soft, luxurious leather upper is beautiful and comfortable, and the polyurethane outsole provides superb shock absorption. And as always, you can customize the shoe with the Mozaic Customization system to relieve pressure. Your feet will be happy all day long with these shoes!

Here’s a slip-on shoe for women that’s stylish and provides outstanding support: the Aetrex Essence Slip-on E240. The black patent leather version is especially elegant and versatile. And as always, it utilizes the Mozaic Customization system and the polyurethane outsole provides outstanding shock absorption. Your feet will be cool and dry because of the polyester and leather linings. Beautiful shoe for casual or dressy occasions!

So who needs to pay outrageous prices for customized shoes? Try out the Mozaic Customization in all Aetrex shoes. There’s a fit just for you!

The Ultimate in Luxurious Walking Shoes: Finn Comfort!

All too frequently I hear people say that they don’t WANT a walking shoe that looks like an athletic shoe, they want a walking shoe that they could wear to work, or out on the town, or anywhere! They want shoes that look nice, but would be perfect for travel and sightseeing. Such shoes do exist, and they are made by Finn Comfort.

Finn Comfort shoes provide outstanding orthopedic support, and are made from the finest materials available. Handcrafted in Bavaria, these shoes are specifically designed as luxury walking shoes for the sophisticated consumer. They are also specifically suited for orthotics. The comfort and support that these shoes offer is unparalleled. I’m anxious to take these on vacation! Some of my favorite designs are:

The Phuket, in Chili Selena leather. Gorgeous thong-style with an orthopedic firm footbed produces an incredible shoe for the summer. The hook and loop strap ensures a secure fit, the leather lining is soft and comfortable, and the PU outsole absorbs shock and reduces joint and muscle fatigue. All this in a handcrafted shoe…what a way to pamper your feet!

The Stanford, in Black Napa leather, is a beautiful slide with Mary Jane details. There is a hook and loop strap over the top of the foot to ensure a custom fit, and the footbed cradles your heel, provides arch support, and is hand washable! The polyurethane outsole provides great shock absorption and lets you feel like you can walk forever! Stylish, comfortable, and easy to wear!

The most comfortable shoe I have ever tried on, hands down, is the Tofino. I particularly like the Cigar Sprite leather version. It has phenomenal support, softness, shock absorption, and it fit my foot beautifully. I can wear this with dressy slacks or casual clothes, and can walk for miles in these shoes with comfort. I like the soft leather upper, and love the fact that the footbed is hand washable (as it is in all Finn Comfort shoes). This is truly a classic shoe that you can get a lot of wear out of, for many situations.

Finn Comfort excels in making your feet feel like they’re in the lap of luxury as you walk. Try out some classic elegance today!

For a Spa Experience at Home, try Gilden Tree Products!

Sometimes we all need to be pampered. But why go out to a spa to treat yourself nicely when you can do it for less at home, with high-quality ingredients (many of which are organic)? Gilden Tree products make it easy to spoil yourself and make your skin feel so much better! Here are just a few:

Gilden Tree’s Footscrubberis actually made from terra cotta and acts like a pumice stone that doesn’t wear out! It’s two-sided; one side is for exfoliating dry skin, and the other side is for polishing and smoothing the skin. It’s best used with a few drops of liquid soap.  This fantastic product is made by a group of women in Pakistan, and it’s been so successful and popular that Gilden Tree has actually given back to that community by putting the children (and later the women themselves) through school. What a wonderful way to support the makers of the Footscrubber!

Need a really good moisturizer for your feet? Try Gilden Tree’s Healing Foot Cream. Gluten free, safe for Diabetics and those with Celiac disease, this cream does a phenomenal job of helping dry, cracked skin to heal. It’s made with aloe vera, jojoba oil, and shea butter for a rich, luxurious product that soaks into the skin. You’ll love how it can help repair and soften your skin.

Sometimes at the end of a hard day, it’s nice to just soak your feet. Gilden Tree makes Revitalizing Foot Soak Crystals that helps draw out toxins and soothes dry skin. Using 1 Tbsp. Revitalizing Foot Soak Crystals to a basin of warm water can make a huge difference to your skin!  Soak your feet in this solution for 10-15 minutes to maximize the properties of the crystals’ Epsom salts, sea salt, and shea butter. Moisturize as you soak!

Gilden Tree products have been recommended in O, the Oprah Magazine for their high quality, and the excellent results they produce. So check out Gilden Tree products for the ultimate home spa experience. Your skin and your wallet will thank you!