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A Day Dedicated to Shoes

According to DSW, Oct. 25 is National Shoe Lover’s Day. And I’m instantly in absolute bliss. A day dedicated to shoes?! Where to begin, how to celebrate, which shoes to celebrate in???? In honor of the day, I’d like to list why it is I love shoes so much:

  • They protect my feet from foreign and terrible objects (aka rocks, thorns, legos…).
  • Shoes make or break an outfit. The right pair screams amazing, but the wrong pair demonstrates lack of pride in one’s appearance.
  • EVERYONE notices shoes. People are always commenting on shoes, whether it’s awesome gym kicks or fabulous high heels.
  • There’s so many styles to choose from, you can’t possibly get bored or say they aren’t interesting.
  • They take me places (runs, walks, basketball gyms, the clubs, a fancy dinner, etc.).
  • There’s a shoe for every occasion. Go ahead, try to name an occasion there isn’t a shoe for (and the beach and swimming don’t count because there are tons of beach and water shoes out there).
  • Specifically, running shoes are so dang comfy these days.
  • And heels, even though not comfy, are so darling, how can you resist?
  • Don’t lie, you know when you put on your favorite Nike’s that you feel like you’re worth a million bucks.
  • More to that point, they have attitude. Slippers says, relax, sit back and rest. Power pumps help your raise argument.

There are just so many more reasons to love shoes. So on this day, National Shoe Lover’s Day, let’s all just take a minute to say, I love my shoes!

Until next time, shoe lovers!

 

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I had this interesting thought today: why is it that women always seem to have the obsession with shoes (and accessories in general, but that’s a whole other beast)? Why is it when we start talking shoes, guys roll their eyes like we’re crazy? Further, do men have the same addiction to shoes, not just ATVs and motorcycles? And then this thought struck me: is it this way because society makes it so?

Our perceptions and behaviors are shaped by society around us and certain expectations that have been set in place. Whether these are old-school social tendencies that were set in place years ago when certain events hadn’t occurred yet (think women’s suffrage here), or they are new ones set in place in the past five years, certain behaviors are often shaped by what we’re told by others. (Where these “others” get their ideas is also a completely different discussion, one best left to someone other than a lowly shoe addict.)

Now, maybe this is too deep a subject to apply to something as small as shoes. But I don’t think so. I’d be interested to know: for the guys out there, who has a shoe addiction? What kind of shoes? What do you love about them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time, shoe lovers!

Good Shoe Marketing

It’s always interesting to see what good marketing can do: convince people that certain diets are the best, tell the masses what music to listen to or what products to buy. The same goes for shoes. Remember when the toner shoes were at the height of their popularity? The companies that sold them were making millions convincing people (mostly women) that they would get nice legs and a nice butt just from wearing those shoes. Unfortunately, many wearers suffered injuries, and some companies became the victims of lawsuits. All because of “good marketing”.

Another case in point: barefoot shoes. This situation was a little bit different in that there wasn’t quite as much damage done by these shoes. There is a time and place for them (in my opinion). There is also a certain stride for them (topic for a different day). But when I was selling shoes, I still saw the negative effects of the marketing campaigns surrounding these shoes. Some customers had pulled muscles; one even had suffered a stress fracture. Granted, just like the case with the toners, often the wearer was just as much to blame as the shoe itself.

And finally, there is this new shoe out there called the crossfit trainer. Ah yes, companies are once again capitalizing on the height of a popular method of exercise. Toners were geared toward women who were too busy to work out; barefoots were geared toward extreme runners; and crossfit shoes are geared toward, you guessed it, crossfitters.

I polled my Facebook friends recently to see what the hype was about. Are they any different than regular cross trainers/gym shoes? The overall verdict? Not really. So why do people spend money on them? Because ads and marketing tell them to. Sure, all of these shoes have great ideas behind them; they have their place when worn correctly. But when all is said and done, who is the deciding factor when you purchase your kicks? That’s food for thought next time you’re shoe shopping.

Until next time, shoe lovers!

Daniel Glass, runner extraordinaire, joins us to talk the Brooks Defyance. Read all about it below as Glass discusses the properties that make it unique, as well as the characteristics that could be the perfect match in a running shoe for you.

brooks-defyance

The Brooks Defyance is an ideal fit for all types of runners.

There is a shoe out there that is not what it should be.  It is neutral but controls moderate amounts of over-pronation better than a lot of mid-stability shoes. It also works for people who are truly neutral or supinate. This has become a “go-to” for fitting at our store (Boulder Running Company in Littleton). It is built on the same last and platform as the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13, yet lacks the dual-density/triple-density medial foam (also known as the Progressive Diagonal Roll Bar or PDRB).

The fit of it is terrific. It has a high arch that extends back to the heel recess. It cups both high and low arches. It has pockets of Brook’s Adaptive DNA substance in the heel and forefoot for the extra cushion between you and the ground. What makes it so stable though? It is the piece between the heel and the forefoot on the outsole. It is a solid plastic component that is designed to prevent torsional twisting, yet controls moderate overpronation in the process. This shoe is durable, flexible and weighs in on the lighter side (11 oz. men’s size 9.0 U.S., 9.2 oz. women’s size 7).

So what do you think shoe lovers? I say it’s worth your time to go try it on at least…

Importance of Information

Brooks Pure Cadence

Trying to find the right pair of running shoes starts with an information exchange.

You’re at the running shoe store. You’re looking at the seemingly endless rows of shoes, all in different brands, colors, styles. Trying to decipher which one is best for you is like trying to figure out Quantum physics. Ok, maybe that’s extreme. But if you are just starting out and have no idea which shoe “fits”, it can be tough.

Take a deep breath. There are a few things that can help! First, there should be an associate there to help you, asking all the right questions to get you into the perfect pair. If they aren’t, ask for someone. Assuming there is, he or she will probably ask you a series of questions, and it’s very important that you know how to answer them.

Pay attention to how your shoes wear out; that info is helpful. More wear on the outside or inside of the sole of a shoe can shed light on what kind of stride you are prone to. (While this isn’t always the best way to determine stride, it is one place to start. And trust me, types of stride is a whole ‘nother topic to save for a different day.)

Also pay attention to what’s painful or comfortable about the shoes you wear. Do they pinch your toes? Feel too slim? Rub your Achilles? Leave blisters anywhere? Feel like heavenly memory foam? These are questions you will most likely get asked, so having some idea of answers ahead of time is helpful.

Set some goals. How far do you plan on running? Pavement or trail? Are you training for a race? Again, thinking about this only helps ensure you get a great pair of sneaks.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. Ask for brand reviews. Ask which hold up the best or which seem to have a wider toe box. Ask which can help you improve your stride. (Again, a topic for another day!) The more information exchanged, the better.

This is just the topping, the beginning. There’s a whole world filled with running shoes out there. Don’t be afraid to explore it!

Until next time, shoe lovers!

fix-broken-shoes

My attempt at fixing my broken flip-flops.

I was simply sitting at my computer, minding my own business and working on some stuff for next week, when all of the sudden I felt a freeing breeze through my feet that was very odd. I knew what was going on but didn’t want to believe it. So I looked down, and there it was, my worst nightmare come true: the strap on my glittery gold dress-up flip flops had completely broken free from the base.

The first thing that went through my mind: NOOOOO, these are my FAVORITE dressy flip-flops! I was heartbroken. That thought was followed very closely by, What the heck am I supposed to wear for shoes all day?

On the very good advice of a friend, I employed my rarely-used stapler (in a world dominated by technology, who uses a stapler on a regular basis?) and MacGyver’d a fix that can limp them through the day…I hope. Right now, I’m barefoot, but if I have to get up to use the bathroom…it could be disastrous.

My only other saving grace is the fact that I have my running shoes here, so if worse comes to absolute worse, I’ll wear them. I mean, who doesn’t think that wearing beaten up running shoes in an office wearing your nice work skirt and shirt isn’t hot?

The only thought that is lingering in my head is this: I will have to throw them out. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. For someone like me, that’s like throwing out your most precious jewelry or a treasured family heirloom.

What’s your worst shoe nightmare?

Until next time, shoe lovers!

Brooks Pure Cadence

When I put on my running shoes, I feel like I could run for miles.

Can shoes alter one’s personality? I would very heavily argue yes. Ok, it’s not like you can put on a pair of knee-high gold-lined boots and suddenly become Wonder Woman or wear some black leather combats and suddenly you’re Batman.

What I’m saying is that certain pairs of shoes can feel empowering. For example, I bought a pair of motorcycle boots this weekend. (I donated six pairs to Goodwill last weekend, therefore I was granted permission to get a new pair for those of you wondering why my husband allowed that.) When I wear them, I feel pretty badass. I feel like I could drive a motorcycle, kick butt in a bar brawl and street dance with the best talent out there.

But anyone who knows me knows full well that I don’t have a motorcycle license, I have skinny little chicken arms that couldn’t knock out an elderly woman, and I certainly can’t dance, at least not well. I kind of wriggle around and pretend I can dance; usually I’ve had some liquid courage at that point.

This happens to me a lot. When I don my running shoes, I feel like a marathoner, even though recently I can hardly run 2.5 miles. When I put on my cowgirl boots, I want to swing dance and ride a horse. My point is that sometimes specialty shoes can encourage confidence and help uncover hidden passions. Not every shoe is capable of this (I’m thinking your worn-out work tennis shoes that you mow the lawn in…but you never know).

Seriously think about it the next time you slip on your favs; why are they your favorite, what do they inspire in you, how do you feel when you wear them? Who knows, maybe your boots will inspire you to fly the Invisible Airplane.

Until next time, shoe lovers.

black-white-shoes

Black and white shoes create an easy canvas for personalization.

I read this interesting article published a year ago in the magazine I work for. It was about creating custom kicks. Of course, I’m drawn to anything about shoes, but this particular article intrigued me for a couple reasons: one, creating customized footwear is something you typically associate Nike (and a high price tag) with. Two, I seriously want to create my own shoes.

I think it goes without saying that a lot of people want custom shoes, but the reason we don’t get them is it’s very expensive. I get that. It’s a lot of extra time, man-power and material to create just one special pair of shoes. But the concept of the article is that you already have your run-of-the-mill shoe, you just add your own flair after you’ve bought them.

It’s concept I’ve wanted to do for a while, but since my husband has enacted a strict shoe budget (which mean’s fewer pairs and fewer materials to decorate them with) I’ve been unable to do much. Would it be crazy to invest all of our savings into a shoe decorating business?

But seriously, it’s really fun to get creative. So, if you want a pair of shoes that is your personality down to a T but don’t want to spend then money, do it yourself. Hobby Lobby has great coupons you can print and you can design a pair you already have to meet your needs.

Oh, here’s the article I was talking about for a little inspiration! http://printwearmag.com/article/heat-transfer-sublimation/custom-kicks

Until next time, shoe lovers!

Resisting the Urge to Buy Shoes

polka-dot-heels

I just had to say no to these adorable polka dotted shoes.

I did it. Over the Christmas/New Year’s Eve break I resisted the urge to buy a new pair of shoes. I had some support from a friend, but I think all addicts have to start somewhere.

I was in Forever 21 shopping with said friend. She was looking for a New Year’s outfit, I was along for support. Or so I thought. I saw them from across the store: pink platform heels with black polka dots. If you follow me on Pinterest, you will know that I have been OBSESSING over polka dots lately. So naturally I had to have them.

But I also knew we were about to go snowboarding and we just spent all our money on Christmas. So I carried them around with me for a bit. I even texted a picture to my husband to gauge what he would say if I did buy them. The response was less than enthused. And my shopping buddy warned that he would never let me hang out with her again if I came home with shoes.

So I sighed and put them back, and walked slowly away, facing them the whole time. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. But it was a big accomplishment and I’m really proud at the steps I’ve been taking! So remember, when you can’t walk away from a pair of shoes, dig deep, get some help and move on.

Until next time, shoe lovers!

Welcome again to Matt Duncan, Mizuno shoe guru. This week, Matt shares what’s so good about the new Wave Rider, a neutral shoe for the neutral runner.

The Wave Rider 16 is great for the neutral runner.

The Wave Rider 16 is great for the neutral runner.

Mizuno has produced the new Wave Rider 16! Weighing in at an astonishing 9.9 ounces, your first thought would be that this shoe is a light weight trainer. You would be wrong! Although it is one of the lightest shoes in its class as an everyday trainer, it does not sacrifice durability or comfort. With a foam midsole that is designed to last 600+ miles and Mizuno’s patented wave plate (yes, you can actually see the patent number on the bottom of the shoe), you can expect your runs to feel fast and the stress on your joints to be less noticeable.  

So, you may be asking yourself, how can a shoe like this last so long, be so light and still be so protective? The answer is that Mizuno has developed their own proprietary foam for longevity and they are using a beautiful light, extremely strong, recycled upper mesh to cover your pretty feet. The result is a shoe that is lighter, longer lasting and better for your body to run in. Give them  a try!

On a side note, I have a pair of Wave Riders. As someone who needs stability, I don’t run in them, but I will say this: they are very comfortable and well worth the buy.

Until next time, shoe lovers!