Posts Tagged ‘Shoes’

12 days of sporty gifts: Day 3 — OMG, Shoes

December 15, 2010

No matter what sport the athlete on you gift list favors, odds are sneakers are a requirement. 

Running, cross-training, basketball, tennis, soccer, track and field all require a specialty shoe.  The variety is abundant, the styles and colors are daunting, to say the least.  (The Nike website alone has over 300 shoe choices in at least 3 colors each for women alone).

So many choices!

Now, buying a pair of shoes as a holiday gift is a no-no.  Athletes are really particular about their gear, especially the footwear.  We seriously spend hours researching which shoes are best for our sport and our feet, so buying us a pair you think we’ll like is not recommended.  Instead (and yes this may seem impersonal) buy a gift card for a good sport retailer.  (Put it in a shoe box with a bow if you want to make it more personal.)  Nike, Foot Locker, Super Runners Shop, JackRabbit are all good choices.

For runners, I really recommend Super Runners Shop or JackRabbit as they feature those treadmills where they watch you run to determine the best shoe for you.  Another bonus at JackRabbit…when your sneakers wear out, they’ll ship a new pair of the same shoe to you.  No need to go back to the store!

Only 10 shopping days left till Christmas!

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Scratch those Sketchers

August 12, 2010

By now I’m sure you’ve seen and heard about those odd-shaped sneakers that are supposed to help you shape up.  You may even own a pair.  And I don’t blame you if you’ve given into the hype.  The shoes claim to tone your butt, thighs, calves, and abs all “without ever setting foot in a gym”.  They apparently can help you do all that because the shoe is designed to “stimulate walking on sand.”  But do they work?  Surprisingly or rather, unsurprisingly, no.

The American Council on Exercise, a non-profit health and fitness organization that certifies personal trainers, recently tested the popular Sketcher and Reebok toning sneakers.  They used a regular running shoes as a control.  A group of women were then ordered to lace up and spend some time on a treadmill at various speeds and inclines in each of the shoes.  What the researchers found is that the speciality shoes offered no additional benefit over the running shoes.  (Sketchers, naturally, took offense and blasted the study, saying there were other, larger studies that proved the benefits of rocker bottom shoes.)

I doubt, however, that the study will make a dent in Sketcher’s bottom line.  The company earned 40 million dollars during the last quarter, largely due to the sales of its toning sneakers.  And it’s pretty obvious why the shoes are so popular.  People will jump at anything that claims to help them lose weight or get into shape easy.  That’s also why the weight loss industry is expected to bring in 68 billion dollars this year.  68 billion! 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…there’s no magic pill or shoe for weight loss.  You know what’ll work just as well as buying yourself a pair of 100 dollar Sketchers?  Lacing up your old pair of sneakers and exercising more.  Odds are you aren’t walking much if you’re looking for a pair of miracle sneakers to do the job for you.  At the risk of sounding preachy…just get out there and move people!

Summer shoes

May 21, 2010

So an old post of mine about the dangers lurking in your flip flops has been getting a lot of hits lately.  I guess it’s ’cause the weather is heating up and people can’t wait to ditch the boots (I know I can’t!), but I digress.  Considering it’s popularity and the fact that the official start of summer is just a weekend away, I thought I’d re-post it.   By the way…if you’re looking for some new nail polish to brighten up those toes, I suggest the color “Sunshine” from Avon.  Their “Tropical Punch” is also a delicious summer polish.  Get them both here.

Killer Shoes

Bouncing around the web recently and came across this headline “Can Your Flip Flops Kill You?”  What?  Say it ain’t so!  Not my favorite summer-time footwear!  Now before you go and throw out the ten thousand pairs of flip flops currently cluttering the bottom of your closet floor, it turns out you won’t drop dead the next time you slip into that pair of hot pink beach sandals.  (A sensational headline – shocker!)

The story comes via the TODAY show, which commissioned the University of Miami’s emergency mobile flip-flop lab (those things exist?) to test footwear on the streets of New York.  What they found, in a word, is gross.  One pair of toe thongs yielded more than 18 thousand bacteria.  Wait…it gets even more disgusting.  The kinds of germs were bacteria from fecal matter, yeast infections and diaper rash, to name a few.  Makes you think twice about wearing flip-flops the next time you ride the subway, no?  But me, being me, I’m not yet ready to throw my shoes away…so what’s a flip-flop aficionado to do?

Here’s the pro advice (common sense, really): avoid touching your flip-flops and your unwashed feet as much as possible and take off your shoes before walking around the house.  Done and done.

Running Redux

January 29, 2010

There’s yet another story today that highlights the idea of running shoeless.  I expounded on the topic earlier in the week and it’s only fitting that we end the week in the same fashion.

A study being published in the journal Nature says wearing cushioned running shoes (aka most mass market sneakers) may have changed the way we run and also poses a greater risk of certain injuries.

The facts aren’t anything we haven’t already heard in the barefoot vs. sneakers argument.  What is worth noting is that this is the first time I’ve heard of anything negative associated with running shoeless.  

Havard University’s Dr. Daniel Lieberman, one of the study’s authors, says,

“Barefoot runners have to use their calf muscles and Achilles tendon much more to control ankle flexion. So people who switch to this style of running are much more likely to develop calf problems if they don’t do so slowly, carefully and with a lot of stretching.”

And the article goes on to say there still needs to be much more research done on which way is the best way to cover the foot while running.

I couldn’t agree more.

SOURCE: Shoes may have changed how we run

The Joy of Running

January 26, 2010

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a book called “Born to Run” and its emphasis on running barefoot.  That post was based on several reviews and interviews I read, but since reading the book myself I’ve come to realize all those articles missed the point. 

Sure author Christopher MacDougall laments the modern running shoe and advocates a simpler approach to running, but the book isn’t propaganda for barefoot running.  In fact, MacDougall pokes fun at one of his characters who does run shoeless.  The main point of the book, I feel, is the joy running can bring.

If you’ve ever struggled through a mile, you probably think I’m nuts, but hear me out.  You ever have one of those workouts when you get into such a groove that the miles and/or minutes fly by?  When everything that was nagging you both mentally and physically just melts away?  When you’re smiling during the workout?  It’s that feeling and its origin that MacDougall tries to capture in his book. 

I’m not much a runner myself, but I came away with a newfound appreciation for it and a determination to try and enjoy the excercise myself.  If you are a runner or just enjoy reading captivating stories, pick up “Born to Run.”

Puppie Power, Part 2

January 22, 2010

Pitbull sporting sneakers (btw, those puppies light up!)

Last month I posted a story about how people who exercise with their dog(s) see better and more lasting results.  If it’s something you’re thinking of doing or are already doing, read this.  Not only will you laugh at the ancedote about the dog trying to herd his running companion, it”ll make sure you and your four legged companion stay injury free.

Running Barefoot

November 4, 2009

It seems every few years a new fitness craze takes the country by storm. (Remember Tae-Bo?)  This time around, it’s barefoot running.

Christopher McDougall is the author of “Born to Run” and in it, he argues humans are meant to run sans shoes.  (really!)ph8qg3no(2)

He points to the earliest humans (Nike didn’t exist in the time of the cavemen, afterall) and the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyons as proof.  In the case of the Tarahumara, tribe members run hundreds of miles over rocky terrain outfitted only with flimsy sandals made of thin strips of rubber.

McDougall even takes it one step further and says sneakers are to blame for the injuries that plague modern runners.  He says the shoes’ cushioning lead to overtraining and overstriding.  Basically, if you run barefoot, you’re going to be lighter on your feet and won’t push yourself as hard if it starts to get painful.  (A valid point, I think.)

But foot doctors aren’t as convinced and a quick Google News search reveals the podiatric community seems to be split on the issue.

I have to say, the idea intrigues me and McDougall’s evolutionary argument makes sense, but I don’t think I’ll be kicking off the sneaks anytime soon.  We are talking about the streets and sidewalks of New York City, afterall.

If you’re braver than me, here’s some basic advice:

Start out slowly.  Like any new exercise, you want to gradually build up the amount of time you spend doing it.

And please, if you have pre-exisiting foot problems, ask your podiatrist first!

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

September 9, 2009

Now that Labor Day has passed and summer is officially over (boo!), this is a great time of year to stock up on your running and biking necessities.  From sneakers to bike shoes and  cute running outfits to not so cute crocs, you’re sure to be able to find what you need (or want) for a steep discount.  And this doesn’t only apply to brick and mortar stores.  Some of the best deals can be found online.  For example, trisports.com is selling bikes for 35% off.  And if you use this coupon code: TRI25-E, you’ll get 25% off of their triathlon clothes.   Over at Performance Bicycles, they’re in the middle of a summer clearance sale, where most stuff is half off.

But you don’t have to be a tri-athlete to take advantage of the deals.  If you’re an avid spinner, now’s the time to snag a pair of bike shoes.  You’ll notice the difference the first time you clip in and ride.  And if you’re just a regular gym goer, maybe now’s the time to throw out those old and smelly gyms clothes and trade up for something new. 

Happy Shopping!

Killer Shoes

September 3, 2009

65817ebeach-bound-flip-flops-postersBouncing around the web recently and came across this headline “Can Your Flip Flops Kill You?”  What?  Say it ain’t so!  Not my favorite summer-time footwear!  Now before you go and throw out the ten thousand pairs of flip flops currently cluttering the bottom of your closet floor, it turns out you won’t drop dead the next time you slip into that pair of hot pink beach sandals.  (A sensational headline – shocker!)

The story comes via the TODAY show, which commissioned the University of Miami’s emergency mobile flip-flop lab (those things exist?) to test footwear on the streets of New York.  What they found, in a word, is gross.  One pair of toe thongs yielded more than 18 thousand bacteria.  Wait…it gets even more disgusting.  The kinds of germs were bacteria from fecal matter, yeast infections and diaper rash, to name a few.  Makes you think twice about wearing flip-flops the next time you ride the subway, no?  But me, being me, I’m not yet ready to throw my shoes away…so what’s a flip-flop aficionado to do?

Here’s the pro advice (common sense, really): avoid touching your flip-flops and your unwashed feet as much as possible and take off your shoes before walking around the house.  Done and done.