Archive for May, 2010

Cork – What’s It All About?

What is Cork?

Corkboards, cork bottle stoppers, cork footbeds.
We’re all familiar with these items, but what do we really know about cork?

I haven’t seen a corkboard in years. Cork stoppers in wine bottles are giving way to twist-tops and artifical stoppers. But Birkenstock cork footbeds are still the same as they always have been. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Cork is a renewable resource, so harvesting cork doesn’t destroy forests. Better than that, Birkenstock uses by-products of the wine industry. I guess that makes using cork a good thing. But where does cork come from?

The Cork Oak is a medium-sized, evergreen oak tree and is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. The tree has a thick, insulating bark that may have been the Cork Oak’s evolutionary answer to forest fires. The tree forms a thick, rugged bark which can develop to a considerable thickness and can be harvested every 9 to 12 years to produce cork. The harvesting of cork does not harm the tree, in fact, no trees are cut down during the harvesting process. Only the bark is extracted, and a new layer of cork regrows, making it a renewable resource.

Today every part of the cork harvest is put to use. Leftovers from the bottle cork stamping process are ground down in various sizes and then sorted by quality. Birkenstock ground cork comes from the first quality by-products of the wine industry. The cork-latex mixture (the main component of the Birkenstock footbed) is made in small batches to minimize any waste. Any excess is recycled.

Birkenstock is still using both natural cork and natural latex in their footbeds as they have since the very beginning. It’s good to see something like this that has been working so well for so long. The cork-latex mixture is a wonderful combination that adapts to the individual wearer, molding to the feet over a short period of time. The cork-latex footbed feels good much like that old pair of jeans feels good.

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Regards,

Dave

Jane’s Picks – Birkenstock Waikiki

Waikiki – Just saying the word makes you think of sunshine and splashing in water. Say “Hello” to summer with Birkenstock’s cool water sandal. Sure beats those old flip-flops. And don’t forget, you’ll save 25% this week.

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Hammer Toes Ain’t Pretty

Hammer Toes Ain't Pretty

Summertime is coming and the last thing you want is to have bent up hammer toes sticking out of those cool new sandals from Happy Feet Plus. If you want your feet to look as great as those new sandals read on.

What if you have been wearing shoes that are too tight either in width or length? One outcome could be hammer toes. Sometimes hammer toes are an inherited (thanks mom and dad) or are the result of earlier trauma. But most often result from wearing ill-fitting shoes.

If you recognize early enough that you are developing hammer toes and you begin wearing properly fitting footwear (from Happy Feet Plus, of course) you can stop, or at least slow, the progression of the ailment. Early recognition and correction is important. If you continue to wear ill-fitting shoes not only will your feet turn ugly but you’ll most likely develop bunions, corns and calluses.

There is hope. Treatment begins when you decide to stop wearing those high heel pointy-toe shoes. Instead look for shoes that have a soft roomy toe box. Manufacturers such as Birkenstock, Finn Comfort, Birki’s, Alpro, Footprints, Tatami, Papillio produce a wide selection of footwear that will help alleviate hammer toes. Footwear from these manufacturers typically have wide toe boxes and exceptional arch support.

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Regards,

Dave

Jane’s Picks – Papillio Chateau Black Sandals

Chateau Black is one of Papillio’s new fun patterns for spring. Take this opportunity to get 25% off on three great sandal styles – the Florida, Sydney and Tabora – all in Chateau Black.

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3 Arches of the Foot

As promised here’s some info about the three arches of your foot.

Most of this information is taken from content that can be found at happyfeet.com/3-arches.aspx.

The bones provide the framework around which the ligaments, tendons and muscles form the supporting structure of the foot.

Medial Arch

The largest longitudinal arch is the Medial Arch. It is located on the inside of the foot and is typically described as “Flat”, “Normal” or “High” (see last week’s blog for more information).

Lateral Arch

The Lateral Arch is the smaller of the two longitudinal arches and is found on the outside part of the sole.

Metatarsal Arch

The Metatarsal Arch is the primary transverse arch. This arch created by the Metatarsals is not as obvious as the large Medial Arch, but without support it too can cause painful injuries such as Metatarsalgia.

Footwear with good arch support, especially in the Medial and Metatarsal Arches, can help people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis or Metatarsalgia.

Wearing supportive footwear can also help prevent foot ailments. Finn Comfort and Birkenstock footbeds provide excellent Medial, Lateral and Metatarsal Arch support.

Supportive footwear like Birkenstock or Finn Comfort also have desired features like a wide toebox and a broad, stable sole which can help people suffering from Morton’s Neuroma, Hammer Toes, or Bunions.

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Regards,

Dave

Jane’s Picks – Papillio Sydney Soft Footbed Birko-Flor Sandals

Another great Jane’s Picks selection this week at 25% off.

Who knows that Papillio is a Birkenstock brand? Sure is and we’ve got three great patterns on sale this week. These are from Papillio’s Spring/Summer offering. Hurry, once they’re gone they’re gone!

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Do You Know Your Arch Type?

What's Your Arch Type Do you know whether you have a high arch or flat feet?

Everyone knows that to get a proper fit you need footwear of the right length and width for your feet. That’s pretty much a “duh” statement. But did you know that it’s just as important to get footwear with the right arch support for your specific foot type? To get the proper support to align your body you need good arch support like you will find in footwear from Birkenstock, Birki’s, Alpro, Footprints, Tatami, Papillio, and Finn Comfort.

Here’s some guidance on determining your Arch Type.

The medial arch is the largest of the foot’s arches. It runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. This is the arch that is most commonly thought of when a discussion about foot arches comes up in conversation. (I know, it’s not your everyday table talk topic, but bear with me.)

There are three basic types of medial arches – Flat, Normal and High.

Three Arch Types

To identify your type of arch, perform the “wet test” as described below and compare your results with the images to the right.

Wet Test Procedure

  1. While seated remove shoes and socks and place construction paper or paper bag on the floor.
  2. Place either foot in water.
  3. While still seated, place your damp foot on the paper; exert pressure to simulate standing.
  4. Do not stand or walk while your feet are wet.
  5. Remove your foot from the paper and dry completely.
  6. Repeat the process with your other foot.
  7. Compare the image(s) on the paper to the ones on this page to determine your arch type.

Now that you know your arch type how do you use that information to buy the right shoe, sandal or clog? Talk with your footwear professionals, such as your local Happy Feet Plus store or with our online footwear professionals via live chat at www.happyfeet.com or by calling 1-800-336-6657. Describe your arch type and any other foot issues and our footwear professionals can help identify brands and styles most appropriate for your needs.

Next time I’ll talk a bit more about the three arches of the foot. Stay tuned.

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Regards,

Dave

Jane’s Picks – Birki’s Sylt Mini-Points Sandals

Birki’s calls them Mini-Points. I call them super cute! Imagine how great these would look with your favorite sundress. Perfect for picnics or summer dinner parties and they’re only $67.49 this week. Available in black or red.

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