Posts Tagged ‘sandals’

Socks and Sandals Can Be Cool

Happy Feet Plus - Socks with Sandals

Well, we’re back.

It’s been quite a hiatus, but we’re ready to get back to blogging about foot and shoe stuff.

To ease back into the saddle we thought we’d share a video we came across while channel surfing the other day. Take a look. And smile.

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Jane’s Picks – Birki’s Haiti Sandals

Are you planning a cruise or Caribbean vacation? Get your Birki’s Haiti’s now. They’re water-friendly, colorful and they feature the exceptional Birki’s footbed. All Birki’s Haiti’s are 25% off, but only this week.

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Janes Picks – Arizona Hunter Brown Soft Footbed

Although the weather outside is getting cooler, it’s warm enough inside to still wear your Birkenstock sandals. This week I’ve selected Birkenstock’s Hunter Leather Arizona with a soft footbed. Top quality leather, super soft footbed, and 25% off. Get yours now before the holiday rush.

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Read The Label

Happy Feet Plus - Reading Your Birkenstock Label


We occasionally get calls from customers who don’t understand the Birkenstock box and footbed labeling. Here’s a short tutorial that should clear up most of your questions.

All Birkenstock brands (Birkenstock, Alpro, Birki’s, Footprints, Papillio, and Tatami) use similar labeling.

The important elements on the BOX LABELS include:

  • Width Footprint (A)
  • Sizes in Euro, Metric, and U.S. (B)
  • Item Number – including width reference (C)
  • Other Info – product image; product name; upper material and color; footbed liner material, footbed material, upper material, sole material

Likewise, all Birkenstock brand FOOTBEDS carry very similar markings:

  • Width Footprint (A)
  • Sizes in Euro, Metric, and U.S. (B)
  • Manufacturing Run Sequence (D)

OK, let’s take them one at a time.

The Width Footprint may display one of three images:

  • Regular (A1)
  • Medium (A2)
  • Narrow (A3)

All item numbers (on the box labels) end in either a 1, 2, or 3. Items ending in “1″ are regular width. Items that end in “2″ are medium width, and those that end in “3″ are narrow width.

The sizing information (B) provides length references. The top number represents the Euro size. Euro sizing does not differentiate between men’s and women’s – a size 42 is a size 42 whether it is a men’s style, a women’s style, or a unisex style.

The middle number is the metric measure. It is an absolute measurement in millimeters. Typically this measure is from the back edge of the heel cup to the front edge of the footbed “lip”.

The bottom number(s) is the U.S. sizing. Normally it will list the ladies size equivalent (L) and the men’s size equivalent (M). In the smallest and largest sizes only a ladies or men’s size may be shown.

Finally, many but not all footbeds will have a manufacturing run sequence number (D). This has nothing to do with size. It is a sequential number used during manufacturing to keep left and right shoes matched up. This number ensures that the carefully selected matched leather for left and right shoes is kept together.

Hopefully this will help you get the right fit whether you’re buying for the first time or the hundredth time.

Great footwear at great prices. What a great deal! Stop by a Happy Feet Plus store near you and save.

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Looking Dull and Dry?

Happy Feet Plus - Cool Weather Squeeze


Last weekend I did a clean up on my Birkenstock Arizona sandals. Part of the process was giving the exposed cork a healthy dose of Cork Life. It was apparent that I had exposed the Arizonas to a bit too much water. The cork was dull and dry. They really needed the Cork Life to seal and protect against further damage.

Proper maintenance of the cork will help you get the maximum life out of any sandal or clog. So, how do you know if you need to add a coat of Cork Life? Here’s a picture of a sandal that needed Cork Life a long time ago. Notice how the cork appears dried out and pieces have broken off. Also, the suede footbed has separated from the cork. The only course of action in this case is to replace the footbed and sole. A $5.99 bottle of Cork Life is a lot less expensive that $65.00 refurbishment.

Happy Feet Plus - Cool Weather Squeeze
Happy Feet Plus - Cool Weather Squeeze

As a side-to-side comparison, here are two sandals in differing states of need. The one on the left recently had a new coat of Cork Life applied to it. The sandal on the right is begging for a recoating – notice the dull appearance of the cork. You should apply Cork Life once a month or so, or when the cork looks dull.

In ten minutes you can wipe down the cork and add a healthy coat of Cork Life. With proper maintenance you Birkenstock footwear will last a good long time.

Great footwear at great prices. What a great deal! Stop by a Happy Feet Plus store near you and save.

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Are You Pregnant and Do Your Feet Hurt 2?

Happy Feet Plus - Are You Pregnant and Do Your Feet Hurt?

As you might guess, my perspective on footwear is biased. Happy Feet Plus sells footwear that emphasizes health and comfort. I look for information that reinforces our opinions on “proper footwear” when I write these blogs. In all of the research I did, as in-exhaustive as it might be, I never saw that anyone recommend that pregnant women should wear pointy-toed high heeled shoes or flip-flops. Instead, the consistent theme is flat or low-heeled shoes with a wide toe box and good support. Hey, that’s what we believe too!

So, what’s the connection to Edema? While wearing good footwear is important any time, it is especially important when you are pregnant. The added weight and altered center of gravity (see Are You Pregnant and Do Your Feet Hurt?) as well as the fluid retention create changes to a woman’s body that require a solid, stable base. Here’s where good footwear comes in.

As early as the second trimester you may find your shoes fitting a little bit tighter. They’re only going to get tighter so you might as well plan on getting new shoes. The swelling is usually caused by the increase in blood volume needed to transport oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Increasing levels of hormones also change blood vessels, joints, ligaments, and, well, your whole body. No wonder you feel swollen and bloated.

Gravity is largely responsible for fluid retention to be more pronounced in your feet, ankles, and calves. Your growing uterus also puts pressure on the veins that carry blood back from your lower body. Blood flow back from your feet is restricted and fluids stay in your feet and legs. Increases in foot size should be expected, but one foot should not swell more than another. If you do find this happening, see your doctor.

Until you give birth you’re going to have to live with Edema in your feet, but there are things you can do to minimize the impact:

  • Have your feet measured several times throughout your pregnancy and wear the correct shoe size for your foot.
  • Elevate your feet as often as possible. Use a small stool at work while seated at your desk.
  • Wear seamless socks that do not constrict circulation or wear surgical stockings — with advice from your doctor.
  • Keep active, but see your doctor before starting an exercise program. Walking is usually recommended. Try lying on your back and simulating riding a bike. This will exercise the muscles in the leg and reduce swelling.vDo not stand for long periods of time. Walking gets your calf muscles working, which helps pump some of the extra fluid out of your legs and feet.
  • Take a bath or go swimming; the water puts an outside force on the swelling and helps to decrease it.
  • If you are driving for a long period of time, take regular breaks to stretch your.
  • Sleep on your side, not your back. This relieves pressure on the vena cava, the largest vein leading to the heart. Otherwise, the pressure slows the blood returning from your lower body.
  • Consider reflexology to help decrease the swelling (or buy our exclusive Kenkoh Reflexology Sandal).
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and avoid foods high in salt that can cause water retention.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated. This helps the body retain less fluid.

Here are some shoe-buying tips:

  • Choose shoes with a broad base, and a short heel.
  • Choose shoes with a toe box that is high enough and wide enough to comfortably fit, either rounded or square shaped, not pointed.
  • Choose shoes with extra shock absorption, a supportive arch, and firm heel.
  • Look for a walking or athletic shoe with good shock absorption.
  • Visit a local Pedorthist for a shoe-fitting recommendation. Pedorthists specialize in fitting shoes and orthotics to alleviate foot problems.
  • Periodic measuring is recommended because the feet may increase in size during the pregnancy.
  • Shop late in the day. Feet tend to swell as the day goes on.
  • Be sure that the shoes fit properly before you leave the store.
  • Buy boots with room in the calf area, because your calves may swell. Also choose a boot with a side zipper — they’re easier to get on and off than a pull-on style.
  • Replace worn heels often. Uneven heels can throw you off balance.
  • Wear comfortable, supportive footwear, ideally with a strap, laces, or Velcro.

Great footwear at great prices. What a great deal! Stop by a Happy Feet Plus store near you and save.

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Jane’s Picks – Arizona Leather Soft Footbed Sandals

There’s still a lot of warm weather left this year. Enjoy it in a pair of Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed sandals. This week we’ve got three leather Arizonas on sale. Check ‘em out, save $31.25 and be cool!

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Are You Pregant and Do Your Feet Hurt?

Happy Feet Plus - Are You Pregnant and Do Your Feet Hurt?


OK, so I’m a guy and can’t fully appreciate the effects that pregnancy bestows on a woman’s body. Although if I knew then, when she was pregnant oh so many years ago, what I know now my wife would have been at least a bit more comfortable.

You may hate for saying this, but do your toes look like sausages stuffed into your shoes? It’s not your fault, you’ve just got the wrong shoes. Normally a woman will wear a half size or even a full size larger, even after delivery. Sorry, but that’s all part of the process. Don’t fight it, recognize it and wear what fits and is good for you. You’ll definitely feel better.

Let’s start at the beginning, well not the very beginning. We all know pretty much know how what happened there. But once you’re pregnant things start happening. The most obvious change is the belly-bump and the corresponding weight gain. Center of gravity changes and the added weight affects everything from the hips to the soles of the feet – and everything in between. You’ll also start retaining water and edema will make your toes feel like those little sausages. I’ll talk more about edema next week.

Often referred to as “flat feet”, over-pronation is a common result of being pregnant. To compensate for the added weight, a woman will adjust her walk by tilting her pelvis forward, curving the lower spine. This changes the pressure on the feet, resulting in the over-pronation. The arches flatten and the knees can tilt inward. The plantar fascia (the muscle/ligament that makes up the medial arch) is stretched and aggravated. But wait there’s more.

Among the hormones now surging through your body is relaxin. The hormone relaxin is 10 times more concentrated in the female during pregnancy. Relaxin enables the joints in the pelvis to relax and allows the baby to pass through the birth canal. Unfortunately relaxin affects all joints and ligaments, including those in your feet. The relaxing ligaments make the over-pronation condition worse.

You might wonder what Happy Feet Plus can do to help pregnant women. The quick answer is arch support. While there’s more to it than that, arch support is a great place to start. Any pair of footwear with good arch support (e.g., Birkenstock, Alpro, Birki’s, Footprints, Papillio, Tatami, Finn Comfort, Kenkoh) will help resolve your over-pronation issues which will help alleviate any knee or hip pain. Also affected by the presence of relaxin and impact of the weight gain are the other two main arches in the foot – the metatarsal and lateral arches. Footwear that is good for you will support all three arches and help keep your feet from aching.

An added benefit of wearing good footwear is that they most often have a wide toe box. You already know that you’re not going to fit into your pointy-toed high heels while you’re carrying your “little bundle of joy”. Now would be a great time to get a pair of shoes, sandals, or clogs with good support and some space in the toe box. By wearing these shoes now, as well as after you deliver, you’ll be avoiding bunions, ingrown toenails, corns and calluses. Who wants any of those?

Being a mom means many things. Your responsibilities increase and you need to feel good. Why not start with having feet that don’t hurt? At least one part of your body will be happy and happy feet are, well, happy feet.

Great footwear at great prices. What a great deal! Stop by a Happy Feet Plus store near you and save.

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Guys Like Birkenstocks Too

Happy Feet Plus - Birkenstock Footwear for Men

I just read a comment from one of the blog readers and was surprised.

The author is a male who has an interest in distributing foot health information, but he was unaware that Birkenstock made footwear for guys. What a wonderful world this guy has been missing!

If there’s one person who doesn’t know that there are Birkenstocks for men, there are probably thousands (tens, or hundreds of thousands, or more?) of guys wondering around with sore feet. Well guys, here’s a revelation – there are Birkenstock sandals, shoes and clogs that will fit you just fine. They’ll support your arches and allow your toes to have wiggle room. The cork footbed will mold to unique foot shape and in general, just make you feel better. At least they did for me.

It’s been a few years (if ever) that the New York or Paris fashionistas have unvailed footwear styled like Birkenstocks. And that’s OK. Birkenstock has been very constant in making what they believe to be honest, functional, high quality, and comfortable footwear. They’ve added brands like Alpro, Birki’s, Footprints, Papillio, and Tatami to provide footwear niche styling.

If you visit our retail site ( and go to any of the Birkenstock brand pages mentioned above, you see links for men-sized sandals, shoes, or clogs (except for Papillio which is women-only.) Look around. There are options for work, casual or beach/pool use. You’ll find footwear made with leather, suede, nubuck, and synthetic materials. Lots of choices and they’re all good.

Try a pair, I’m sure you’ll like them.

Great footwear at great prices. What a great deal! Stop by a Happy Feet Plus store near you and save.

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Comfort Gone Cute

Happy Feet Plus - Taos Footwear

Have you heard of Taos footwear? Probably not.

Taos is a small manufacturer that has been around for only about 5 years, but during that time they have made a big name for themselves as an independent label featuring comfort casual footwear.

With no fanfare, last week we began offer Taos footwear to our on-line customers. The response has been unexpectedly outstanding. So what is it that makes these shoes, sandals, clogs, and boots so different?

Taos describes them as “comfort gone cute”. Yes, they have style features that are different than most of our other brands – more about that later. Most important for us though is what goes on under your feet.

The Taos footbed meets the Happy Feet Plus “seal of approval”. It has a strong metatarsal arch, a moderate medial arch and is firmly cushioned. The sandals also feature a toe bar that strengthens the feet as you walk and helps your toes grip the footbed.

When you browse the 20+ styles of Taos footwear we offer you’ll notice a mix of conservative to funky. The Tempo sandal features adjustable straps in a familiar walking style. The Bungie Jump shoe, on the other hand, is one of the funkiest shoes we sell. Instead of straps or laces it does indeed use bungie cords to keep the soft leather upper comfortably secured.

You’re not going to find Taos footwear in your big department stores or on-line super sites. But you will find them here, at We love them. You will too.

Great footwear at great prices. What a great deal! Stop by a Happy Feet Plus store near you and save.

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