Look Good, Feel Great Styles Provide Mobility and Versatility for All-Day Wear.
Look Good, Feel Great Styles Provide Mobility and Versatility for All-Day Wear.
Get on your feet! Brands are pulling out all the stops when it comes to shoes that walk the walk when it comes to healthy living. But what exactly are the ingredients in a good wellness shoe? There are several key traits, according to footwear brand execs, with support being at the top of the list.
“The shoe should provide ample support and cushioning for your feet to help prevent foot fatigue and pain,” notes Instride Shoes President Dan Werremeyer. Likewise, Powerlace Sales Director David Santagata is intent that “the shoe should have support in the heel area, and high-quality materials in the midsole and outsole for greater versatility” at work or play. “Having spent over a decade of my career within the orthotic market, my first port of call is always the footbed; A deep supportive heel cup, prominent arch support and metatarsal raise are a must,” adds Strive Footwear Managing Director Sam Wright.
A great wellness shoe has the ability to move with you naturally. “Since we spend much of our day walking, we should be wearing shoes engineered for a walking stride, this means under foot midsole foam that works with a heel strike of about [twice] your body weight each stride,” according to Velous Footwear Co-Founder Brad Bischel. The toes should have room to move, and the foot be allowed to breathe. And of course, there is fit. “Get the right size fitted by a professional!” exclaims Finn Comfort President Justin Orrell-Jones.
As the category of “wellness footwear” evolves, each brand has their own take. And one thing is clear, versatility and styles ranging from walking and recovery to supportive lifestyle shoes with a fashion flair can all fit under the wellness umbrella. With lots of insight to share, we asked brand execs to share their views on the evolving world of wellness footwear.
How has the wellness trend impacted your brand and how can shoes be a part of a healthy lifestyle?
“Not only can your shoe provide support and comfort for your feet, but it can also help improve your overall posture, balance, and mobility. When your feet are properly supported and aligned, it can have a positive impact on your entire body. Find shoes that are the right size and shape for your feet, as well as ones that are made from breathable materials to prevent sweating and discomfort.” – Dan Werremeyer, president, Instride Shoes
“Finn Comfort has been producing footwear that helps to cultivate health, mobility, and well-being since the very beginning. We believe that authentically healthy footwear must be produced in a way that promotes wellness for both the individual and the environment. This includes the right designs, the healthiest components, and the cleanest production methods.” – Justin Orrell-Jones, president, Finn Comfort USA
“The wellness category is where we live. With our patented VersoShock technology, our shoes are clinically proven with a study from the UCLA Medical Center to relieve pain by up to 92% in your back, and 85% in your knees. This makes it possible for our customers to be more active which makes for a healthier lifestyle.” - Bill Taylor, director of global sales, GDEFY by Gravity Defyer
“All our shoes can be classified as wellness shoes because they feature excellent stability and arch support. For all-day wear, a shock-absorbing, supportive footbed is key. We also have rocker bottom outsoles which are truly ideal as they alleviate strain and stress on the ball of the foot.” – Megan Gold, design director, Alegria
“Our development team focused from the start on a high-end shoe, built with an EVA midsole for stability and energy return with every step, and a real rubber outsole for durability. The semi-rigid heel counter offers unparalleled stability, thanks to our self-lacing system in the back. Our self-lacing shoe is recommended by foot care professionals, including pedorthists, orthotists and podiatrists.” - David Santagata, sales director, Powerlace
“‘Look Good Feel Good’ is the new Geox headline which summarizes its inspiration and purpose — to offer the aesthetic and personal pleasure of wearing products that express the best of fashion and style, and to ensure an authentic feeling of well-being through its technologies.” - Mario Moretti Polegato, founder, Geox
“Shoes are paramount to the comfort and alignment of our bodies. The shoe should support the foot in the arch and around the heel to provide stability. We allow the wearer to achieve the best fit with a full run assortment of American sizing, as well as medium and wide widths.” - Matt Dieckhaus, VP of sales and marketing, Latitudes Inc. (KLOGS)
“Active Recovery is one of the fastest growing categories in the footwear industry. As people think more and more about living a healthy lifestyle, they think of diet, sleep and exercise. An extension of exercise is wearing great shoes all day that fit well, are comfortable and are engineered for maximum benefit when you walk.” - Brad Bischel, co-founder, Velous Footwear
“Previously we found that the majority of customers looking for wellness footwear were recommended by a podiatrist or alternative healthcare professionals. Now we find that many consumers find out about the category through more traditional routes.” - Sam Wright, managing director, Strive Footwear
“People are gravitating more towards footwear and apparel that’s multi-use — something comfortable you can wear around the house, to work, to the gym. Plenty of recovery shoes offer a plush, cushioned foam that feels good right when you slip it on. For the Revive, however, we wanted to craft a shoe that balances the structure and support you need for all-day wear with a cushioned feeling.”- John Gagliardi, founder, Kane Footwear
“Regardless of where someone is in their wellness journey, they are spending a great deal of time on their feet; walking, standing and moving, typically on hard, unnatural surfaces. While most performance foams provide high-rebound energy return properties, for the times when one is not working out or playing sports, it is more important to have footwear that can absorb impact, have a slower rebound and mimic what it’s like to move on softer, more forgiving surfaces.” - Steve Gallo, president, OOFOS
“The wellness trend helped tremendously with the launch of our sandals. With the arch support and underfoot comfort, our sandals fit neatly into the ‘recovery’ category. Arch support is one key component since it helps prevent foot fatigue. Resilient and durable arch support, that is.” – Mark Paigen, founder, Tread Labs
“Since we first introduced the classic support and comfort of our professional clog in 1990, we’ve continued to provide legendary comfort to promote wellness and self-care. Each season we add vibrant colors to boost your mood, encouraging emotional and physical healthy living.” – Kitty Bolinger, EVP of sales and marketing, Dansko
“Women’s wellness has been our core value since we began in Australia in 2011, so we’ve never seen this as a trend, but more of a necessity. Each new design goes through rigorous wear testing that can last up to three months before hitting shelves, so we never let our customer down on comfort.” - Cathy Barnett, global CEO, FRANKIE4
“Being active is a major component to any healthy lifestyle. Shoes should be lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Combining innovative comfort technologies and signature performance features, our shoes are designed to help maximize results through any type of workout—whether it’s a leisurely stroll or competing in a marathon.” - Kathy Kartalis, SVP of Global Product, Skechers
“Comfort starts from the ground up. It’s important to have the proper shoes to contribute to joint health, circulatory health, and general well-being. Our shoes won’t bind or pinch the feet, and our new collection promotes healthy circulation and movement.”- Sydney Simas, VP of sales and marketing, Simco Imported Shoes, Arcopedico
“The Health and Wellness trend has helped solidify Mephisto’s U.S. growth. Mephisto has long believed that the health of the body starts with the support of a great shoe. The foundation of the foot needs support and the back needs shock absorption to keep pain from entering our lives. Our built in support measures and ‘Soft Air’ cushioning maintains health and wellness for our consumer.” - Rusty Hall, president & CEO, Mephisto USA
Cibele features a recycled knit upper which is lightweight and flexible, promoting circulation after physical activity. The outsole features Arcopedico’s signature Dual-Arch Support which provides necessary support and comfort for all-day wear. The elastic goring on the front of the foot allows for ease when sliding into the shoe, and will hold your foot securely in place. Available now. MSRP $125.
This self-lacing men’s shoe is activated by body weight. The Urban automatically adjusts to your foot as soon as you slip it on, no hands required. Each shoe has advanced rubber soles, Dyneema laces, and full-grain Napa leather. Available now. MSRP $229.99.
The women’s Saint loafer strikes a balance between fashion and function with on-trend hardware and a dual density cleated sole. Since no two feet are created equally, the shoes can be customized to your foot’s needs with the firm’s Sole Save Pack consisting of full footbeds, half footbeds and forefront cushions. Customers mix-and-match; whether that’s for a narrow, regular, or wide fit – or whether you have a bunion or plantar fasciitis. Available in August. MSRP $248.
The Tru Sandal is a recovery shoe that can help reduce joint stress by providing cushioning and support, as well as preventing or alleviating pain and inflammation in the feet, ankles and knees. The sandal is equipped with a patented propulsion system that guides your foot through a natural gait cycle, reducing stress on joints and muscles. Available now for women. MSRP $79.99.
The unisex Skyline hybrid recovery shoe is designed to look like an athletic shoe, but perform like a recovery shoe. Meant for walking, the Skyline uses a softer foam (than a running shoe) to allow the midsole to compress with each stride, thus taking stress off your knees and hips. A firmer foam built into the outsole and arch help support and guide the foot. Available now. MSRP $110.
Revive was founded with both comfort and style in mind – it has a sleek, sneaker-like frame unlike traditional recovery wear. Now available for kids and student athletes, Revive offers breathable construction, raised nodes for blood flow and dual density cushioning for support and comfort. The pull tab above the heel makes it easy to slip on or pull off. The renewable, plant-based foam is fully waterproof and easy to clean. Available now for girls and boys. MSRP $60.
The Albion sandal is built on a running shoe profile, along with a breathable knit upper design. There is also visible arch support, so you can both see it and feel it. The polyurethane of the sandal’s midsole provides all-day comfort. The Albion sandal is available now for both men and women. MSRP $120.
Dayna is a wear anywhere and take everywhere style. This double strap sandal has hook and loop adjustability to customize as you please. Dayna features chrome-free suede uppers and chrome-free leather linings, and a lightweight contoured cork and EVA midsole. A Vibram Ecostep EVO rubber outsole (with 30% recycled Vibram rubber) adds durability and improved grip on wet and dry surfaces. Available now. MSRP $140.
GEOX/WALK PLEASURE LOAFER
The Walk Pleasure women’s loafer in brushed black leather offers an elegant look, with all the comfort of a sneaker. The versatile shoe is waterproof and breathable. A unique outsole features two materials with varying consistencies that intensify the feeling of comfort and cushioning in the shoe throughout an entire day. Available Fall/Winter 2023. MSRP $200.
The brand’s iconic Match oxford is a sought-after style worldwide and an ideal walking shoe. The shoe features exclusive Soft-Air technology, a removable insole and a natural rubber outsole. It also boasts elegant topstitch detail and a unique D-ring lacing system. MSRP $399.
For Fall, KLOGS is reintroducing oiled leather in its best-selling Naples style. A TRUBase outsole provides support, while the polyurethane TRUComfort insole and midsole pump up the cushioning. For anyone on their feet all day, Naples allows room for their feet to swell without being strangled by the shoe. Available Fall 2023. MSRP $149.95.
Alegria works to make uppers fun by offering interesting designs including hand-drawn, exclusive prints. The women’s Eclips lace-up is offered on its new generation rocker outsole, the ROK n ROLL, which creates a gentle heel-to-toe rolling motion to move you seamlessly as you walk. A water-repelling Liquid Shell upper is available on select colors. Available Fall/Winter 2023. MSRP $149.95.
The folks at Strive spent many months of development on their upcoming Heritage collection. The goal was to develop a low-profile, formal outsole with a heel made from thermoplastic rubber. The result in the women’s Lasbeth is a boot with a unique ‘coring’ pattern that reduces the weight of the product, without compromising arch support. The team developed the outsole into the orthotic. The thickness of the arch doubles-up as a shank. Available Fall 2023. MSRP $159.95.
With the Saddle, SAS designers aimed to fill a gap in the market for women wanting shoes (not sneakers) with everyday comfort and modern style. Key features in the shoe include a removable contoured polyurethane footbed designed to fit the natural shape of the foot and supportive steel shank inserted in the insole to give stability to the arch. Available Fall/Winter 2023. MSRP $229.
SKECHERS/GO WALK MASSAGE FIT – CURRENT
Slip into comfort, performance and style with the hands-free GOwalk Massage Fit – Current. Comfort Pillow technology holds feet securely in place, while Hyper Burst midsole foam cushioning provides an ultra-lightweight, highly responsive experience. A durable dual-density traction outsole boosts stability. Available Spring 2023 for men. MSRP $115.
GRAVITY DEFYER/GDEFY MIGHTY WALK
Designed for use at work, home and play; the Mighty Walk features a front rolling design that reduces foot stress by isolating 28 bones, 30 joints and over 100 muscles from potential harm. A roomy toe box provides comfort and circulation. Removable insoles accommodate custom orthotic support, while included corrective fit orthotics provide full-body alignment and optimal biomechanics. Available now for men and women. MSRP $155.
OOmg Sport is an athlete-inspired recovery shoe designed on the same foundation of OOfoam technology (delivering impact-absorbing properties to reduce load, effectively distribute pressure and alleviate stresses on the body) and patented footbed geometry as other models. The streamlined midsole is paired with a unique four-way stretch FibreFlex upper to provide maximum mobility in a protective, closed toe silhouette for men and women. MSRP $139.95.