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HEALTHY HEELS: CAN A SHOE REALLY IMPROVE YOUR WELLNESS?

Cattin' Around

HEALTHY HEELS: CAN A SHOE REALLY IMPROVE YOUR WELLNESS?

Earthies, "The Veria" (www.earthiesusa.com)

One of the true joys of living in New York City is walking down the street and window shopping. It is as important to my daily life in the Big Apple as any other activity I can name. It’s second only to watching what people are wearing (my daily infusion of street style) and billboard and sign reading. I am an avid sign reader, always have been. I realized it when I went to Italy for the first time with Stefano ten years ago and noticed how it helped me improve my Italian. It became an obsession. I was constantly translating those signs!

So, I am walking down Madison Avenue and my feet were killing me….what else is new? Suddenly all I could look at were shoe stores, so desperate was I to get some relief for my tortured tootsies! (Don’t tell me you haven’t bought a quick pair of flip flops at The Gap just to get you home…) I noticed for the first time, this shoe store called The Walking Company and in the window are these incredibly cute pair of what seemingly must be comfortable shoes because all the other shoes on display are orthopedic looking clogs and Rockport styles. But what’s up with these super cute wedgies? Could it be? Comfort and style? My incredulity and curiosity got the best of me. I had to go in.

Earthies "The Bonaire" (www.earthiesusa.com)

I asked the sales associate about the shoes in the window and she took me to a display where every pair of this brand, Earthies, appeared comfortable and chic. I asked her for a size 10 or 11 (she didn’t even flinch when I said the word “eleven”) and she told me that the styles were ‘selling extremely well.’ As soon as she came out, I chose the 10’s, they were instantly better. Almost like heaven. I know that wedgies can be as uncomfortable as heels, so I was skeptical. But she allayed my fears and said these shoes are an ‘all day’ shoe. Great, I won’t have to strategize my footwear and bring a pair to change into when my feet are crying “UNCLE!” by 4:00 pm everyday. I don’t think I ever said, “YES” to a pair so quickly. When she said they were 20% off, that cinched the deal.

At the cash register I started asking about the brand, the buyer, the manufacturing. I was dying to know the genius behind this brand that finally “got it”…. As I talked to her, I could see the brand and marketing they were going for. They were relaunching and repositioning the concept of the shoe itself; keeping the same comfort mantra from 40 years ago. The old Earth shoe from Woodstock days and Earth, Inc. has jettisoned into a new era. I went to the website and loved the simple, clean design. They’ve recently introduced Earthies, and it says they are a ‘new line of fashion / wellness footwear that leverages the company’s years of ‘good-to-the-body’ know-how into a line of shorter stacked heels and wedges.’ Each collection amplifies its wellness platform through European-inspired design, their new designer is French. They use breathable materials and trendy ornamentation, and distinctive profiles and silhouettes that are recognizable to fashionistas as “on trend” and creative. Hey if Birkenstocks can reinvent themselves….

The store manager came out by this time and she went back and got me a business card from the rep who I immediately called upon arriving home. “I just bought my first pair of Earthie’s and I don’t think I enjoyed a walk down the street as much,” I told Debra Westin. By the way, flattery will get you everywhere because complimenting someone on their merchandise is a great way to break the ice. But you have to mean it. And I did. I am always looking for shoes to recommend to my fans at Divabetic. These were not exactly right because they were sandals and diabetics have to be careful with neuropathy and infection from exposed toes. But, it was a remedy for my foot ailments and that made me investigate. She told me to call the Director of Marketing, Dave Aznavorian in Massachusetts. I called him and told him that I would love to have him join up with my charity, Divabetic. He perked up when he heard that we were wellness based. That’s Earthie’s slogan – Wellness. Elevated.

Earthies, "The Larissa" (www.earthiesusa.com)

So, the rest is cold calling history. Dave gave me his second in command, a delightful woman named Katie Kangas, who recently joined Earthie’s from Sofft and is truly a wonderful PR person for them. I called her on her cell phone and we had that breezy conversation that only someone driving with lots of time in between appointments can afford. She invited me to an accessories expo and I told her about lots of ideas I have to promote her into my areas of interest, both charity and fashion.

By the way, Earthies recently won a ‘Plus’ Award, which I absolutely love the kismet there! And their product design has won out over many reputable and established brands. While I was at the expo the next week, in a few minutes I met Lucky and In Style editors who were coming by to say they would be featuring the shoes on their fashion pages. What a well deserved coup! Hey, if Birkenstocks can become sexy, there is a real niche to fill with this concept. Dave said “There’s not a lot of companies out there with the capacity to interpret trends form the higher end of fashion and interpret these into styles that offer whole-body wellness. We’ve mused for awhile that it’d be interesting to see what would happen if we brought fashion and wellness together for a little rendezvous. The launch of Earthies is the byproduct of that encounter.” I am a fan. If for no other reason than a decreased monthly chiropractor bill would be something I’d love to have happen. I don’t need five inch stilettos as I am already 5;10” but a short heel and wedges are what I’m looking for. I feel dumpy in a ballet flat all the time . The collection features premium leathers and suedes, nature-inspired details, and ornamentation that includes decorative beading, buckles, macramé, mesh patterns, pleating, midsole wraps and my favorite, stud details.

Fulfilling the wellness promise of the Earthies collection is a unique “healthy” footbed with three primary wellness features and advantages:

  • A cupped heel that sets the foot into a proper supported position unlike ordinary high heels which leave the heel unsupported and create forward slip.
  • An anatomic arch that increases touchpoints in the transition area from the heel to the forefoot unlike many ordinary high heels without arch contour that force weight bearing on the underside of the toes.
  • A cradle toe area with a gentle curl to evenly distribute weight away from the toes unlike many ordinary high heels that create foot fatigue as most designs pitch your weight forward onto the ball of your foot and squeeze your toes into a point. Double OUCH!

Upholding wellness virtues can’t be all bad…they claim their design uses a slight sole incline that re-positions the body more naturally over the frame, and helps to reduce joint stress and improve posture. These shoes have become my new “go to” shoe. I think I can put off that foot surgery for another season if I can find shoes as stylish as these to get me through. I just received a catalogue for the new boots and fall shoes from Katie. I can’t wait to show you these when they come in. Heaven in a Heel, that’s my new saying. These are what I’ve been looking for. If you are a full figured fashionista and your dogs are always barkin’, give ‘em a break. They aren’t even pricey at $100-$169 a pair….every moment will bring you joy and what does that cost in the end? Go to www.earthfootwear.com or ww.earthiesusa.com to take a gander at their collection. Your feet will thank you!

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