Wanted: info about impulse buy

I was at the sporting goods store the other day — the high end one — looking for running shoes for my daughter.  She enjoyed the process, and also just thrilled to walking around the store looking at all the merchandise on display.  She stopped abruptly in front of a display of the weirdest, clunkiest shoes either of us had ever seen.  In response to her question, the salesman explained that they were Masai Barefoot Technology (“MBT”) shoes, with a strange, bouncy, curved sole that a Swiss engineer designed to mimic the Masai’s walking style.  This was not a selling point for me.  When he added that the shoes help with joint pain, though, my ears perked up, and continued perking as he talked about the workout they give your legs, the aid they provide for your posture, and the 40% discount the store had on the shoes.   An impulse buy was inevitable.

I have until Monday to return the shoes, so can only wear them around the house while I make up my mind.  In other words, I’m not getting the full benefit of the shoes because, spacious though my house is, it’s not a real walking experience.  I’m kind of in the dark on this one.  I’ve gone out on the internet and looked for product reviews, and discovered that people really rave about them.  But me being the suspicious type, I wonder if those are real reviews or plants by stores anxious to sell these peculiar shoes.

So, I’m turning to you, my trusted readers, to ask if you’ve had any experience with these shoes and, if you have, what you can tell me about them.

12 Responses

  1. I don’t think these are the same, but a few people I know from church have started wearing these strange shoes that have a giant spring instead of a normal heel. They are supposed to be great for the joints, or whatever. I haven’t gotten around to asking what the specific are. But it started with this one lady, and she has won a few converts (all of these people are over fifty).

  2. I’m not over 50 (yet), but you wouldn’t know it to look at my knees. The bones are in great shape, as x-rays confirm, but I messed up the soft tissue and can’t seem to get over that. Add bursitis and sciatica in my hips (problems I cheerfully blame on my children, since pregnancy triggered those problems), and walking ceased being a pleasure a long time ago. And yes, these are strange looking shoes, no doubt about it.

  3. Okay, I just did a quick search, and the ones I mentioned above can be found at http://www.zcoil.com.

  4. Those are even stranger looking than the MBTs, Heather! I’ve seen a couple of people wearing them, but they always looked a little too bouncy for my taste.

  5. Can’t you go for a short walk to test them out?

  6. There’s no website at zcoil.

  7. In answer to your question, Y, no, because then they’re worn and I can’t return them. And even though I got them for a bargain price, they’re still a lot more than I usually spend on shoes.

  8. Y, there are a lot of sites devoted to the z coil. I haven’t purchased a pair. I am considering getting a pair of shoes with orthotics built into them. They’re expensive, but I really miss walking without my feet collapsing from under me. I have really weak ankles, and several weeks ago, I lost all feeling in my torso down to my feet…just constant tingling and numbness from midway down my back. I also have sciatica…a weight related problem which started when I was preggers with the twins.
    I am seeing a chiropractor and that is really helping. The chronic numbness has subsided and I can walk again. And…my feet don’t hurt nearly as they used to.

  9. I didn’t have twins, Jauhara, but one of my kids was very big — it left me with a herniated disc and bursitis, so I feel your pain! If I decide to keep these shoes, I’ll update you on whether they help with all the nerve, tendon and ligament pain my dear children visited upon me.

  10. Soka, Book. (I see)

    I used to have some knee pains that were caused by not using the muscles around the knee joint. Whenever I put more than normal weight on it such as deep knee bends, it would cringe due to the fact that the muscle tissue wasn’t there to support that kind of motion with that kind of weight.

    The problem went away once I started Hindu squats, which started conditioning the muscles around the knee so that whatever weight was put on the knee, went into the muscles rather than all into the knee cap. All into the knee cap causes discomfort and wearing down of the cartilage there, as far as I know.

    The normal equation is that while people may gain weight, they don’t gain stronger knees. It is sort of an engineering problem. The weight on top increases, but the supports stay the same.

    Depending upon how a person walks, they might be able to take some of the weight off the knee when they are walking. If the knee is being rotated forward while the body has its weight on that foot, then essentially you are rotating some or most of your body weight through your knee joints. I suppose it adds up eventually.

    When I started to walk regularly, I usually was carrying a 10 or 20 pound case. I noticed that the leg muscle along my shin bone started to ache after a few days. I believe it was due to the fact that oftentimes I would step and put most of my weight on the front part of my foot while walking, running, or speed walking. This used the front muscles in the leg to move my body weight mostly, rather than using the knee or thighs. Normal walking never required those muscles to be used.

    I’ve heard about people needing knee surgery, but I’ve never heard about how you can improve the muscles around your knee if it already has problems. Just by definition, you shouldn’t do anything, including exercise, that involves any injured body part. Pain, in this sense, is not the name or the goal of the game.

  11. Bookworm, go take a few long walks. Short strolls through your house won’t tell you a thing.

  12. My wife is looking at zcoil…..I’m not sure I could go out in public in something that weird….although she says since I usually walk at night, no one is going to see me!! 🙂

    The Masai shoes look a lot more normal, but you’re talking to someone who wore Earth Shoes back in the day! As well as Birkenstocks when no one knew what they were, and in high school and college I wore dirty bucks, long after big pink soles were cool…..all for comfort.

    Which is why my wife is so puzzled that I am caviling at the idea of the zcoils….but there ARE limits! I’m having a look at the Masai – they’re sold locally.

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