So, it's nearly time for us to go on one of our twice yearly buying trips to Dusseldorf in search for more comfortable shoes for CheerfulSoles and I have been looking online at some of the manufacturers who will be exhibiting in the hall (or halle) where we tend to spend most of our time. The Essential Halle is where all the Wellness Shoes Collections are and it got me to wondering if people outside of the shoe industry use the term or search for Wellness Shoes.
What is Wellness
Wellness Shoes is big business in the industry at the moment. Footwear that looks after your feet, is kind to your feet or will generally provide you with some form of benefit to a foot problem or your overall fitness and well being are all the rage. You only have to look at the growth of MBTs and similar offerings from other manufacturers such as Sketchers, Nike, Reebok (even out dearly loved Alegria Shoes) to understand that the notion of health benefits from footwear is growing faster than most of us can keep up. So is wellness just a gimmick, is it about wearing comfortable shoes that are ugly or provide you with exercise or does it literally mean that the shoes that we wear can make us feel well or better?
As Consumers we are a demanding lot
As more information and awareness about what wearing the wrong kind of shoes will do to our feet (think of the Ugg Shuffle), we are rightly demanding footwear that wil live up to our lifestyles and requirements. Who hasn't read about Victoria Beckhams Bunions and remember the story about Sarah Browns feet that gripped the nation during the general election rather than her husbands policies?
It became uncool last summer to squeeze feet into pointy uncomfortable shoes that irritated enlarged joints and squashed toes beyond the point of feeling. Celebrities were out in flip flops and the bunion shoe of the season was the worishofer (as worn by the likes of Maggie Gyllinghaal and Kirsten Dunst). We want to tone our legs whilst we walk about, we wear orthotics more than ever before and we need to accommodate more widely recognised foot problems such as bunions, mortons neuroma, plantar faciitis and other wierd and wonderful foot problems. No wonder then that at last some fashion retailers and manufacturers are raising their game as there is a demand for shoes that make you look great and more importantly feel great too.
Of Course we already knew this!
It's good to see more and more manufacturers placing as much importance on how footwear feels as well as how it looks for the wearer. Our dearly loved brands such as Theresia M Shoes and Mephisto Shoes have been doing this for years and it's really encouranging to see that season on season their styles and designs have improved to match the comfort and 'wellness' that they provide.
At CheerfulSoles we believe that you can have your cake and eat it, comfort and style in equal measure for all kinds of feet. That is what wellness means to us, shoes don't have to tone you whilst you walk, have a negative heel or accommodate an orthotic insert (or other foot problem) to come under the umbrella of Wellness. Fundementally they have to look great and feel great no matter what kind of feet you have, only then will they pass our wellness shoes test and make it on the site.