Dr. Berg: Jason, it's great to see you again. What have you got for us for women who don't want to be in their running shoes for a little style, a little comfort but also getting into something that is a little more appropriate for spring.

Jason: Spring and summer, yeah. Definitely. Everyone is wanting to get out, do things. There's some great sandal summer options. There's also what I call athleisure. Their in between shoes where you're not dressing up but you don't want to look like you're trying to run a marathon.

So we'll start with some sandals. There's some things that are kind of new. A lot of people have heard of the Hoka brand. This is a newer sandal by them. It's a water sandal. It's got the hiking tread. So literally you can jump in the water, keep going, do your walks and it dries out. So just a fun, supportive, very cushioned sport sandal. If something like that's too rugged, there's some fun little things like this. This is actually a Dansko. Everybody knows Dansko for their clogs. They have really branched out. And this is a fun, very cushioned. Feel the cushion in there. 

Dr. Berg: It's really stable.

Jason: Yeah, very supportive.What you need for summer is something that is a combination of cushion and stability. It also has to be sturdy. If you've got a sandal or a shoe that's just soft but squishy, it's not providing a lot of support and you get tired. So good, stable base. There's some fun things like this. This is a good example of something that, you know, a little dressy, a little fun, leather, it's made with cork, latex but again, feel how sturdy. Fully adjustable. It's good to have adjustability.

So this is from Taos and another great brand made really well. Leather's out of Europe, just a really good US brand. But it's nice to have adjustability. When you are on the go, vacation or just summertime, our feet swell more than we think. It's natural, it's normal, I mean to a certain extent. So you want that adjustability because it just increases comfort and keeps you held well in your footwear.

Another fun thing is something like this. This is a company, Waldlaufer. It's a German company. Hopefully I'm saying that right. But they are, it's a German company but what's nice about them, made extremely well but a little surprise here. Because a lot of people who have orthotics think they're never going to be able to wear a sandal. It has a removable foot bed. So this can come out and the custom orthotic you made for them can go in.

You know, what's nice about this, I know some other shoes have removable foot beds but the foot bed is so supportive and so big, it's actually bigger than the orthotic, then they won't fit right. What's interesting on this one is this is pretty closely approximates what thickness an orthotic would be. So I think it would be easy to fit an orthotic for a woman into this wonderful shoe.

Yeah, you're totally right. The thickness matters a lot in making sure that it fits well and works. And there are other styles, we're hoping will arrive. As we've discussed, I guess off camera, there's a lot of supply chain issues. So things are coming in slowly. So I encourage people that if you find any type of shoe of any kind, if you like it, especially the cuter it is, the flashier of the color, don't hesitate. Get it. Because if you wait and come back later, it could be months before it's available again. One thing we do to help our customers try to be up to date is we do have a email list and what we'll do as new things come in, we'll take pictures and then send out, you know, a weekly email type of thing just to update people. We also will try to take names and call people when certain brands if they know they want this brand comes in. But it is very tricky because everything's just coming in all broken up. One fun one, since we're talking about fun, summer stuff. A garden clog house shoe. This is another Dansko. It's got little dogs on there. This is actually made with recycled sugar cane. So I think that's completely vegan. I think it biodegrades more easily. But these are super durable. Great insoles.

Dr. Berg: I think that's a great idea. Wear this shoe and you'll have sweet feet.

Jason: Yeah, it's been a fun one, really popular. They make some with pineapples, lots of colors. This is a good garden clog  or house shoe. 'Cause again, people are at home, still walking around barefoot a lot. Having something like this protects the feet.

Dr. Berg: And a touch of modern art to boot.

Jason:  I talked about athleisure shoes, where people don't want to wear a sporty running shoe per se but they do want something that will look a little nicer, maybe going out with friends but they could still be on their feet all day. And these are some woven ones--this entire thing, there's no seams up here. So it's very soft, very stretchy, super adjustable. This is actually from Aetrex. Every brand now is starting to make this middle category. Another shoe from Aetrex. This has been quite popular, hard to get. Again, I call shoes like this your travel to Europe type of shoe. Where you can dress it up a little bit but it comes with great insoles, arch support so you can walk all day in it. And these have just been fun when you don't wanna wear the mesh, bright colored shoe but you also don't need to dress up, dress up. So that kind of in between stuff's been quite nice.

Dr. Berg: Jason, I know that once again, talking about supply and availability and you know, podiatrists just often lean toward at least on one hand, Brooks and New Balance but we have fallen in love with Hoka as well. So once you combine those two issues of availability and support, what's going on over here in athletic shoes for the spring?

Jason: Every company makes shoes in similar categories. Same support-level, you know, type of categories. So if the shoe you've been going with for the longest time isn't available, like we have a stack this thick of people waiting on shoes. But eventually you have to get a shoe. So you might have to go to a different brand and find a similar alternative. Now you gotta try it on, you gotta test it out and make sure it works for you. But what we have been doing is racing to get things in. Luckily Hoka, which is a brand that compared to New Balance and Brooks is really new, but doctors are loving it, everyone's loving it. We have people working at Boeing, Costco, on their feet, hard surfaces. And what Hoka's known for is being super lightweight. I don't know if you've held them before but they're super lightweight. And of course this one is their most cushiony. Tons of cushion. And what that offers is obviously shock absorption for the back and knees and everything. But because it's so thick, they want it to walk normally so they have what's called a rocker. And that can help arthritis, fusions, all sorts of medical conditions as you know.

Dr. Berg: Yeah, I found it particularly helpful when we have a condition where the great toe joint just doesn't move. It's called hallux rigidus, but also when pain is in the center of the ball of the foot. A bunch of different names for that, metatarsalgia and other terms but pain in the ball of your foot. And what happens then is instead of hitting here, and this is an old, old principle used to help rheumatoid arthritic patients. They used to stick a bar on the outside of that shoe. So to force you past the point of pain. But with the rocker, great shock absorption, Hoka's been very helpful for our patient.

Jason: You're totally right. It addresses a lot of issues. And one nice thing is that luckily, Hoka has had some availability. We've managed to stay in stock with it better than the other brands and it has just been doing great. Still a little feast or famine in some situations but Hoka has really been our go-to athletic shoe and I see it growing greatly. And we'll get Brooks and New Balance in again and build that back up too. But it's a brand that a lot of people should check out if they don't know about it. But otherwise, yeah. Everyone's out walking, doing things so we've gotta stay in good footwear as you know. You know, taking care of your feet matters.

Dr. Berg: As we're moving into spring and summer, consider coming up the sole perfection as Jason's a master in helping you select the right shoe for the right foot.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.