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Z-CoiL Shoes


ABOVE: Z-CoiL shoes with enclosed heels. INSET BELOW: Shoe with open-coil heel.

Is it possible to enjoy sightseeing without sore feet? Until recently, I would have said "no," at least for those of us who spend more time trudging over cobblestones than sitting in sidewalk cafÚs. But with Z-CoiL shoes, the rules have changed: These odd-looking but cleverly engineered shoes literally put a spring in your step--and in doing so, they become effective shock absorbers for your feet and ankles.

photoZ-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear was invented by Al Gallegos, a runner and shoe-store owner who was plagued by heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and other foot troubles. He glued coil-spring heels to a pair of running shoes, and the Z-CoiL concept was born. Since the first Z-CoiL running shoes were manufactured in 1997, the product line has expanded to include casual dress shoes, sandals, clogs, hiking books, and work boots. Models are available for both men in women, and customers can choose between the original exposed-coil heels and the enclosed heels in the photo above.

Although the shock-absorbing coil springs are the most obvious difference between Z-CoiLs and conventional shoes, the product has other unique features: The front of the sole has 20 mm (3/4") of neoprene rubber cushioning to protect the forefoot, and the shoe's footbed incorporates a rigid plastic orthotic for arch support and stability. Such design features have helped Z-CoiL shoes to gain a cult following among nurses, chefs, airport security screeners, and other people who work on their feet all day.

Next page: My field testing of Z-CoiL shoes

In this article:
Z-CoiL shoes Z-CoiL field tests

Updated March, 2007

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