Thursday, July 01, 2004

Sneakers aren't necessarily shoo-ins for a day of walking at the fair

North County Times From Ankle to Z-Coil

The prize for most unusual shoe would arguably go to anyone wearing a model of the Z-Coil.

Judy Matlock, of El Cajon, was wearing the spring-loaded sneakers as she perused the house and Garden exhibits in O'Brien Hall. She had heard from friends that they were "easy on the back," so when she ran across them on a shopping trip, she bought a pair for herself and a pair for her husband, she said.

The shoes, which can be seen in the fair's Exhibit Hall, were created by Al Gallegos in the 1980s to reduce the pain caused by the impact on the foot as it hits the ground. The shoes contain a large, wide conical steel spring that compresses for shock absorption, and a built-in orthotic. They come in a variety of styles including hikers, walkers, sandals, clogs and boots, and the springs can be replaced when they wear down.

Matlock said several friends and family members have now purchased the patented footwear and are enjoying their comfort.

"They hold you up straight," she said. "They keep you upright. I walk about five miles every other day in them. The heels screw off and on. They're expensive, but they're well worth it."

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