Thursday, August 19, 2004 Spring Forward

Spring Forward washingtonpost.comWhat's New: That new spring in the step of some nurses at the Prince George's Hospital Center comes from their Z-Coils -- a quirky line of footwear that recently made its Washington area debut. Part running shoe, part pogo stick, the shoes have an exposed steel coil at the heel to reduce foot impact. "I love 'em," said nurse administrator Deborah Brackens, one of several staffers who sprung for the clog model after a sales demo. "It's like the difference between walking on concrete all day versus walking on a gym floor."

The Bounce Al Gallegos, who designed the Z-Coil prototype, admits the shoes aren't pretty but insists the extra cushioning helps prevent problems like plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, and extra padding at the toe box protects the metatarsal bones from fractures caused by normal wear and tear. The Arthritis Foundation lists one Z-Coil model among its favorite walking shoes, calling it "a good choice for people who have heel pain."

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