Whenever we participate in tradeshows, we make the point of wearing Converse High Tops – our show shoes are black with flames! We get a lot of comments all culminating with “I love those shoes, but I can’t wear them because they have no support”. Why would we stand on concrete flooring in canvas shoes that offer no support for 8 hours three days in a row? To prove a point!
Converse developed its first rubber shoe with a canvas upper in 1917. The company hired Chuck Taylor, a well-known basketball player, to its sales department in 1921. He helped create the Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops which went on to become a striking success. Aside from becoming the Official National Basketball Association (NBA) game shoe, Chuck Taylor was the official shoes of the Olympics from 1936 to 1968, a status no other shoe company has ever held. The All Stars even became the official athletic training shoes for the US Army.
But then, in the 70s came jogging, a new sport originating from a winning running coach in New Zealand that professed endurance as a key factor in running sports. Because the human body adapts poorly to jogging in our asphalt and concrete jungle, the injuries started piling up. Our medical profession has never let an opportunity go to waste, instead of discouraging running on hard flat surfaces, the podiatrists jumped on the opportunity, customizing footwear designs that had been developed by Dr Scholl’s and others before him, to make shoes more comfortable for people suffering with arch pain.
The fabulous story of Converse is over 100 years old but the advent of old and new shoe companies embracing high-tech shoes rendered Chuck Taylor All Star to the status of Retro Shoes, left behind by new technologies claiming to better protect the feet and ankles. You may have noticed a trend over the past decade. You can still purchase Chuck Taylor shoes, and little by little and quietly the major brands are reverting to the rubber and canvas designs, short of using EVA instead of rubber. The “high-tech” shoe companies are returning to Converse style designs with less technology under the cover of creating a natural, barefoot experience. Could it be the shoe manufacturers discovered something some of us have suspected for a long time? All these fangled shoe technologies from air to roll bars to anti pronation and motion control are in fact garbage – pure marketing, based on human emotion and buying star power forcing athletes to wear shoes that are more likely to injure than not. (See the Australian study of Nike Air*)
So, if you like you Converse as much as I do, get yourself a pair. ProKinetics “UltraThin” Insoles are not only good for Converse, but for most shoes except for the anti-pronation and motion control shoes still being peddled by the shoe industry. ProKinetics Insoles are not correcting for what the athletic shoe industry calls “bad shoes without support” but rather for the fact that we live 99% of our lives standing and walking on flat surfaces.
*The reference to the Australian Study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, is just one of may to be found on the internet.
Gloves Off Series – We’ve had it with conventional dogma.
After 20 years of working with people in pain and with responsible and caring professionals who care for people experiencing chronic musculoskeletal pain, we have had it with conventional dogma when it comes to your feet and your functional body. We may be risking the wrath of some medical professionals, podiatrists, footwear and fitness industries, but so be it. We want to stimulate curiosity and fact based debate because there is no rational reason for millions of people worldwide to suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain.
About the Author:
Bjorn Svae is the owner of GRD BioTech, Inc. dba Posture Dynamics founded in 1998. Bjorn holds degrees in electrical engineering and business and has enjoyed a career in design, marketing and sales of diagnostic medical equipment as well as business consulting and entrepreneurship. In 1997, nine years after having undergone bilateral fractured meniscus knee surgery, he met Dr Rothbart and was fitted with an early edition of the forerunner to the ProKinetics Insoles. The pain which had reappeared in the left knee immediately went away and has never come back.