Entries in Shoes (7)


SXSW: Google’s Talking Shoe Motivates You to Move

Joanna Stern/ABC News(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Google introduced their talking sneakers invention at SXSW this year.

Aman Govil, the lead of the advertising arts team, and his colleagues at Google took a few pairs of Adidas sneakers and crammed in a small computer, an accelerometer, a pressure sensor, a gyroscope, speaker and Bluetooth. The shoe can tell what you are or aren’t doing and can then relay that information to your phone via Bluetooth or to you via the speaker in the top tongue of the shoe. Think those 90′s Pump sneakers, but with a speaker in place of the squishy ball.

The idea is that the shoe would function a lot like many of the fitness gadgets out there today that attempt you to motivate you more. When you have been sitting for more than an hour it might yell at you to walk around.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


America’s Tallest Man Gets New Size 24 Shoes

DAVID HECKER/AFP/Getty Images(ROCHESTER, Minn.) -- You won’t find these in your local Foot Locker.

These would be the three pairs of size 24, 10E custom-made shoes that the tallest man in America, Igor Vovkivinskiy, just received from Reebok.

The Canton, Mass.-based athletic shoe company gifted the 7 feet, 8 inches tall Vovkivinskiy his new shoes on Thursday, thereby growing his shoe closet from one to four.

“This is the first time in my life that I have a choice in shoes,” Vovkovinskiy, 30, told the Rochester Post-Bulletin. “They look like they come right off the shelf, only better.”

Vovkivinskiy, a Minnesota college student, began his very public quest for a new pair of shoes in March when he started a website to help raise funds because, a new pair of shoes for him costs as much as $15,000.

“I do not have a shoe size. I have not had a shoe size since the age of 16 (about),” Vovkivinskiy wrote on the site.  “They [his feet] are each deformed terribly now. I have spent a total of 3 years on bed rest. Why did I have 16 surgeries? Because none of my shoes for too long have been made specifically for my feet.”

Vovkivinskiy said at the time that he’d had the surgeries on his feet because of problems caused by ill-fitting shoes and that his last remaining shoes were so inadequate that he was effectively relegated to a wheelchair part-time.

Within six days Vovkivinskiy had raised more than $30,000 but, more importantly, his website caught the eyes of officials at Reebok who invited him to their Massachusetts headquarters in March.  There Vovkivinskiy had his feet measured, tested and scanned to ensure his shoes, all paid for by Reebok, would be a perfect fit.

He also got to play a role in their design, selecting “Igor” on each as well as the Tryzub Cross, a Ukrainian national symbol, the Post-Bulletin reports.

On Thursday Reebok officials traveled to Vovkivinskiy in Minnesota to present the shoes, and a few size 8XL Reebok t-shirts, in person.

“For so long it hurt to have shoes on.  Every day I was in pain,” he told the Post-Bulletin.  “I’m going to be able to go to the store for groceries or the hardware store if I need to fix something at my mom’s house.”

Vovkivinskiy’s local newspaper also reports that Reebok officials worked with Vovkivinskiy while he was in Massachusetts on developing a fitness plan to help him shed the weight he’s gained while the pain in his feet kept him inactive.

“I want to be active again and walk,” said Vovkivinskiy, who set 350 pounds as his goal weight.  “I can barely walk two blocks now. Before, I could walk two miles.”

Vovkivinskiy has lived in Minnesota since 1989 when he traveled there for treatment at the renowned Mayo Clinic.  There was no word on what he planned to do with the $30,000-plus he raised on his own through his website now that his shoe wishes have been fulfilled.

Vovkivinskiy and Reebok did not return calls for comment Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Is Cosmetic Surgery for Feet the Solution for Shoe Lovers?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Charmaine Gumbs is a self-proclaimed high heel shoe fanatic with everything in her shoe collection from Jimmy Choos to the same ’40s-style pair of heels once worn by Madonna.

“A beautiful pair of shoes can suck me in,” Gumbs, from Brooklyn, N.Y., told ABC's Good Morning America.

But for Gumbs, her love of high heels came with a price: living with pain in the ball of her foot when she wore her favored shoes.

“It burns and it’s like fire,” she said.  “I have my New Year’s Eve Jimmy Choos that I have not put on my foot yet because I am afraid of them…that heel.”

Gumbs chose to take action to fix her pain, becoming one of a number of women across the country choosing to fix their toes instead of giving up their favorite pumps, or even their sandals.

When Jennifer Pyron, a 27-year-old from New York City, had to stop wearing her favorite summer shoes because they were being ruined by sweat from her toes, she decided to have a cosmetic procedure.

“A lot of people have the problem, especially women that want to wear great shoes,” said Dr. Suzanne Levine, a podiatrist at the Institute Beaute in New York City who treated both Pyron and Gumbs.  “They [women] don’t want their shoes ruined.  It really is quite a problem.”

Dr. Levine injected Pyron’s feet with Botox to lessen the sweating.  She treated high heel shoe-lover Gumbs’s pain by injecting a biodegradable cushioning into her foot, a filler similar to what people have injected into their smile lines.

The cushioning, which replaces the natural cushioning in the foot, will last about nine months, according to Dr. Levine.

The patient, Gumbs, said she realizes that the procedure may seem crazy to others, but it is worth it to her.

“Not when you love shoes,” she said of the other option, to not wear high heels.

One week after the treatment, Gumbs found herself pain-free.

“I feel not so frightened by my shoes anymore because I love them,” she said.  “I look forward to wearing them in comfort, not in agony.”

Pyron also found relief in her feet after her Botox injection.

“Once it kicked in I totally noticed a difference,” she said.

Not all doctors agree, however, that operating on one’s feet to be able to wear a certain type or pair of shoes is a good idea.

“I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with plastic surgery,” said Dr. David Levine, Assistant Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City (and no relation to Dr. Suzanne Levine).  “I have no problem if someone wants to change their nose, or change their boobs.  But you don’t walk on your boobs.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What Do Your Shoes Say About You?

Comstock/Thinkstock(LAWRENCE, Kan.) -- What's in a shoe? Surprising clues about a person's personality, a new study found.

From photos of shoes, college students were able to accurately predict the owners' age, gender and approximate income, as well as some subtler character quirks.

"You can get an amazing amount of information from a person in just a fraction of a second," said Christian Crandall, a professor of social psychology at the University of Kansas and lead author of the study published in the August issue of the Journal of Research in Personality.  "Nobody doubts that faces, heads and hairdos tell a lot about a person.  But we thought, 'What about the other weird parts?  What about shoes?'"

Sometimes fancy, sometimes functional, shoes are the "sole" of an outfit, according to Crandall. "Clothes are a costume, and shoes are a part of that," he said.  "You're never more dressed up than your shoes."

Crandall and colleagues used personality tests to see which shoe-based stereotypes stood up. "Sometimes they're accurate, sometimes they're not," he said.  

Here's what your shoes say about you:


People who wear high-tops tend to be standoffish and introverted, the study found.  They're also less likely to be agreeable and conscientious.  But when it comes to high-tops, Crandall said the rest of the outfit can change everything.  "If someone's wearing a suit and red canvas Chuck Taylors, I know about the person's willingness to bend the rules a bit," he said.  "Red canvas shoes are somewhat interesting, but red canvas shoes paired with a suit say much more."  One stereotype that failed to hold up is that high-top owners are less emotionally stable.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who wore stylish new shoes were likely to earn more money, the study found.  "If someone's wearing Christian Louboutins, we know they probably care about their appearance and have money to buy expensive shoes," said Crandall.  "That red sole says, 'I spent a lot on these.'"  Stereotypes that high-fashion shoe owners are less agreeable, more conscientious and more likely to be Republican failed to match up with people's actual personalities and political views.

Snazzy Sneaks

People who wear bright, colorful, brand name sneakers tend to be more emotionally stable, according to the study.  They're also less likely to have attachment anxiety, a personality trait marked by ambivalence and negativity.  But stereotypes that people with flashy footwear are more extroverted and open to experiences didn't hold up.  "People often choose shoes to send a message, but the message isn't necessarily true," said Crandall.  "Fun-looking shoes do not a fun person make."

Old Standbys

People who wear worn-in shoes tend to be more extroverted and emotionally stable, according to the study.  Worn out shoes in need of repair, however, generate stereotypes that the owner is conscientious but standoffish.  But those stereotypes didn't hold up.

Comfy Kicks

Despite the stereotype that Birkenstock owners are liberal, people who wear comfortable shoes have no distinctive personality traits or political views, according to the study. "We had plenty of Birkenstock owners in our study," said Crandall, who disputes the comfort of the cork-bottomed sandals.  "I have high arches," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Shoes Will Help Track Lost Alzheimer Patients

GTX Corp(LOS ANGELES) -- Too often these days, there are stories of elderly people with Alzheimer's disease wandering off and getting lost.  At times, the situation ends tragically.

Despite their best efforts, caregivers can't always be around to protect their loved ones with dementia.  But a company may have come up with a way for people to keep track of the elderly.

Shoe maker GTX will soon debut Smart Shoes for people with Alzheimer's that have GPS devices embedded in their footwear.

CEO Patrick Bertagna says the shoe is a variation of footwear that has been available to parents with children for the past decade.

Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University who was an adviser on the project, says if an Alzheimer's patient breaks the "geo fence," a message immediately pops up on a phone or computer, giving the owner a heads-up on where the lost person may be headed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas Students Invent Vibrating Shoe for the Blind

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Students at the University of Texas have invented a shoe that could replace the time-tested cane in aiding the blind in avoiding obstacles while walking.

The students have come up with a shoe covered in sensors that will vibrate once an obstacle is approached.  The sensor nearest to the object will begin to shake, and the closer the obstacle, the faster the vibration.

Dr. Dinesh Bhatia of the University of Texas at Dallas supervised the group of students, whose objective was to eliminate the need for the blind to use canes while walking.

“This is an aid that gives them signals -- in advance -- where the obstacle is.  And then they will navigate," Bhatia said told ABC News' Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV.

Another objective of the shoes is to free up both hands for whoever wears them.

"Yes that would be nice," Blake Lindsay, a spokesperson at Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, told WFAA.  “I usually just take my left hand do that, but it would be nice to be able to have both hands.”

Though the prototype for the shoe -- built by using off-the-shelf components -- is a far cry from sleek, Bhatia assures that it can be improved.

Laura Shagman, one of the students on the design team, tested the shoe while blindfolded, and within feet of an object she was able to tell it was there.  She said she’s excited about putting the shoes to use.

“If someone were to wear these shoes besides me, that would be great,” Shagman said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pregnancy and Stilettos: Are They Safe?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As a slave to fashion, celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe announced that she does not own a pair of flat shoes, and, even now, seven months pregnant, Zoe rocks thigh-high stilettos for an afternoon on the town.

Last weekend, the 39-year-old Zoe was photographed with her husband and friends strolling around Los Angeles. Along with her stiletto platform boots, Zoe wore a belted black shirt-dress with a knit bomber jacket. Stylish indeed, but some wonder if Zoe is risking safety of body and baby for her high fashion style.

"Stilettos in general are not dangerous," said Dr. Lauren Streicher, a staff obstetrician gynecologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "We are fortunately long past the days when a pregnant woman had to wear a tent or a T-shirt with an arrow pointing to the belly."

Doctors say the main reason that high heels have gotten a bad rep is because a woman's body weight and shape change during pregnancy, and so does her center of gravity. Because of this, she may be more prone to falls, which could have dire consequences. But otherwise, a lot of the risk is to her own comfort.

"It's fine for a pregnant woman to wear stilettos, but she may find her balance is off, especially when she gets large," said Streicher. "If she were to fall, obviously she could break a leg, but there is no particular danger to that developing pregnancy."

Dr. Manuel Porto, professor and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, also said that the arched back posture that is used by most pregnant women to accommodate the change leads to low back pain. Wearing high-heeled shoes and boots can exacerbate those problems, especially as feet start to swell in the later months.

"Most obstetricians recommend that patients wear flat shoes or those with less than a two-inch heel, especially in the third trimester," said Porto.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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