According to a Hoovers report titled "Footwear Manufacture, Wholesale, and Retail," the US footwear industry has a "combined annual retail revenue of $25 billion." The report indicates that "Demand is driven by fashion, price and demographic," and that comfortable shoes are more important than fashion and price. In recent years we've seen more and more brands of shoes that claim they cater to the comfort shoes industry, so for that reason we started reviewing more than 25 shoe companies and their shoes. 65% of Americans will suffer from some kind of foot problem in their lives, up to 80% of people will suffer from lower back pain and 75% of adult Americans are overweight or obese, placing an additional strain on their feet and lower back. Baby Boomers, representing about 45% of the U.S. population, are fast approaching retirement. Finally and most importantly, we walk and stand everywhere on hard, unforgiving surfaces with shoes that are unhealthy to wear, so you need to read and learn more about comfort shoes technology.

The need for comfort shoes continues to grow today. The average person in the US and most developed countries continues to get older, heavier and less active and consumers demand not just soles and pieces of leather wrapped around their feet but shoes that are comfortable and can absorb shock. If they can also reduce pain and promote physical activities, so much the better.

In the 1970s, European shoemakers penetrated the USA market, providing special comfort shoes. Companies like Mephisto, MBT and Ecco delivered tailored leather shoes in new shapes, with arches, wide widths, or special support. Mephisto began making footwear with shock absorption in the heel of the shoes by padding the insole, and in the 1980s Mephisto imbedded rubber in the heels of the shoes and the age of comfort technology shoes began.

In the late 1980s, Alvaro Z. Gallegos, CEO of the company Z-Coil, acknowledged that some consumers need more than just a few millimeters of shock absorption while they walk. He invented a large cone-shaped spring that extends out of the bottom of the heel, providing up to 9 millimeters of shock absorption. The shoes need custom fitting, requiring special infrastructure for shoe retailers to support the sale of the Z-Coil shoes.

In the early years of 2000 a company from El Paso, Texas introduced the WaveSpring Technology, and they claim for that the patent they hold may be the most significant advancement in the foot wear industry.

In 2006, Alexander Elnekaveh and The Impact Research Technology Lab introduced to market the first Gravity Defyer footwear. It was the first men’s dress shoe to combine the comfort of spring-based shock absorption with the looks of a regular casual dress shoe. Unlike the Z-Coil system with a large exposedindustrial spring outside a shoe, the Gravity Defers provided unprecedented footwear comfort with distinctive styling fitting for the office, boardroom, and everyday wear.

Our Goal

Our Goal here at the Comfort Shoes Report Card is to look at each shoe’s manufacture and compare them on a fair and consistent basis. We have no alignment with any company or product. We, like you, are merely interested in having comfort shoes that benefit our way of life, becoming healthier, and of course wearing the most comfortable shoes possible. We are also interested in fairness. Our intention is to provide complete information about the comfort shoes industry, in the form of the most informative reviews on the web. We are not selling any of these products. Unlike every other comfort shoes review site, we are not making any money from these comfort shoes reviews. That's not what we want.

We want to provide the most in-depth comfort shoes reviews, so you can make an educated decision for yourself. Because every comfort shoe has different benefits and we want you to learn which one fits you the best. It's important that you do the research into each product and figure out which product is the best fit for your needs, your lifestyle and your foot. This is why we have studied each comfort shoes carefully and plainly state the pro's & con's of each.

It's possible that some comfort shoe products could interfere with a prescription that you may have from your physician or podiatrist. Of course, it's always recommended that you consult with your physician before using any of these comfort shoes.

Our panel of experts

On our panel we have industry specialists, podiatrists, shoes technicians, pain management doctors, college and hospital directors. We also have on our panel several retail specialist who only cater and sell comfort shoes directly to the consumer.

What type of doctor should recommend shoes for your health

Your general practitioner or pain managment practitioner may advise you to see one of these specialists:

Podiatrist - Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are physicians and surgeons who practice on the lower extremities, primarily on feet and ankles.

Pedorthist - Certified Pedorthists (CPeds) modify or fit shoes and orthoses to conform to a doctor’s footwear prescription in order to prevent or alleviate foot problems caused by disease, overuse, injury, or congenital defect.

Chiropractor - Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) use a drug-free, hands-on approach to treat neuro-musculoskeletal complaints, including back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.

Physiatrist - A physiatrist is a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Physiatrists treat a wide range of problems from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries, with a focus on restoring function to people.

1 American Podiatric Medical Association
[http://www.apma.org/s_apma/sec.asp?CID=14&DID=2825]
2 WebMD®
[http://www.webmd.com/content/article/90/100885.htm]
3 Health A to Z
[http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/common/standard/transform.jsp?requestURI=/healthatoz/Atoz/dc/caz/nutr/obes/alert08032004.jsp]
4 Baby Boomer Headquarters
[http://www.bbhq.com/bomrstat.htm]