You don’t have to be mobility impaired to get tired of bending down every time you want to slip on a pair of shoes. You can force any shoe to be slip-on, ostensibly, but eventually, the back portion of the shoe is damaged and both looks and fits poorly. Not good, particularly given how expensive shoes are nowadays. There are styles that have no back at all, and those are great for kickin’ about the beach on a warm summer’s day, but slipper-style shoes aren’t really a great all-weather style in my experience.
There are some attempts at solutions, like long-handled shoehorns, but seriously, who has one of those? And who travels with it if they are asked to remove their shoes upon entering a friend’s house or similar? Don’t forget airport security too: How often do you see people hopping around on one foot, trying to get their second shoe on before they head to their flight?
Enter Kizik Shoes. Based in Utah, the company seeks to reinvent the entire concept of footwear with modern materials and design. The heart of their design is what they call their “spring-back heel”. and it’s best illustrated by this sequence of photos. First off, everyone can slip their foot into a shoe, right?
The problem is what happens next? If the shoe is exceptionally loose, you might be able to slip your foot entirely into the shoe, but odds are that you end up with the heel of your foot pushing down on the back of the shoe itself:
What sets the Kizik shoes apart is that they’re designed for this and even as you’re deforming it the shoe is pushing back trying to get around your heel. You can see what I mean with this third photo:
Remember, this was a completely no-hands sequence, and the other shoe went on just as easily. Indeed, once you get the hang of it (I find I need to move my heel sideways just a bit as I slip my feet into the Kiziks) you can slip on both shoes in just a few seconds. It’s great, super easy, and they’re quite stylish and comfortable:
The company has lots of styles and fabric options, of course, and both men’s and women’s shoes. These are the Men’s Madrid Heathered Grey Eco-Knit and are $99 for the pair, with a 10% discount if you sign up for their mailing list. They feature 4-way stretch air mesh upper for breathability, adjustable lacing, responsive cushioning soles, and are available in sizes 4.5 – 15 and EE width. I wear an 11 wide and they are not only comfortable, but are one of the very few shoes I’ve acquired in the last few years where I didn’t immediately need to buy an arch support insert. They’re that comfortable!
If you’re 17, mobility probably isn’t an issue, but watch your parents next time they’re putting on their shoes, then ask yourself does it look easy, or do they struggle a bit? Kizik might just be what they need to simplify their lives, though even a yoga master or gymnast is going to appreciate their combination of design, functionality and, yes, that great handsfree design. Check ’em out, see what you think.
Disclosure: Kizik sent me a pair of shoes to check out in return for this writeup. Kizik, my feet thank you!