Let’s face it, we often take our feet for granted. We may glam them up with pretty pedicures and sexy jewelry, but how often do we think about their physiology, their importance to our daily functionality? “Everything starts in your feet,” said Angie Johnson, head of retail marketing for The Walking Company. “They hold you up, they carry your weight … and they carry you through life. When your feet hurt, you’re pretty miserable.”
It is for this very reason that The Walking Company was founded in 1995. Featuring the the highest quality shoes, the company is the world’s largest specialty retailer of comfort footwear. They carry about 70 brands, including their own ABEO line–bio-mechanical footwear created by their in-house team using state-of-the-art technology. “ABEO was designed to meet the needs of each customer’s specific arch type,” said Johnson. “The orthotics are different depending on what kind of feet you have.”
Athletes and consumers with foot issues have known for years that replacing their insoles with supportive orthotics provided significant support, which allowed for better comfort and performance. Now, for the first time ever, the concept of a removable orthotic was being built into sandals, and the notion of three-dimensional fitting was introduced. ABEO has become the retailer’s number one selling brand.
Unlike typical shoe stores that use the old-fashioned, metal Brannock Devices to measure foot and shoe sizes, The Walking Company utilizes digital technology. “So when our guests come in, we give them a digital foot analysis which helps our associates measure foot size, arch types and pressure points,” Johnson said. “Not only do we look at feet in a static position, we also measure feet in motion.” After stepping on a specially designed foot pad, associates are able to illustrate real-time, individual foot requirements, so customers can see for themselves if they have high arches, are flat-footed or are susceptible to certain foot ailments. From there, the staff can recommend certain shoes. “We have customers come in all the time or send us emails saying, ‘I have never been able to walk like I can walk now,” said Johnson.
Taking the healthy foot approach a step further, so to speak, the retailer has recently opened The Walking Company Rx. There are currently only four locations–Simi Valley, Ventura, Santa Barbara and now at the Shoppes at Westlake Village. “This concept is slightly different than our mall-based stores,” said Johnson. “They offer an assortment that might be considered a little more orthopedic-based, more solution-minded.” The RX stores have a certified pedorthist on-staff who can prescribe customized orthotics which he then produces in his office using icube technology.
If you think a comfort shoe can’t be cute or stylish? Think again. With high-fashion upscale brands like ABEO with built-in orthotics, Dansko, UGG Australia and Umberto Raffini to name a few, there are hundreds of dress, casual and fun styles for everyone, said Johnson.
Sharon Kada recently stopped into the Westlake store. “I needed to relieve some pain in my heel,” she said, trying on a variety of styles. “The Walking Company is a great store to find what I need. I know I’m going to find the right shoe here to solve my problem.”
On Saturday, August 1, the public is invited to attend the Westlake Village store grand opening from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to prizes and giveaways, there will be a live broadcast from KBBL-FM radio. Meet and greet athletes from the Santa Barbara Track Club–including US Champion and Olympic hopeful Barbara Nwaba. The track club is sponsored by ABEO footwear.
And exclusively for readers of Conejo Valley Happening, The Walking Company is offering a contest to win a free pair of shoes! Click here to enter.