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Z-CoiL Shoes Are Apparently Not A Sight Gag

Z-CoiL Shoes (Images courtesy Z-Tech Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

While they might look like they came from a grade 6 science fair project, the Z-CoiL line of shoes are apparently very real. Their most striking feature, the Z-CoiL itself, is made of steel and serves two purposes. First, it slows the rate of impact experienced by the body when taking a step, since it absorbs a lot of that energy as the coil is compressed. Then as the foot moves forward to take the next step that energy in the coil is released, giving you a small boost.

Unfortunately the shoes just look plain ridiculous, and I’d gladly choose to live with any pain if the alternative involved me wearing these things in public. Maybe the running shoe version could be useful as a way to intimidate another athlete, since they look like they enhance your jumping ability about 100 fold, but if you walk into a job interview wearing the dress shoe version, you’re walking out unemployed.

The Z-CoiL equipped shoes are available directly from the company’s stores, and you’re looking at about $200 for running shoes, $220 for dress shoes and $190 for sandals. I would probably recommend the Titanium Spring Insoles from Hammacher Schlemmer as a cheaper alternative.

[ Z-CoiL Shoes ] VIA [ Geekologie ]







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  • http://www.cafepress.com/brucevbracken Bruce V. Bracken

    You’re a little late reporting this. The Z-Coil has been around for about five years now.

  • http://none.com R

    My Mom has a pair and we joke around with her everytime she wears them. Damn goofy but she swears by them.

  • http://zcoil.com John Dobbins

    I’m a healthcare professional and I wear Z-CoiL shoes in my office every day. I own seveal pair. They have been great for my back and knees. Your sophomoric comments about z-coil reflect a lack of awareness. Z-CoiL (headquartered in Albuquerque, NM) has been selling this footwear for over 12 years. There are about 125 stores. Most are west of the Mississippi.

  • Anonymous

    well, perhaps they do have various benefits but I can attest, from personal experience that they are hideously ugly and that it is impossible to wear them without looking like a freak.

  • Anonymous

    I own a Z-CoiL store and looks don’t seem to make a difference when pain is going to make you retire at 55 years old and no one can afford that. The looks don’t make any difference when a stroke victim walks out without their cane and a man that came in my store with a walker had to be chased down to remind him to take the walker he had left behind. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and because I can walk without pain, I behold them as beautiful.

  • Sandy

    Z-CoiL shoes were recommended to me by my knee surgeon to save me from a second surgery…5 years later of wearing z-Coils and no knee pain and NO KNEE SURGERY!

  • Donna

    I also own a Z-CoiL shoe store. I wore Z-Coil shoes about 4 years before I opened my store. I traveled a lot with them, in Nepal coming down from 17,500 feet my knees did not bother me at all. Most of the other travelers were in serious pain. My trip was Pain free. I am sorry you are so concerned about what others might say about you but in my estimation, I would be shaking my head if and when you were in pain because you know about the product. I am only sorry many people do not know about the amazing advantages of this shoe.
    Incidentally there is another great benefit to these shoes. One is better balanced on their own posture making walking and running easier and much more fun.

  • James R.

    I guess ignorance is bliss… apparently, you have not been in as much pain as I have in my life, because if you were, you would realize that if a shoe can make you be pain-free when doctors have recommended surgery on both knees and hip, you would wear them! Without my Z-CoiL’s, I am in a lot of pain and have a severely reduced quality of life. With Z-CoiL’s, I lead a normal productive life… I just hope that you never have to endure the kind of pain that I have, but if you do, try Z-CoiL’s. It changed my life and it will change yours!

  • http://www.footprofessional.com Beau Avery

    “’Id gladly choose to live with any pain if the alternative involved me wearing these things in public. ”

    As a purveyor of Z-Coils I have heard such comments from people who have later regretted ever making them. Z-Coils potentially reduce or completely eliminate the need for costly surgery. if we had more products like this, which pro-actively deal with foot pain and biomechanical pathologies, we would see a significant reduction in costly healthcare services, and eve deaths. Yes, even deaths. Currently physician error (especially surgical error) is the number one cause of preventative death in America. $200 is logically a much cheaper alternative to health care than several thousand.

  • http://zcoil.com/235 Richard

    I also own a Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear store. After seeing what these shoes did for my family we decided to open a store to help other people. A good example of how these shoes help is we had a young man come in to our store with crushed heels in such pain he could not stand upright and could barely walk. by the time he was in our shoes a half an hour he was almost upright and could walk almost normally. When I saw this man again he was walking perfectly without any pain.

    So, when I hear someone say:
    “Id gladly choose to live with any pain if the alternative involved me wearing these things in public. ” I find it hard to believe you would give other people power over your life by being embarrassed about how your shoes [that give you back mobility and freedom from pain] look . If you were to come into my store I would treat you with compassion and professionalism in spite of your misgivings because I know how people react when they are freed from their pain.

    Grateful

    I actually hope you never suffer from pain like my clients.
    Fighting the good fight for you,
    Richard

  • http://www.zcoil.com Lisa

    These are the most amazing shoes you will ever experience. And although you may think they are ridiculous, you really don’t care what they look like when you are not in pain. The product has been around for over 12 years, and is FINALLY getting into new markets where people are experiencing pain relief and the ability to live a full life again. I have laughed and thought I’d never be caught dead, until I put them on and now it’s more of I’ll never take them off! In my early 30’s into fashion and more importantly into being able to do whatever activities I want without the cost of pain! Do yourself a favor if your in pain just try them on!

  • Andrew Liszewski

    I’m glad (and not surprised) to hear these shoes have provided relief for a lot of people. But at the same time I don’t think my initial reaction to their appearance would differ from the general public. It’s obvious a lot of work has gone into designing the actual shoe part, but I can’t help but feel that some people (even those suffering from foot pain) would be turned off by the design of the ‘Z-coil’. The desire to “fit in” is unfortunately human nature, and it’s not surprising how far some of us will go to do just that. The fact that people feel compelled to post comments here defending their shoe choice, instead of just not caring about what I think is evidence of that. But I’m glad they have, since it shows the shoes do work as advertised for some people.

    But I still think a more subtle approach to the design of the ‘Z-coil’ would make people less apprehensive about trying the shoes in the first place. A wider acceptance would increase sales and hopefully reduce prices, making the shoes available to people who can’t afford $190 for a pair of sandles.

  • Jason Weathers

    Who gives a crap about what people think, is it more rediculous to wear these shoes or to be some kind of sheep who needs a cookie or a pat on the head when they do somthing socially acceptable. I do not own a pair of these shoes yet but I have seen the difference they have made in the lives of many people I know. I am getting my shoes in Lubbock TX Saturday. I plan to walk tall with the thousand of other people who are pain free and looking like freaks. I have been labled a freak all my life so it is nothing new to me, enjoy your foot pain and your back pain as you wear your “socially acceptable” shoes you sheep.

  • Tal

    “I plan to walk tall with the thousand of other people who are pain free and looking like freaks. ”

    So in other words you’re still a sheep, but in a different herd.

  • Katharine

    If you had experienced true pain then you would never say that you would rather put up with it. I haven’t had the chance to try these shoes as I’m in Europe but would love to. The alternative for me is a wheelchair when going anywhere that involves walking or standing and I assure you, you feel ridiculous in one of those when you are physically able to walk but simply can’t stand the pain.

  • John

    These aren’t good for your Knees springing isn’t natural for normal knee function, I had to get rid of mine.

  • Scott

    Bruce, you know not what you talk about. Why not just keep your mouth closed and appear dumb rather than opening it and removing all doubt.

  • Mark

    Andrew, all you did was show complete ignorance in this whole article. First, you never mentioned (or anyone that commented that for that matter) that you are able to get ANY shoe with an enclosed heel. The enclosed heel actually makes the heel stiffer and takes a little of the “springy” effect out while still completely absorbing all the impact as an exposed heel. Secondly, you have never even tried the shoes, so how can you say you would rather be in pain than to where these shoes with an exposed heel? Oh, you can’t comment on that, can you?

    I am 21, 6′, 150 lbs, and have a size 10 foot, but usually wear between a 10-11, just all depends on the shoe. Our entire family is a huge Disney family, and some if not all of our family makes a yearly Disneyland trip, and usually stay between 3-5 days. I suffer from major heel pain even after 1 day of walking, and then the next couple days are worse than the first day, at the end of the day. I never knew of these shoes until a few months ago, and the next Disneyland trip we go on, I will require these shoes. Also, standing on my feet for as long as a couple hours, I start to have bad heel pain. I guess that my feet are a little small for my body, but am not totally sure.

    So for all you suffers of heel pain, arch pain, or just any foot pain in general, from being on your feet for a while, or just weak feet or heels, give these shoes a try. Looks past the look of the shoe and just go to the closest Z-Coil store, and try them on. Also remember, YOU CAN GET ANY SHOE WITH AN ENCLOSED HEEL! Most Z-Coil stores are called another name since they are all independently owned, but just go to the Z-Coil website and find the nearest store. Stores are taking off, but if you don’t have a store near you, but going to be visiting where there is one, make sure to make that a stop.

  • Anonymous

    I wear mine everywhere I go and I love them. They are a real conversation starter. People are interested in them. I really don’t care what other people think about the look. They are practical and comfortable. I love them and the clogs go to the office and the OR every day. Get off your high heeled horse and join the real world of the grownups.

  • anon

    I would describe the style as “farty”. Kind of like the PT Cruiser of shoes.

  • sassy
  • Laura

    For some us that deal with back pain and neuropathy of a foot we are happy to look “ridiculous”. These are the only pair of shoes that I can walk in without the pain in my foot. I have nine pairs and they really are the only pair of shoes that I wear and I am happy to do so.

  • JUDITH G KING

    I AM TRYING TO BUY MY HUSBAND THE Z-COIL SHOE BUT CANNOT FIND WHERE ON LINE I CAN PURCHASE THEM. THE CLOSEST STORE IS ABOUT 100 MILES AWAY. DO YOU KNOW OR DO YOU SELL THEM ON LINE. ALSO,DO THEY COME IN WIDE SIZES. APPRECIATE ANY INFO YOU HAVE.
    THANK YOU,JUDY KING
    [email protected]

  • Andres

    Well its a lot to learn about the Z COILS,in first place you can not buy them on line and the reason is because the shoe has to be adjusted to you and no the other way,you have to feel the shoe like an old pair (nice and corfortable)the people who sell the shoes goes for an extensive trainning about how the human body works,postures and walk,
    This shoes can correct your posture the first day you try them on,it comes in diferent styles according your taste.(lately they improve a lot ,with a couple of new models that are really an eye catcher like the cowboy boot for man and woman).
    To make this story short ,if you want to save some years on your back and knees you better start wearing them now,i been using this kind of shoes for the last 6 years and i dont wear anythig else,yes i know all the jokes and coments about my shoes but i dealy love them to dead.
    IIf you want to know more about it drop me a line.

    Andres.
    PS.And i dont receive any money for this coments.

  • John

    I don't own a pair and have no connection to the company or its stores, but I actually don't think they look bad at all. Kind of have a cool, conversation starting look to them. My last two barbers both wore them, and I've seen quite a few nurses wear them as well, so they must provide some real relief for those who have to stand all day.

  • Joshua

    To be honest, I was a little put off by the sight of these shoes as well, however, to have worn them was a great joy. The amazing part about these shoes is that all thee pair I own have outlasted by several fold any other shoe or boot I have purchased. They are well worth the fashion faux paus for the comfort as well as the value.

  • bud

    Yeah they look funny, but it they're good for your bad back and if you have the kind of lower back pain that I have you'd do almost anything to keep from hurting all the time. I think it's petty and stupid to make comments such as “I’d gladly choose to live with any pain if the alternative involved me wearing these things in public.” when you've obviously been in the amount of pain that a couple of bulging discs or bad knees can visit upon you. I hope you never have that kind of pain, and also I hope your ignorant remarks don't dissuade readers from trying the shoes because they might be a fashion faux pas.

  • raesv1

    For one thing, if you actually had foot pain like some of us you wouldn't give a crap what a shoe looked like if it could give you relief from even a little bit of that pain. I've been wearing z-coil shoes for almost 5 years now. Without them, not only would I not be able to work, I wouldn't be able to walk. I have arthritis in my feet and heel spurs, I was in so much pain I would almost cry every time I had to start walking, and I am on my feet all day at work. I saved up my money and drove to the nearest place that carried them. I liked the look of the desert hikers the most ( I liked the color of the mens hikers more than the women's and got them even though I'm a woman.) I tried on the ones with the enclosed heel (which by the way look pretty much like any other shoe, just looks like it has a high chunky heel). I didn't think they had as much “spring” as the regular heels so I decided on the open heel. I was a little worried about driving in them since I have a stick shift and I thought I should wait till I got used to them before I drove with them on. I put my other shoes back on and started to go out the door. I took 3 steps and sat back down and put my z-coils back on. The difference was amazing. I had no trouble getting used to them and had no problem driving my stick shift with them. I haven't worn a regular shoe since. I'm on my feet all day, I work in fields of hay, potatoes, and lots of other outside farm work., basically do anything I would normally do in them. I have had hundreds of people asking about them, saying they love them, and asking where they can get a pair over the years, so they must not look that “horrible”. I paid $158 for mine, I don't make a lot of money but found out these are more affordable than most regular shoes because they have lasted almost 5 years. I have replaced the heels once because I thought they weren't as springy as when I first got them. The cost for that was around $24, you just add or remove the heels by a little flap on the inside of the shoe with a screwdriver. You can adjust them to however you need the heels to be turned. Before, I was completely wearing out a pair of shoes within 6 months and I've had these for almost 5 years and they look almost new. I don't even wash them, they are so well made that they will last for many years. So, you could either pay $40-$100 every 6 months for a pair of decent shoes or get these better ones that will take away some or all of your pain for $158 plus the $24 for the extra heels, and they are still going strong and still look new after almost 5 years. I'll take the z-coils over any shoe I've ever tried on. They have saved me. I would recommend these shoes to everyone with any kind of foot pain. Bottom line, without these shoes, I could not walk.

  • raesv1

    The only place I know where you can get them online is on ebay. But you won't know what size to get or how you need the heel adjusted until you go to a store. They last forever so it is worth driving the 100 miles because you won't have to do it again for many years.

  • Betsy

    I cannot live without my Zcoils. I've got an assortment of designer high heels, gorgeous boots, and sports shoes…but I feel happiest wearing zcoils. I have lower back pain, and being pain free increases the quality of life remarkably.

    Note: The reviewer obviously is missing a sensitivity chip.

  • Amber

    What a terrible excuse for an article! Andrew Liszewski, I sure hope you do not, nor have ever called yourself a writer / editor / reporter / journalist. How can you comment on something you know nothing about? Have you even heard about ‘research’?

    Z-coil shoes have helped thousands of people, which is apparent not only from all the positive comments stated here but also from the thousands of testimonials on their website (http://www.zcoil.com/testimonials.cfm). The shoes really don’t look that silly on a person, which you can also see on their website.

    I first saw z-coils at my doctor’s office, where it almost seemed like everyone in the building had a pair! When I asked my doctor about them he said they reduced the impact of each step. My mother has not walked on her own in over 5 years because of arthritis and other pains in her knees and back. My mother and I researched the shoes and we were brought to tears by many of the testimonials from people in her same situation.

    Although the closest store was over 100 miles away, we were confident the day trip would be beneficial. Everyone at the store was very helpful and understanding of her condition. They knew exactly how to fit the shoes to help my mother’s specific problems. Once they had them laced up (the Freedoms in black), I watched as they helped my mother stand up. She smiled at me and took her first step on her own in over 5 years. We both started crying as she walked towards me. She was walking so well (and pain free, I might add), she didn’t even want to take her walker home! We have since donated it.

    Shortly after, my mother did, IN FACT, go for an interview in her coils – and she was hired! She has been back in the workforce now for over 3 months and we both feel she has really gotten her life back because of z-coil.

    So, Mr. Liszewski, please; next time you want to write an article ANYWHERE, be sure you know what you are talking about so as to not risk looking ignorant.

  • Amber

    What a terrible excuse for an article! Andrew Liszewski, I sure hope you do not, nor have ever called yourself a writer / editor / reporter / journalist. How can you comment on something you know nothing about? Have you even heard about ‘research’?

    Z-coil shoes have helped thousands of people, which is apparent not only from all the positive comments stated here but also from the thousands of testimonials on their website (http://www.zcoil.com/testimonials.cfm). The shoes really don’t look that silly on a person, which you can also see on their website.

    I first saw z-coils at my doctor’s office, where it almost seemed like everyone in the building had a pair! When I asked my doctor about them he said they reduced the impact of each step. My mother has not walked on her own in over 5 years because of arthritis and other pains in her knees and back. My mother and I researched the shoes and we were brought to tears by many of the testimonials from people in her same situation.

    Although the closest store was over 100 miles away, we were confident the day trip would be beneficial. Everyone at the store was very helpful and understanding of her condition. They knew exactly how to fit the shoes to help my mother’s specific problems. Once they had them laced up (the Freedoms in black), I watched as they helped my mother stand up. She smiled at me and took her first step on her own in over 5 years. We both started crying as she walked towards me. She was walking so well (and pain free, I might add), she didn’t even want to take her walker home! We have since donated it.

    Shortly after, my mother did, IN FACT, go for an interview in her coils – and she was hired! She has been back in the workforce now for over 3 months and we both feel she has really gotten her life back because of z-coil.

    So, Mr. Liszewski, please; next time you want to write an article ANYWHERE, be sure you know what you are talking about so as to not risk looking ignorant.

  • TMH

    I just bought a pair of Z-Coils I have had foot pain for many years and am sick of paying between $8 and $30 for shoes monthly. I am so happy with them and they do not look so bad. “Normal” shoes do not help with body pain and these zcoils are truely a blessing. I am glad I sprung for the money and bought them. I live in Albuquerque

  • Michelle

    i dont think thats really fair. ifyouhave ever had serious foot pain, you know you would wear bananas on the bottom of your feet if that meant the pain would go away.

  • Lori

    As a person who has worn Z-Coils for about 10 years now – on my second pair – I can assure you they are well worth the $200. I have spent $400 on shoes in the last ten years. My husband has spent over $1000 as he replaces worn out shoes. Z-Coils do not wear out. As far as the comments go – if you are that immature to worry about what other people are wearing than you probably are not old enough to be in the workforce yourself. I had a choice – lose my leg to swelling and blood clots or wear the shoes. It was the easiest decision I have ever made.

    To the person who had to give up their shoes because of knee pain – I have a disease in my leg that involves the knee – it is the reason I wear the shoes. You may have not had them adjusted correctly or something else is going on. These shoes do help knee pain and have been a godsend to me.

    Andrew – I am glad that you do not know what real pain is, but when you or a loved one are eventually faced with it, you do not accept it and go on as if nothing is wrong. That is not a possibility. You see real pain stops you dead in your tracks and you have to find ways to lesson it in order to survive. You see pain does kill – suicide, and if your body is in constant pain your immune system can become taxed and less able to fight off infection. I know – I have almost died twice in the last six months because pain has impaired my immune system. Please do not impose your immaturity and shortsightedness on everyone else by posting such things as this “article” on the internet. In the end, you are simply showing your lack of compassion for others. Remember the Golden Rule.

    As for everyone else – I live – literally- by my Z-Coils. I get lots of comments and if they are from people who truly want to understand, I gladly explain all about the shoes. If you are wanting to make fun of me – well my family and I have answers for you as well – such as we want to be kangaroos as we go bouncing off together.

  • http://www.sojones.com/hiphop-clothing/ hip hop fashion

    Good idea for having this Z-coil Shoes aside from good looking outfit, it is also good for our health and it is also comfortable. I tell my friends about this.

  • kenD15T

    Get 'em quick because Z-CoiL stores are going out of business right and left these days.

  • sboyd

    The Z-Coil guarantee is nothing but a rip off. At least at the Virginia Beach Virginia store. Be VERY careful about their 2 week trial policy. I was very clear with the salesman that I intended to use these for running shoes. He told me his wife ran marathons in them. Still concerned about them as running shoes, I bought these $200+ shoes only after the sales man assured me I could try them out for two weeks and return them if they didn't work for me. I ran in them out 3 times less than 10 miles, returned them and my refund was shorted $52 to replace the heels. Mind you, I had used them only 3 times. I was told the heels had severe wear and had to be replaced. The owner of the store was rude and uncompromising and I want to make sure no one else is ever treated this way. If it is true, as I seriously doubt, that the heels needed replacement after being used 3 times then just imagine what these shoes are going to cost you in the long run. Don't buy them. The whole thing is a rip off and they are terrible for running. FAR too heavy.

  • sboyd

    The Z-Coil guarantee is nothing but a rip off. At least at the Virginia Beach Virginia store. Be VERY careful about their 2 week trial policy. I was very clear with the salesman that I intended to use these for running shoes. He told me his wife ran marathons in them. Still concerned about them as running shoes, I bought these $200+ shoes only after the sales man assured me I could try them out for two weeks and return them if they didn't work for me. I ran in them out 3 times less than 10 miles, returned them and my refund was shorted $52 to replace the heels. Mind you, I had used them only 3 times. I was told the heels had severe wear and had to be replaced. The owner of the store was rude and uncompromising and I want to make sure no one else is ever treated this way. If it is true, as I seriously doubt, that the heels needed replacement after being used 3 times then just imagine what these shoes are going to cost you in the long run. Don't buy them. The whole thing is a rip off and they are terrible for running. FAR too heavy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BAITGV4T3KSOIOBPRF2LGJJWOQ whatevvafloatzya

    Richard, do they run true to size? I wear a women's size 12, but can wear **some 11's”, I need them for nursing school by May…what do you advise, as I need both knees replaced, and am told I am too young. As far as the opening coment about looking ridiculous, I hope you, whoever you are (not worth my time to verify your name) NEVER have to endure the pain that some of us deal with on a daily basis. You should pray to the almighty that it doesnt, also.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BAITGV4T3KSOIOBPRF2LGJJWOQ whatevvafloatzya

    Richard, do they run true to size? I wear a women's size 12, but can wear **some 11's”, I need them for nursing school by May…what do you advise, as I need both knees replaced, and am told I am too young. As far as the opening coment about looking ridiculous, I hope you, whoever you are (not worth my time to verify your name) NEVER have to endure the pain that some of us deal with on a daily basis. You should pray to the almighty that it doesnt, also.

  • Paula

    As someone with pronated feet that causes severe knee, foot, and hip pain (I’ve already had my hip operated on at the age of 25), pain that would have me hanging onto walls, begging in my mind for someone to pick me up and carry me to bed, I can say with 100% certainty that I absolutely would NOT wear these shoes under any circumstances. But then again, I’m vain. I prefer to put my custom orthotics into whatever pair of skechers my plans for the day call for.