Reshod® Walking Shoes is a performance walking brand. During our development process, we took every opportunity to shed as much weight as possible without compromising functionality. If you are a competitive walker that chooses footwear primarily for its weight, consider what you are getting for each ounce and don’t sell yourself short. Athletic shoes have many parts and they all contribute to the overall weight, but lighter isn’t always better.
The finished weight of a Men’s size 9 Reshod Pushover® is 10.2 oz (288 grams). A Men’s size 9 Coach Carmen® weighs 8.6 oz. (244 grams). Both styles have close to thirty components. Most are functional in nature, such as thread, glue, laces, foam and synthetic leather parts, while others, such as the screen printed logos, are aesthetic in nature. If the weight of a shoe is the sum of it parts, which features would you give up to get a super-light product?
Let’s start with the upper. Shoes with a knitted or stretchy fabric might hug your foot to give a “slipper-like” feel, but how do they perform when you pick up the pace? Have you ever noticed that you work harder to lift the shoe with a stretchy upper versus a textile upper? The reason is because the material won’t resist against your big toe until it has reached it’s maximum stretch. That takes extra time and effort. Since the walking gait involves a higher toe lift than running, don’t expect to see this consideration in your running race flats. Instead, try a shoe with a non-stretchy fabric, so that the shoe will respond upon command.
Uppers should also protect the foot from environmental interference. Mesh fabrics are lightweight and breathable, but they also let in precipitation! Reshod® Walking Shoes have a double layer of mesh, along with a liner fabric, to allow breathability and good resistance to rain. If you are caught in a downpour during the beginning of a long race, you might like the fact that your feet are drier than they would be with a single layer mesh upper. Of course this adds a little weight, but the upper is also more durable. You won’t see your big toe poking through the fabric anytime soon.
What about the ankle collar? We could drop that down and save a bunch of fabric, but how often do you scuff your foot and kick debris into your shoe? Do you want to stop in a race to remove your shoe and knock out the pebbles, or do you prefer to shake it around inside your shoe while you try to maintain your pace? Then there’s the pull tab at the back of the heel. This feature might be considered ornamental to some, but it’s critical to others who use it to pull on the shoe.
Next, we have the midsole, which is sandwiched between the upper and the outsole (tread). Many athletic brands have transitioned to offering shoes with a single density foam midsole. They are less expensive to produce and do not provide a functional technology for walking. Soft heel foam is conducive to vertical motion. Since walkers (and especially racewalkers and power walkers) are trying to avoid lifting, Reshod® Walking Shoes created a shoe with multiple densities, starting with a firm heel section that resists lateral motion upon contact, while directing the walker’s energy in a forward motion. Lastly, the cushioning foam in the toe section is resilient, allowing walkers to pop off their toes at the end of their stride. All of the components in the midsole are angled, offering a smooth rollover. These materials provide the opportunity for the walker to perform more efficiently. What if you can extend your stride by an inch without exerting any extra effort? This would get you to the finish line a little sooner that your lighter running flats. How much is that worth?
Finally, we need to consider the outsole. This is wear the rubber meets the road: literally! Reshod® Walking Shoes have a 100% Rubber outsole, which is slightly heavier but longer wearing than blown rubber outsoles. Lastly, the shoe are resole-able. The die-cut-and-buff construction allows you to have them resoled at a local shoe repair (heel or full outsole). You can also purchase a fresh pair of insoles to give you that “new-shoe” feeling.
So next time you are tempted to dismiss a pair of shoes based on their weight, take a closer look. The details might just be worth the effort.