There are as many unique foot problems and quirks out there as there are brands of shoes, and New Balance of Chattanooga is there to help with and remedy such problems.
One of the many issues posed to Hal Kearney, owner of New Balance of Chattanooga, has to do with varying foot arch types and how they can be dealt with and remedied if problems arise.
There are three common arch types found in feet: low arch, also known as flat feet, medium arch and high arch.
People with low arches have flexible feet and an arch that sits low to the ground, but the arch is not very defined, Kearney said. Medium-arched feet are moderately flexible and defined. High-arched feet are very rigid, sit higher off the ground and are very well defined.
Kearney recommends the use of special insoles that are inserted into one's shoes to help address any issue with inadequate arch support. Regardless of the arch, he noted, each type poses a potential need for correction and support.
Feet with low arches tend to experience overpronation, a condition where the outside of the heel makes initial contact with the ground but the foot rolls inward, according to Kearney. People with low arches may also experience heel spurs, tendonitis, bunions and some knee problems, he said.
Medium-arched feet generally do not have as many problems but may occasionally experience heel pain due to repetitive stress, Kearney said.
High-arched feet also tend to experience heel pain as well as strained arches, calluses and plantar fasciitis, a condition where the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes is inflamed, Kearney added.
To address and further understand what arch type one has, Kearney employs the New Balance Scanner that is "powered by 3,744 gold-plated barometric sensors and 1,326 infrared LEDs and receptors. This patented technology identifies your pressure points, measures your foot and recommends the ideal footwear and orthotics for your needs," he said.
Kearney suggests that potential customers call ahead and set up an appointment to ensure a fit specialist will be on hand to scan their feet. Once the foot is scanned staff members are able to properly recommend an adequate shoe that will fit correctly and enhance one's stride based on their needs, whether for running or walking, he said. Kearney added that one of the most commonly asked questions he fields regards the difference between walking and running shoes.
"Running shoes are primarily made with mesh uppers, making them lighter and more flexible," he said. "Since the running stride has more heel impact, running shoes are designed to be more cushioned in the heel."
Conversely, he added that, "Walking shoes are primarily leather and more rigid because the stride doesn't require the same amount of flexibility in the forefoot."
New Balance of Chattanooga has been serving the region's footwear needs for about nine years from the same storefront off of Gunbarrel Road. Questions and concerns about footwear can be made by calling 423- 894-5400 or visiting newbalancechatt.com.