Z-CoiL Footwear, an innovative footwear company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has designed a shoe that can significantly relieve foot, leg, and back pain by cushioning impact to the body. The company is dedicated to changing people’s lives by reducing their pain and restoring their mobility. Aside from the obvious health benefits of pain relief without pills, shots or surgery, the shoes are a smart investment. Their durable construction ensures that they last for years.
PAIN HURTS PRODUCTIVITY
We all know work can be a pain, but would you believe that employers lose more than $60 billion every year in lost productivity and absenteeism, due to common ailments like headaches, back pain, arthritis, and other muscle and joint pain?
That was the conclusion of a recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Workers in pain, the study claims, are prone to lose concentration, repeat a job, work more slowly than usual, feel fatigued at work, or even do nothing while at work. Headache was found to be the primary cause (5.4 percent), followed by back pain (3.2 percent) and arthritis (2 percent).
There seems to be little hope of escaping pain at work, however. WebMD® reports that “back pain affects 80 percent of Americans at some time in their lives,” while the American Podiatric Medical Association claims that 75 percent will experience some type of foot problem. This is hardly surprising, considering how many people work on their feet, often on hard and unforgiving concrete floors: healthcare professionals, teachers, retail clerks, restaurant personnel, line workers—the list is endless. And according to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability.
One of the authors of the JAMA study, Walter Stewart, has suggested that pain-related costs to employers could be kept to a minimum by offering workplace awareness campaigns and more treatment options for workers. “Employers will understand what $60 billion means,” he says. “In any two-week period, one in eight workers is losing time for a pain condition.”
ENGINEERED TO RELIEVE AND PREVENT PAIN
Some of the painful conditions for which Z-CoiL footwear provides significant relief, and may even prevent, include:
Plantar fasciitis Lower back pain Arthritis
Heel spurs Sciatica Joint pain
Metatarsalgia Achilles tendonitis Neck pain
A number of Research Studies measuring the impact, reduction, energy return, and ergonomic effects of Z-CoiL footwear are available on the Z-CoiL website at http://www.zcoil.com/research-studies/
A Real Grass-Roots Beginning
In the early 1980s, Alvaro Z. Gallegos was running an average of seven miles a day. He suffered all the typical injuries associated with running—heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, knee trouble, hip pain, and back pain. And although he owned a shoe store at the time and had access to all types of running shoes, he was unable to find a shoe that eased his pain.
Realizing that the source of his pain was impact, Al reasoned that putting a “shock-absorber” in the heel of his shoe would reduce the force of impact. And as an added benefit, a spring would provide some form of energy return, to help him run faster and farther.
Al experimented with a variety of springs before finding one that worked best: a three-inch-wide conical steel coil. He then had a local butcher cut open the soles of his shoes and he glued in the springs. He was amazed at the result. “I went out for a run,” he says, “and it was glorious.” Not only did the shoes feel good, but they also seemed to protect him from his usual running injuries. Over the next few years, as friends and family began asking Al to add coils to their shoes to ease their aching feet, he began to think seriously of mass-producing his springy shoes.
But shoe manufacturers were not interested. Some just laughed at his idea. Time after time Al was turned away and told that his shoe would be impossible to make.
A Manufacturing Partner Willing to Gamble
Not easily discouraged, Al kept searching, and in 1993 he happened to see an advertisement from a South Korean shoe manufacturer who was looking for new clients. Mr. Yong Oh Lee, who had been making shoes for 20 years, including products for Nike® and Reebok®, offered to construct a shoe of any design for 50 dollars. Needless to say, Mr. Lee was taken aback by Al’s unusual concept, but was willing to accept the challenge.
Over the next few years Mr. Lee produced a series of prototypes, working with Al to continually refine the design of his coil-spring shoes. Finally, in 1995 Al patented his design, and he and his son, Andrés Gallegos, opened the doors of Z-Tech, Inc. in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Andrés, a pharmaceutical product manager for such products as Lubriderm® and Centrum Silver® vitamins, had always seen great potential in his father’s invention. So with an initial production quantity of 2000 pairs, they launched the model Z-01 as the “best running shoe ever.”
A New Focus on Pain Relief
Gradually Andrés came to realize that the true benefit of these spring-heeled, impact-reducing shoes lay in the incredible pain relief they provided to customers. At the same time, advances in technology were making a rigid, built-in orthotic for the Z-Tech® shoe possible. Much the way a car’s steel frame supports its shock absorbers, this firm platform inside the shoe, in combination with the coil in the heel and thick cushioning in the forefoot, was to provide even better overall support for the foot.
So in a second revolution, featuring a next-generation product—the Freedom 2000—a new incarnation of the company was born. Al and Andrés called the company “Z-CoiL Footwear” to better reflect the nature of the product, and the company’s new focus on pain relief was to launch a whole new Pain Relief Footwear® industry.
Andrés made another valuable strategic move at the time, initiating an unusual stock offering that gave investors free footwear with the purchase of stock. Excitement about Z-CoiL® footwear took off then like wildfire … and is still burning strong.
Over the next several years, Z-CoiL Footwear experienced exponential growth as news of the pain relief virtues of its products has spread. In 2005 Z-CoiL launched its retail franchise opportunity across North America, and in 2007 Z-CoiL opened its distribution channel even further to include high-end comfort shoe stores that provide custom fitting and excel in customer service. Z-CoiL currently boasts over 220 retail locations.
Al Gallegos, now in his late seventies, remains actively involved with product research and development for
Z-CoiL Footwear, where he also serves as Chairman of the Board. Andrés Gallegos, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, was honored in 2005 as Small Business Person of the Year by the New Mexico Small Business Administration.
Our Pain Relief Mission
Z-CoiL Footwear is on a mission to bring relief to every person who suffers from foot, leg, or back pain—no small task, considering that:
• 75% of Americans will suffer from some kind of foot problem in their lives.
• Up to 80% of people will suffer from lower back pain.
• 60% of adult Americans are overweight or obese, which places an additional strain on their feet.
• Baby Boomers, representing about 28% of the U.S. population, are fast approaching retirement.
• We walk and stand everywhere on hard, unforgiving surfaces.
Z-CoiL® Pain Relief Footwear® is definitely an innovation whose time has come!