Looking for a pair of comfortable shoes? it can be a dizzying experience if you’re a newcomer to the category. To help identify styles that promote foot health and wellness, the American Podiatric Medical Association, a leading resource for foot and ankle health information, is one place to start.
The nonprofit medical association offers consumers guidance through its Seal of Acceptance program, created to inform both podiatric physicians and consumers about products whose quality, safety and effectiveness allow for normal foot function and to promote good foot health.
Shoe brands interested in obtaining the seal must go through a formal review process that includes a written submission to its member podiatrists on issues including product composition, evidence of quality control and research documentation. Companies must also provide wear-test samples to a committee of 10 podiatrists for their firsthand evaluation of the product, according to Kathy Balderson, APMA’s director of programs and continuing education.
Acceptance allows brands to use the seal in their marketing materials. “It’s not an endorsement but a recognition that a product promotes good foot health,” said Balderson about the strict guidelines. “It also gives [consumers] the knowledge there’s a committee of doctors looking at not only the product and wear-testing it but looking at the [brand’s] studies and evidence to support any claims.”
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Among those brands that have received the seal are Vionic, Timberland Pro workshoes, Fitflop and Dansko. Children’s brand See Kai Run also offers shoes with the seal. “Consumers, especially new parents, value the seal, and we feel it gives them comfort that they’re doing good for their kids,” said Helen Rockey, CEO.
At Dansko, Tiss Dahan, VP of marketing, explained that the company highlights APMA-approved styles in its presentation materials, including its website. Since specialty shoe retailers are well-versed in the benefits of the APMA seal, they can pass the information on to customers.
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