Physician Recommended Best Zumba Shoe: OESH

I recently was introduced to Zumba by OESHer, Ann Mangino, a Zumba expert and enthusiast who does Zumba as her go-to everyday workout.

Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program created by dancer Alberto Perez in Colombia during the 1990s who took it to the United States in the 2000’s where it has become very popular just these last two years. It involves dance and aerobic elements. Unlike a typical dance class where counts are used, Zumba involves following the music with repetitive movements. Zumba’s choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some belly dance moves.

Ann wanted to share her personal experience with wearing OESH.

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OESH: The Best Zumba Shoe

by Ann Mangino

I’ve been going to Zumba since the craze began, having had six different instructors with all different styles. But the one thing that is consistent since owning my OESH shoes for the last six months is that now I don’t have feet pain. I’ve had severe plantar fasciitis in both heels and knee pain for nine years. But with OESH, not only can I do Zumba, I can do it ‘con todo mi cuerpo’ and have lost 32 pounds since wearing them. In class, everyone asks where I got my Zumba shoes because my OESH (I have the Black Classics) look similar to the shoes that our instructors wear. They enhance my Salsa steps… they give me a little spring with our bounce steps. And it’s as if they were especially made for the Merengue and Samba steps. They make me feel very secure doing the side steps whereas in my older shoes I found that movement difficult.

So if I have any advice for my fellow Zumba dancers, try OESH. You’ll love them. They’re cool for the younger dancers and a godsend for the over 40 crowd. They’re great for the beginner and lower impact dancers but even better for the advanced participants. For me, they have kept me moving, dancing, and having fun…without pain.

I’ll be a Zumba certified instructor next month and I’m recommending OESH to all my students.

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I watched videos of several Zumba styles and tried my hand at dancing along. From a biomechanical standpoint, I understand why Ann has found OESH to be the ideal shoe for Zumba. The sole compresses and releases in perfect tune with the quick foot movements from front to back and side-to-side. The absence of a cushioned impact ensures excellent feedback as to the position of the foot providing excellent foot / ankle stability. I can attest Ann’s viewpoint from both a biomechanical and physician standpoint: OESH is a stellar shoe for Zumba.

Stress Fractures in Running

Pete Larson who writes a terrific, informative blog on all things running, asked me to put together a post on stress fractures in barefoot runners, which he posted here. In that article I talk specifically about second metatarsal fractures though what I describe relates to stress fractures throughout the entire lower extremity. Stress fractures are common not just to barefoot running but with running in general. Just like virtually all repetitive injuries, we are at risk for stress fractures not at impact but when the foot is fully planted and the body weight is directly over the foot.

OESH can bless the rains down in Africa

One of our favorite people here at hq is Remarkable OESHer Carrie Lane. Carrie has been involved in coaching elite (D-1 and the occasional legendary Olympian) throwers for a few years at the University of Virginia. She is probably the best in the world at what she does so well, which is to get that singularly great athletic performance out of highly-geared young women and men at the instant they need it the most. It’s especially amazing to me as I’m not sure which end of the hammer you actually grab, let alone throw the length of a football field.

And she loves wearing her OESH, though she took them off for a moment while in Paarl, South Africa to let you see what her OESH have been (literally) up to.  The result is most certainly an epic image:

Carrie joins Janet Whitmore as Remarkable OESHers and reports that OESH has had quite the journey– “Victoria Falls, Cape of Good Hope, and was even picked up by an elephant’s trunk. I think the shoe enjoys its new life in Africa.”

Please send us your photo of OESH and join Carrie and Janet as Remarkable OESHers, too. But as much as we want you always wearing OESH, we do hope Carrie was not in them at that instant when Dumbo decided he wanted a closer look at how those cantilevers really work.

Toner Shoes

My friend Bill Katovsky over at Zero Drop asked me to comment on this New York Times article published today that basically lambasted toner shoes. The article starts by discussing a recent study showing that toning shoes really don’t burn more calories despite marketing claims (no surprise). Then it cites research showing that toning shoes really don’t tone specific muscles (like your buttocks) despite marketing claims (again no surprise). Coming in a little late to the party (my comment was #29), and feeling like I really didn’t need to add fuel to the fire, I only commented that toning shoes essentially freeze out the foot from properly functioning which makes the rest of the body have to work harder. In that respect, they are similar to high heeled shoes – both types of shoes block the foot from doing its job, including naturally pronating, which increases the work up from the foot needed to support and transfer your body weight. That extra work doesn’t unfortunately translate into better tone in your buttocks. Instead, it’s manifested as increased joint pressures and forces than otherwise…not good.

Of course OESH works nothing like a “toner” shoe. There are no gimmicks with OESH…yes, your buttocks get a good workout…but so will everything else!

Post by Paul Ingraham: Do something! Anything!

I’m underwhelmed by all the “cures” out there for chronic aches and pains. But there is, and always has been, that one thing that really does work… exercise. I asked Paul Ingraham, a health science journalist and copyeditor for ScienceBasedMedicine.org if he would write about exercise and more specifically to the point that even just a little can be hugely beneficial. Paul is a former Registered Massage Therapist in Vancouver, Canada, and the creator of a large and informative website, www.PainScience.com, offering hundreds of free articles and several more detailed self-help ebooks about common pain problems like muscle knots and low back pain, as well as overuse injuries of particular interest to readers here: runner’s knee, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

Do something! Anything! Exercise is easier and better for you than most people realize

by Paul Ingraham

What helps chronic aches and pains? How do you recover from injuries or prevent them? I’ve been helping clients and educating readers for over a decade now, and I’ve come to a disappointing conclusion: most of the best tips are the “boring” ones. There are lots of big promises and tasty myths out there, but it’s the unsexy options that are actually safe, cheap, easy.

Not every obvious option is worthwhile. Stretching doesn’t actually prevent injuries, or much of anything else that people hope it does. Drinking extra water is a pointless and even dangerous fad. Most vitamin supplementation and nutraceuticals have failed every test for benefit. Repetitive strain injuries aren’t even actually “inflamed”, and so popular treatments like ibuprofen are amazingly useless. And so on and on.

But other basics are vital: smokers really do need to quit smoking (it makes pain worse, like everything else). Insomniacs actually do need to fix their sleep. Obviously uncomfortable work stations need to be made more comfortable, hot baths are still the most basic comfort for muscle pain, and simple self-massage will probably do more for muscle knots than anything else.

And moderate exercise. Oh, exercise! Best of them all: the king of the self-treatment hill.

Less is not less: exercise in small doses

It’s simple and easy. Virtually any exercise will do. You don’t have to be “hard core”. I have fantastic news for you: exercise benefits are easier to obtain than you thought, and less is not much less, or not proportionately less. Nearly every stitch of science for ten years has confirmed this.

Here’s just one example: an excellent little Scottish experiment from 2009 gave us startlingly “good news”, showing that it may be possible to get really fantastic bang for your exercise buck. They found that only a few 30-second sprints on a stationary bike — intense but quick and only twice per week — may be nearly as effective at preventing disease as much more time-intensive traditional (cardio) exercise programs.

Exercise “nuts” are welcome to their nuttiness, but they have a serious diminishing returns problem: their first hour of exercise is getting them about 75% of their benefits for the week, maybe more. The rest is thin gravy.

So please do not avoid exercise because you think you have to do a lot to make it worthwhile. A short walk is a very great deal better than nothing. Training regimens and/or exercise classes are appropriate for athletes and the athletic, but if you are bit of a couch potato, those are probably the last things you want to do, and they’re doomed to failure. What, then? Basics: start walking or cycling to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take the batteries out of the remote, et cetera

Another great reason to keep it easy: repetitive strain injuries are a huge category of unnecessary injury, largely the result of amateur athletes doing more exercise than they need to. The plot thickens.

And why bother?

The evidence is overwhelming: moderate exercise is not just fantastic for your body and long term health, but your brain as well.

Which, in turn, means that (moderate) exercise is good for pain. Just as exercise science is relentlessly confirming that less is not much less, pain science has been busy confirming that the severity and chronicity of pain has much more to do with the function of the brain and spinal cord than we ever thought before. And exercise seems to help both the body and the nervous system.

A sedentary lifestyle is a major aggravating factor in many injuries and pain problems, and particularly problems caused or complicated by myofascial pain syndrome (muscle knots).

A lack of exercise or variety of activity generally impairs circulation and the vitality that is needed for healing, but it also constitutes an irritant in itself: sitting is stressful for many tissues, for instance. An increase in activity is an important pre-requisite and support system for healing.

So do something. Anything!

Brand New…introducing the NRC

Too Cool.

We learned yesterday that some extremely intelligent and thoughtful professionals were launching a fabulous new site named the Natural Running Center at http://naturalrunningcenter.com/

The NRC promises to be a superb resource, central to the sophisticated give-and-take presently growing like wildfire throughout the athletic footwear (especially running and walking) world. Of course, all at OESH are flattered that Casey (who is one of the Advisors, by the way) was invited to be the kick-off authority for the first Ask The Experts question. And it is a great question, which motivates us to fast-track the production of a men’s shoe for OESH, too. Stay tuned for that bad boy.

With a collection of knowledge like this, Is there any doubt that the NRC is going to kick ass and take names?

Not a waffle iron

The innards of one of the press irons used in our OESH Factory here in Virginia, U.S.A. to make the midsole. 

These irons are used to shape and cure large sections of carbon fiber after they have been wound and before they have been cut to their final form. A far cry from the “waffle irons” still used to make most athletic shoe soles, the OESH manufacturing process is similar to what is also used to make rockets, not waffles.