About Me

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As the principal owner of Central Massachusetts Podiatry I wanted to create this blog to help my patients, friends, fellow athletes and fellow physicians become more acquainted with our treatment approach and be able to follow along with my athletic endeavors and views on all things life and health related. I have completed seven Ironman triathlons, numerous marathons including nine Boston Marathons and three 100 mile ultramarathons (Vermont, Leadville and Javelina Jundred, finishing in 19 hours, 38 minutes and 17th overall). Having had the highs of qualifying for both the Boston Marathon and the Hawaii Ironman, to the lows of sustaining a double pelvic stress fracture in 2009, there is much perspective I can offer, both personally and professionally.

Local Shoe Store Recommendations

For Sneakers and Athletic shoes:

Sneakerama: Sneakerama is the place to go in Worcester and has one of the largest selections of sneakers available anywhere. Owned by Steve Genatossio, this has been a family run operation since 1978 and his staff is dedicated to getting their customers into the best fitting shoe for their specific need. In addition to stocking all major running and walking shoe brands, they carry sandals, casual shoes and children’s shoes as well as a full supply of clothing for athletic wear and comfort. Sneakerama is located at 12 Lake Ave in Worcester, across the street from UMass Medical Center. Click here for website. (508) 799-7278

PR Running: Owned by Rich and Jessica Allen, PR running is a store where serious runners in the Metrowest area often end up trying to find the right shoe. They are skilled at finding the running shoe for runners of all abilities. PR Running is located at 18 Lyman St in Westboro next to Tatnuck Booksellers. Click here for website. (508) 366-8101

Marathon Sports: Marathon sports is new to the area, but not to Massachusetts. They offer a similar selection to both Sneakerama and PR Running and have a large selection of apparel, compression gear and nutrition for running. They are located in White City, eastbound side of Route 9, Shrewsbury, MA.

Barefoot (Minimalist) Friendly Shoe Stores:

Miles to Go Sports: If there was any type of store I would personally want to open, it would be this one! Debby and Bob Eddy opened several years ago and filled a large void in this area, and Massachusetts in general, by carrying a large selection of minimalist and footwear and gear for runners, triathletes and everything related to each. While Sneakerama and other local stores boasts a nice selection of minimalist shoes from the major companies such as New Balance, Saucony and Vibram, there are so many other “barefoot” like shoe styles available. My favorite shoes, and companies I feel get it right, are sold there: Altra, Topo, Inov-8 in addition to the minimalist name brand shoes. Miles to Go also has the best selection of Hoka around along with the most local experience with the brand. Don’t be surprised walking in there and seeing Wetsuits in the summer or Snow shoes in the winter as they keep us outdoorsy folks happy year round! They are located southbound on Rt. 146 in Sutton, just after the stop light and Tony’s Pizza.

Specialty Stores for SAS Shoes and Extra Depth/Comfort/Diabetic Friendly Shoes:

Dow’s Shoe Store in Gardner, MA carries a complete line of casual, walking and diabetic friendly shoes including SAS shoes, often considered the gold standard among extra depth models. Click here for website. (978) 632-2794

Panza Shoes in Framingham has long been the place to go for hard to find sizes. Panza, along with Dow, carry the SAS brand of shoes in addition to a full line of men’s and women’s shoes of all styles and models. Click here for website. (508) 872-3334

Evans on the Common in Townsend, MA is another full service, family run shoe store that has a complete selection of shoes as well as clothing and other accessories that you may only find in the picturesque setting of Townsend. Click here for website. (978) 597-5117

Michelson’s Shoes is another full service, family run shoe store located a little further from Worcester, but with 2 locations (Lexington and Needham) and a full array of shoes both trendy and functional, they are an excellent choice for any age individual looking to find whatever the right shoe may be. Click here for website. (781) 862-1034 Lexington (781) 449-2753 Needham

Children’s Shoes:

My personal belief is that Children’s feet should remain free of shoes for as long as possible. The development of movement and walking is different for all children and needs to occur at the pace of the individual child. The old mantra of “maybe they need support” is just plain wrong, and dangerous. By putting shoes that interfere with the sensory feedback of the ground and serve to help a child stand before he is ready is cheating the process of normal learning. There shouldn’t be any shortcuts with learning how to walk! Granted, if there is ever concern about developmental delays and specific foot deformities or problems, never hesitate to raise this concern with your Pediatrician or Podiatrist. If you would like to learn more about this, please click on the following link to read my article on movement.

That said, shoes are a necessity in the modern world. Stride Rite has been a leading children’s shoe designer for decades and dedicates themselves on research and development, as well as how to properly fit shoes to children’s feet. I am particularly fond of Stride Rite’s SRT shoe line. SRT stands for Sensory Response Technology and keeps in mind the basic principles that children need and want to be barefoot as long as they possibly can!

Keep in mind that feet should be allowed to grow unencumbered. Feet can adapt as they grow, and if you force the shape of the shoe on a growing foot, then the foot will adopt that shape. So find a shoe that has the shape and appearance of the foot! Use the sock liners that come out of the shoe to gauge the shape and size as compared to the foot. Remember, your child isn’t going to be able to give you reliable feedback on how a shoe fits. Try also to avoid elevating the heels, and keep with flat bottom shoes. By keeping the feet flat on the ground, it helps children balance as though they are barefoot, and will make the transition easier.

Most importantly, children’s feet grow at different rates at different times in their lives. The growth of the foot often precedes the increase in height, so as parents, we aren’t always cued in to the foot size. Check often by using the “sock liner trick” in which you measure the foot on top of the removable sock liner.

For children approaching 4th and 5th grade, they can usually start to fit more adult style shoes. If they’ve been raised in a minimalist way (using shoes that are similar to Stride Rite’s SRT shoes, or encouraged to be barefoot as much as possible or just love being barefoot), then shoes such as Lems are a great choice for school and every day use, and is a major reason why Central Massachusetts Podiatry carries this line. Vivobarefoot also has a full selection of children’s minimalist shoes and can be checked out online. When fitting for Sporting shoes and cleats, keep the principles of shoe fitting in mind; fit foot to sock liner of shoe, get a shoe that is shaped like the foot.

You can also refer to an article about my overall feeling on shoes, written to help better understand the role of shoes; please click here.

Good luck!

Neil Feldman, DPM

Central Massachusetts Podiatry, PC

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