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PORON Cushioning Blog

Memory Foam Footwear: An Inside Look at Responsive, Adaptive Comfort

Posted by Dave Sherman on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

By Samantha Brey, EMS Marketing

You’ve heard of memory foam mattresses, but memory foam in footwear? I had heard and seen the ads many times, but until last week I had never actually believed that these shoes were as comfortable as they claimed to be. Then, a few days ago, I bought my first pair and I have worn them every day since!

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.05.04 AMThe hype isn’t exaggerated. Shoes with memory foam are exceptionally comfortable for many reasons. The shock-absorbent insole provides more cushioning and arch support than normally padded shoes, preventing injuries and foot pain, and easing pressure on the ball of the foot. The temperature-sensitive nature of the foam also allows the shoe to evenly distribute force and pressure by molding to the foot; this also improves balance.

The comfort is also long-lasting; instead of becoming hard and compact, memory foam stays soft and springs back easily, even after 12 hours of wear. This is partly why many find that lightweight memory shoes are perfect for running and working out; they provide good support and their comfort doesn’t diminish throughout the whole workout session. The shoes are also lighter than typical athletic shoes and don’t weigh the feet down. I have found that standing and walking for long periods of time is much easier in my memory foam shoes, and my feet are no longer sore at the end of the day.

But what I’ve heard about memory foam shoes isn’t all praise; many who were originally in love with their new shoes later found that the memory foam wore out after less than a year and ended up causing more discomfort than normally padded shoes would. Athletes and those with foot pain had been encouraged to wear these shoes, but many found that the worn out memory foam caused more problems than they had originally helped.

A less common problem is the chemicals used in memory foam. Some have found that memory foam products caused allergic reactions because of certain chemicals used. It has been theorized that these chemicals are, or are related to, latex. There is no warning label to alert customers to this possibility, and many have suffered because of it.

There are costs and benefits to memory foam shoes, and for many, the benefits outweigh the costs. Because of this, the memory foam shoe market has greatly expanded, and there are shoes of all types available. Memory foam is for anyone and everyone, and for any kind of lifestyle.

From Heels to Boots to Athletic Shoes

Memory foam can be found in all types of shoes, from high heels to hiking boots, but is most commonly found in athletic shoes. There are also different kinds of memory foam, some are even specific to a certain type of shoe.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.06.48 AM

Some shoes have soles and insoles of two different types of memory foam; open cell foam and closed cell foam. These two foams are often layered to achieve the maximum comfort level. They can be categorized as medium-density material. This density level has been proven to be best for distributing compressive loads without bottoming out or causing discomfort, a perfect balance between soft and hard material. The memory foam layer is layered with other material to create a shoe made for comfort.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.08.09 AMThere are many different companies that sell memory foam shoes all over the world, including Kenneth Cole Gentle SoulsThierry Rabotin (an Italian brand), Skechers, Nike, New Balance, BeautiFeel (an Israeli brand), Bionica Footwear, Clark’s, Cloud Footwear (a Portuguese brand), and Birkenstock (a German brand). You need not look further than the nearest shopping mall to find a pair that suits you.

I have already recommended memory foam shoes to many of my friends and family, and I suggest that you try a pair as well (after confirming you have no allergies to latex or other chemicals used in memory foam). For some these shoes might not be worth it, but for others they are life-changing. It’s worth a try, right?

Dave Sherman

Dave Sherman

Technical Design Solutions Manager at XRD® Impact Institute
Dave Sherman is the Innovation Leader at the XRD® Impact Institute - the research, design and testing facility of XRD® Impact Protection Technology. His experience involves a wide variety of foams including polyethlyene, polypropylene, EVA, rubber, polyurethane, silicone, and melamine. He has a Chemical Engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from RPI, as well as over 30 years of experience in the business of developing material solutions to meet demanding customer needs.

One Comment

  • teri green says:

    Good article Dave, I learned alot. We’ve been using poron in our foot pads for awhile now and patients really like the material. Would like to see a reusable self adhesive poron foot pad. Poron u shaped and oval callus pads would do well. Now that would be a big hit with patients. Thanks again,
    Teri
    Atlas Biomechanics

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