March 2016

Foot Dynamics: A clinical approach to quality shoes for an active community

3foot-Dynamics_006By Kristine Thomas
Photos by Nancy Bateman

Too often when a person has issues with their feet, they are treated for their symptoms rather than the underlying problem, said Jeffrey Jacobs, BOCPed.

“My goal is to address their problem,” Jacobs said. “I believe the key to solving foot problems begins with wearing the right shoes.”

The owner of Foot Dynamics in Boise, ID, Jacobs describes his store as a place to find quality footwear. The store also has an on-site lab for orthotic fabrication and shoe modifications.

First-time customers visiting Foot Dynamics are given a foot evaluation by a foot specialist—either Jacobs or podiatrist Janice Farron, SRCh. Customers are asked questions about their activities and current footwear. Their information is kept on file for future visits.

“We recommend a shoe, and they walk out feeling better,” Jacobs said. “We are able to solve foot problems with quality footwear. We believe in matching our clients with the appropriate shoe.”

A competitive skier at both the collegiate and masters levels, Jacobs said being an athlete led him to pursue a career helping people with orthopedic issues. A graduate of the pedorthics training program at the Orthotics and Prosthetics Center at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, he has owned Foot Dynamics since December 1989.

The combination of athletic and clinical experience that Jacobs brings to his business makes Boise an ideal location.

“Boise is a small town with lots of doctors who are cyclists, skiers, and runners. We help them and help their patients solve their foot problems,” Jacobs said.

3foot-Dynamics_037Jacobs believes a significant contributor to foot injuries—particularly in runners—is wearing a shoe with a heel-to-toe incline, “resulting in an epidemic of equinus in our society.”

“The foot is not meant to be at an angle,” he said, adding he’s an advocate of zero-drop footwear. “Heel elevation in footwear may be the most fundamental and significant cause of foot pathologies in our society.”

Eager to find a zero-drop shoe to sell at Foot Dynamics, he discovered the Altra running shoe.

“These shoes are designed so there is no elevation of the heel; the ball of the foot and the heel are on the same level,” he said.

In 2009, he purchased eight pairs, which quickly sold. He bought another eight, then 12, and then 15. He has now sold more than 6000 pairs.

What Jacobs stresses to his employees is the importance of educating their clients. It’s not just about selling a shoe or orthotic devices. It’s about providing clients with the tools—or shoes—so they can continue to ski, cycle, walk, or run while reducing their susceptibility to injuries or pain.

“We discuss their foot problems and why they are having them, we look at the footwear they are using, and we discuss orthotics,” he said. “The really key reason why we are successful is because we educate our clients, and they trust us with our recommendations.”

3foot-Dynamics_031Laughing about turning 65 years old in June, Jacobs said there are often misconceptions that therapeutic shoes are only for older people and that they have to look like “an ugly, gray Oxford that everybody knows came from an orthopedic shoe store.”

His mission is to change those public perceptions.

At Foot Dynamics, clients will find fashionable and athletic footwear, including Altra Drop Zero, Birkenstocks, Keen, Naot, Sanita, and Alegria. The store’s inventory includes comfortable styles appropriate for work, walking, bicycling, hiking, or running.

“We get most of our clients by word of mouth. When we help one person, they tell another,” Jacobs said. “If you don’t walk out our door raving about your experience, we haven’t done our job. If someone asks you about your experience and you say ‘good,’ we haven’t done our job. We want people to have a great experience.”

Kristine Thomas is a freelance writer based in Silverton, OR.

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