Last October, after 40 other shoe companies—including previous employers Columbia Sportswear and Nike—passed on race walker and trainer Carmen Jackinsky’s designs, she brought her performance walking shoe to market herself, under the brand Reshod.
“They just didn’t see the value of it,” says Jackinsky, 54, a former fitness coach at Nike. “But I started coaching athletes and saw that they were just as frustrated with the lack of technology for walking shoes as I was.”
Runners require heels cushioned to protect against impact and bounce them airborne. Competitive race-walkers, in contrast, keep their feet grounded, rolling heel-to-toe to propel themselves forward. For 32 years, Jackinsky has modified name-brand shoes to work for walkers.
Reshod’s shoes, manufactured in China, have a layered midsole of three angled lightweight EVA foam pieces, a Vibram sole, and a glove-like mesh upper fashioned by an ex-Nike designer. A flexible forefront avoids pinched or jammed toes, a boon to people with bunions and other foot conditions.
The little brand has found customers in nurses, golfers, and other athletes—in 33 states and seven foreign countries so far. (You can find them locally at Gimre’s Shoes and Dr Sole & Mr Heel.) Jackinsky says she’s working on new styles, including a waterproof version. “My goal is to reach all walkers.”