Construction of Shoes: Steel Toes

The construction of steel toe shoes can provide protection.

Many people work in environments in which it is possible to sustain injury to the feet. Construction sites, logging, firefighting, industrial jobs and factories can all be hazardous. Indeed, many of these work environments require employees to wear steel toe shoes. Steel toe shoes have a piece of steel meant to protect the toes from injury if something should be dropped on them. It can also prevent the toes from being sliced off in cases of heavy machinery and chainsaws. Some people even like to have them for camping and landscaping. Some of the more popular steel toe shoes are Dr. Martens , which are known for their durability.

Construction of Steel Toe Shoes

Steel toe shoes are made similarly to other types of shoes, but they include extra steps for the insertion of the steel portion designed to protect the toes. Steel toe shoes have a sock liner and a vamp lining. The front part of the insole is attached to the bottom of the sock liner. The vamp lining has a toe part. The vamp lining and the shoe liner are stitched so that the toe can fit in the area. The steel part, which often extends partly up the foot (but not terribly far), is positioned around the toe section of the vamp lining.

In addition to having the steel part over the toe, steel toe shoes are usually made from stiff, tough materials. Event the materials that are used are tough, designed to aid in the protection of the toes. This way the entire shoe is part of the safety. Often, steel toe shoes are cushioned to help make them more comfortable. Doc Martens, especially, are known for trying to combine comfort with functionality in steel toe shoes designed for working.

Safety of Steel Toe Shoes

You want to know that your steel toe shoes are safe. While they won’t provide complete protection, they can add to the safety of your work environment. My cousin, a firefighter, had a rather large and heavy metal door fall on his steel toe shoes. Under normal circumstances, his toes would have been broken. And they might have been if the door had remained on his feet too much longer. But when the door was levered off, he discovered that his steel toe shoes had prevented permanent damage: All he had were bruises.

Another concern is electrical hazard. Because steel conducts electricity, some people wonder about this if they will be working in areas that include electrical wires. Most steel toe shoes are insulated in such a way that the electric current wouldn’t make it to the steel in the first place. It is important that you check your steel toe shoes for electrical hazard designation if you are concerned about this.

Steel toe shoes can provide protection in a dangerous work environment. If you have a job where you think that something could be dropped on your foot, it might be a good idea to buy a good pair of steel toe shoes.

Best Marathons on Earth: Hatfield and McCoy

For a marathon that has everything, you’ve got to experience one of my favorites: the Hatfield and McCoy marathon in Williamson, W.Va. From the cool name to the awesome course, the incredibly nice people and the beautiful scenery – this marathon has everything. 2008 is the ninth year of the marathon, and this year it’s on June 14. It’s also great for those of you who are trying to run marathons in all 50 states as this one actually covers two states (yeah, yeah, cheating a bit, but who’s gonna tell on ya?). It starts in a tiny town called Goody, Ky., and finishes in Matewan, W.Va., for the half marathon and Williamson, W.Va., for the full marathon. So you can say you’ve done both!

The Hatfield and McCoy Marathon is a pretty challenging course. There’s a couple of major hills, you get street running, trail running, rivers, streams, fields, even a swinging bridge. There’s also a parade and then, along the course, you’ll see some of the friendliest people
in the country cheering you on. What they lack in number of people watching, they definitely make up for in quality – when you run this marathon you’ve never felt so welcomed or so encouraged.

The race director, David Hatfield, is a runner himself and he does an absolutely superb job of organizing this race. There’s a free Pasta Dinner for all the race participants, and a Pig Roast where you can eat roast pig any way you like it fixed. Just remember not to make too much
of a pig of yourself, or you might puke after all that running.

One of the coolest things about this race though, I think, is the Hatfield and McCoy feud competition. The race reenacts the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud by putting racers into either the Hatfield or McCoy ‘family’ when they register for the race. At the end of the race, the ‘family’ with the lowest total time will win the feud. There are also two guys dressed as Hatfield and McCoy who pose for photos, appear around the race course during the marathon, and present the prizes at the end.

One thing you might discover on the Hatfield and McCoy Marathon is that your time will be lower than other marathons. The course is challenging and it gets hot (around 85 degrees by the end of it), so a lot of runners report 10 to 20 minute times that are slower than their normal time. But it’s not always about time, right? This one is worth running just for the niceness of the folks who run it and watch it and for the scenery, which is really darn beautiful.

There’ll be about 500 runners registered, so the competition is good. Remember to book a hotel early as there are only a few in the area. But, one runner last year did report that, when he couldn’t get a hotel room, the race director offered him a bed in his own home. Now you can’t get any more welcoming than that, right? So sign yourself up for this one – it’s a doozy!

Anyone Have a Felt Pen I Can Borrow?

One of our B shift Receiving leads, Wayne Downey, decided to follow in our supervisor’s footsteps and make a little wager of his own. The wager went pretty much the same as before. If we processed over 18,000 units in one shift then he would belittle himself for us. An offer we couldn’t refuse. After some brainstorming, we decided that it would be fun to have him shave his head and we would get to draw on it with PERMANENT marker. Needless to say we achieved our goal and once again one of our bosses was humiliated. Two bosses down, three to go! The best part is that he left it on all day…. and it took him a couple days to get it all off.

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Another Skater's Paradise: Skater's Point

One of the coolest skate parks in California is located in Santa Barbara: Skater’s Point. This skate park is unique because it is located adjacent to the beach and close to the Chase Palm Park. While not the largest skate park in the state, this park offers 14,600 square feet of street terrain and special concrete features that are fun to bank, grind and ride.

Skater’s Point – The Basics

Skater’s Point can be found at the corner of East Cabrillo Boulevard and Garden Street. Its perimeter is lined with fabulous palm trees and it is seconds from the beach. Enjoy a great ocean view as you explore the park’s concrete features like the taco bowl, ledges, hips, banks, pyramid, rails, a five foot bowl and quarterpipes. In addition to a lot of interesting skating features in this park, it also is a free park with free parking and it is open to the general public.

Getting to Skater’s Point

To get to Skater’s Point in Santa Barbara, California you will want to take Highway 101 to the Garden Street exit. Depending on which direction you are coming from you will want to turn either left or right, which ever way will take you towards the ocean. Follow Garden Street until you run out of road. At this point you will see the parking lot of Skater’s Point. Park in the parking lot, it’s free, and take your gear to the park. It will be located near the wharf. Just follow the crowds.

When to Skate at Skater’s Point

Skater’s Point is open seven days a week from eight in the morning until thirty minutes after the sun goes down. This is a popular skate park because of its location and because it is illegal to skateboard on the streets and in parking lots in many parts of Santa Barbara. Because of these reasons this park fills up fast. Intermediate and advanced skateboarders, roller skaters and in-line skaters tend to use the park in the afternoons. If you are a novice skater or a younger skater, you’ll find that the best times for you to use the park will be before 12 p.m. on the weekends.

Who Can Use the Park

The park is open to the general public and anyone who wants to skate here can. However, only skateboarders, roller skaters and in-line skaters are allowed. This is not a BMX park. If you want to skate at Skater’s Point you will need to wear safety equipment , including a helmet.
Happy Skating!

Missoula Run Wild Marathon!

One of the best new marathons in the country is the Run Wild Missoula Marathon. This is the second year the Missoula Marathon will be offered and it looks like it will be an even better race event than the city’s first marathon event. If you want a safe course, great running conditions and absolutely breathtaking scenery, then you need to enter the Missoula Marathon.

The Basics

The second Annual Missoula Marathon is scheduled for July 13, 2008. Runners will leave the starting line in Frenchtown at 6 a.m. and follow the river into Missoula and end at the Higgins Avenue Bridge, located in Downtown Missoula. Running conditions will be near perfect for marathoners. It will be in the ’50s in the morning and in the ’80s in the afternoon, with low humidity all day long. (Last year the temperatures broke records and surpassed 100 degrees by the afternoon, so keep your eye on the weather reports the night before the race.) The cost of registration is $60 if you register before May 31, $70 if you register by July 11 and $75 if you register by July 12. There will be no race day registration opportunities, so get your registrations in early.

Events & Divisions

There are several different race events that will be held on July 13. The main event, of course, is the full marathon. However, a half marathon and a kid’s marathon will also be offered. Wheelchair racers can enter the Missoula Marathon, however, there isn’t a special wheelchair event.

Age divisions for this marathon are similar to those used by other marathons. Age divisions include the following breakdowns: 0-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80+. There will also be a relay division open to a variety of different types of teams.

Why You Want to Enter the Missoula Marathon

In addition to near perfect marathon weather and conditions, the Missoula Marathon is also just a great celebration of running and runners. Missoula is a great community that lends a lot of support to local events. Many of the local businesses have donated prizes, food, refreshments and other items to make your stay in Missoula a lot of fun. For example, you can get around Missoula free all day on Saturday because the Mountain Line bus service is offering free rides. There are a lot of great trails to explore, stores to shop in and community events to stop by. Goody bags will also be offered to runners and they will contain coupons, freebies and treats. They will also include items that will help you to explore the city while you are here for the race.

On race day you will find a complimentary shuttle from the parking garage in Downtown Missoula to the race’s starting line. Warm up exercises will be led by Gold’s Gym and aid stations will be set up along the route. At these stations you will find water, endurance sports drinks and PowerBar Gel. Portable toliets and medical services will also be provided at each aid station, at the starting line and at the finish line. This race even provides you with pacers. Just look for a balloon and you know who the rabbits are.

The final attractions to the Missoula Marathon are the Sports Expo and the Runner’s Spa. The Sports Expo will be held the day before the race. This is where you can pick up your runner’s packets and explore what sports vendors have to offer. The Runner’s Spa will be located near the finish line in Caras Park. It will contain full body massage services, bathrooms, espresso, furniture to relax on, changing rooms and food and beverages. This is a great spot to unwind after the event, talk with the other runners and meet up with your friends and family members.

Evelyn Ashford: Innovator in Track and Field

Evelyn Ashford is a track and field star who dominated the 100m throughout the 80’s. Find out more about her and her secret source of power.

Evelyn Ashford is an American Athlete born in 1957 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Raised in a military family, young Evelyn moved a lot until the stars aligned one day and she ended up in Roseville, California. Back in those days (and now), Roseville was primarily known for its long relationship with the railroad. The schools were small and their athletics department had yet to develop a girl’s track team. As a result, Evelyn ended up running with the boys.

Well, we all know what happens when a person does something unique, EVERYONE notices her. Whether the fanfare is good or bad, being “noticed” opens up doors. And this is exactly what happened with Evelyn. She won a scholarship to UCLA in 1975 and that led her into the sports profession and a record-breaking run.

It was 1983 and Evelyn wanted only one thing – to beat her rival Marlies Gohr. Marlies Gohr was an East German athlete who had just won the 100 m a few weeks earlier with a time of 10.81 s. It was an astonishing feat and no surprise to anyone since Marlies was a top female runner for years in the 100 m race. Yet, Evelyn knew she could beat her.

As a result, less than a month later, Evelyn crouched at a starting line with one aim in mind – to run the 100 m in less than 10.81 seconds. Either way, as she sprung forward into the race, fire was underneath her feet and she beat Gohr’s time. She ran the race in 10.79 s. It was a record breaking run that would go down in history. However, like all people with the name Evelyn, this was not the last time we heard of her.

Evelyn Ashford ran on to more victories in track and field becoming one of the oldest women to ever win an Olympic gold medal. Years later she was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. It was an event that would set her achievements in stone and let everyone across the globe see the power of a such an influential woman athlete.

Feet Tech: Using Technology to Develop Hiking Shoes

Ever since humans learned to walk, some form of shoe has been essential. Initially, it was a lot about basic protection from the elements. Shoes made from animal skins were developed at first and through the centuries, other types of shoes have been made, incorporating a variety of methods and materials. In more modern times, the discovery of human-made materials have advanced the manufacture of shoes.

Hiking as Recreation

As people began to have more leisure time, and as it became possible to wander farther from home, hiking became more and more popular. Now it is not uncommon to see people enjoying hiking – at different levels of difficulty – for recreation. One of my favorite activities is hiking, and I’m not alone.

Millions of people every year use hiking as a way to connect with nature. I think this is especially true as we become an increasingly urban society. There is definitely a strong desire to get back to our roots in nature. And through the change in the status of hiking, the evolution of hiking shoes has taken place. Originally, people thought of hiking footwear in terms of boots. Bulky, padding-stuffed, stiff boots. These boots were thickly insulated in order to keep in warmth. Additionally, they were large. I look at pictures of my dad’s first pair of hiking boots and I can hardly believe how clunky they were. And you had to break them in. If you didn’t – well, hiking just didn’t maintain the moniker of “recreational activity.”

From Hiking Boots to Hiking Shoes

As technology pervades every aspect of life, hiking boots have necessarily been affected. Like microchips and consumer electronics, hiking boots have shrunk in size.

Today’s hiking boot is really more of a hiking shoe. The modern hiking shoe, as we know it, started evolving during the 1980s. Nike decided to take on the challenge of casual hikers. Until this point, hiking boots were reserved mainly for the hard core outdoorspeople. But what about those who liked to go for the occasional hike? Many of them didn’t want expensive and over-done hiking boots. So, Nike designed a trail shoe that was meant for light hiking.

Now, there are many companies that make hiking shoes. And these hiking shoes have taken advantage of technology to become smaller and sleeker,hile at the same time becoming sturdier. Technological advances have allowed for things like Gore-Tex , which helps protect the feet from water, as well as advances that have led to cushioning in hiking shoes, allowing for a more comfortable hike. And some hiking shoes are made with special technology that lets the shoe to change shape along with the foot. Advances in chemistry have led to more durable materials and research has led to tread that grips better than ever.And you can’t forget the technology that has led to breathable mesh materials that add to comfort while maintaining needed insulating effects.

Thanks to technology, we have more choices than ever for when we decide to commune with nature, and we need the proper footwear to do so.

Zittle Zeague Zampions!

I had the pleasure of attending a Little League game this past week. Zappos is a sponsor of the Henderson Little League and our team is the “Zappos A’s”, with the A standing for “Athletics.” It turns out the “A’s” had a smoking hot season and they took number 1 in the Majors Division. They won their final game of the season 16-6 over the Johnny Mac Rockies.

It’s been ages since I’ve been to a Little League game and watching this game brought back fond memories of my Little League play a bazillion years ago. Back then we used a dinosaur bone for the bat and dried dinosaur pellets for the balls. Seriously. One indicator of why the “A’s” have done so well is the team work and mutual support between all the players and the coaches Barry M., Jason C. and Corky R. Here they are in their bull pen cheering on their man up at bat.

So there’s 10 Zappos Core Values and the 7th is“Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.” Now I did not stage or direct this picture but I did hold my breath until I turned blue hoping the jersey numbers 7 and 10 would align.

Ladies and Gentlemen of all ages, I present to you the 2008 Henderson Little League Majors Division Champions, the Zappos A’s! Regionals here we come!