-A A +A

Full Story

Dry, cracked heels and soles?

Tried every product on the market with no lasting success?

I am an outdoor person and I love to garden. After a day of gardening or being outdoors, my feet were so stained and dry I had to give up wearing my favorite sandals or open- backed shoes to work. I tore endless pairs of pantyhose snagging them on my rough heels when I put them on and took them off. My feet never bled, but many of my friends and family had that painful complaint.

I Tried Everything
I tried foot files and pumice stones. I tried lotions and cremes marketed especially for cracked feet. Truthfully, they all worked cosmetically for a while, then I was right back to the same problem: dry, dry, dry feet. Pedicures were an option, but the expense and the time spent was a problem, and the dry skin always came back.

I decided to find out what advice foot experts offered so I went on a podiatrist's website. I was starting to discover that they were as much at a loss as everyone else at the lack of a successful solution. In a podiatrist's professional journal, one of the podiatrists reported being so frustrated at not being able to find answers for his patients' pain, he actually recommended that his patients wear plastic bags on their feet to conserve moisture. That sounded reasonable to me except when I tried it, my feet felt like they were in a sauna. The plastic absolutely sealed in the moisture, but did not allow the foot to breathe. Not a long term option, but the important message remained. Conserving moisture and protecting my feet from contact with dirt was what all the experts said was the solution.

A Heeling Journey
I looked diligently on the internet and found only moisturizing socks, no moisture-conserving socks. I wanted to keep an open mind, so I tried many different pairs. I found that some of the socks were uncomfortable to the touch and could only be worn without shoes and inside the house. That left out wearing them for gardening or any other outdoor activity. They required special handling and laundering and indicated on their packaging that the benefits only lasted for a limited time. Some covered only the heel but my feet were dry on both the heel and toes. Many of them were just too expensive and very limited in their ease of use. Sadly, the majority of them offered nothing of benefit.

Now, I was disgusted, but not discouraged. I was frustrated and motivated. The plastic bag experiment had shown me that the foot needed a breathable outside coating that kept moisture in and on the sole and heel. The sock body had to have properties that wicked moisture away from the rest of the foot.  Whew. Tall order. As if that wasn't enough, they had to be comfortable, versatile and safe to wear all day or night. All qualities that were painfully lacking in the other products. The socks had to be durable and easy to launder. If the socks simultaneously protected the foot, softened the skin and were non-allergenic, it would be a new and ideal product for the elderly and diabetics.

I Glued My Feet to My Shoes
Necessity is the mother of invention and the inventor in me was awakened. Unfortunately, in the awake state, all I produced were socks coated with latex purchased from a hobby store which promptly glued my feet in my shoes. The coating idea was correct, I just needed the right coating. All the research pointed to nitrile as the ideal coating compound. It had a long and successful history in many different applications, one of them being gloves that protected the hand. I contacted a company that manufactured nitrile and they graciously sent me a box. Now I had a box of little yellow nitrile pebbles. It became obvious very quickly that I had absolutely no idea what to do with this box of little yellow nitrile pebbles. Back to research.

SoleMates are Born!
I found a nitrile coating expert and set out to make the first prototype. We had earlier devised a synthetic sock body that we knew wicked moisture. It was time to see if the coating and the sock worked together. The minute the first pair came out of the curing oven, I put them on. I walked around that dusty lab for hours. When I took the socks off I was relieved and excited that all my expectations had been met. A sock had been made that protected the skin from dirt and the environment, was comfortable to wear and also conserved moisture where I needed it. SoleMates became a reality.

That was the beginning of 5 more years of testing, research and development. Many people volunteered to test this new product. Originally, my goal was just to keep my feet clean and moist when I was outdoors. My clever testers came up with a multitude of new applications. They loved them as convenient little travel socks to wear on the airplane or in a hotel room. They wore them to bed, work, running, camping and, of course, gardening. People used them to keep any medications, such as Lamisil or any foot care product close to their skin. They passed them out to elderly and diabetic relatives who were very happy with how functional and easy they were to use.

When you try SoleMates you may come up with a great new way to use them. I would love to hear about it.  I made these socks for you and me, and I hope you will find them as beneficial as I have. That was my goal from the beginning.