At Vionic Group, support is at the heart of our company philosophy – and that promise extends beyond the relief provided by our shoes. Vionic Supports is our platform for giving back to the people in our communities who inspire us. In keeping with our mission to help people #Find30 minutes a day for physical activity, we reached out to walking groups across the country who demonstrate a commitment to health, well-being and the pursuit of an active lifestyle.
This summer, we donated over 100 pairs of our Venture walking shoes to walking groups across the country as a way to say thanks for the inspiration! Read on to hear their stories.
The OMI Fog Walkers, San Francisco, CA
How did you get started? The OMI Fog Walkers began after Deloris McGee, a Community Connector, saw a need to help homebound seniors and the disabled who were unable to stand in the pantry lines for fresh fruit, protein and vegetables. The OMI Fog Walkers began as volunteers twice a month preparing bags of groceries provided by the S.F. & Marin Food Bank to be delivered throughout the neighborhood. We then formed our walking group.
Why walk? As is the case for most seniors living in San Francisco, we are dealing with wanting to maintain our independence as long as we can. Some of us are raising grandchildren, dealing with health issues and living on fixed incomes, so it’s hard to prioritize our well-being.
We get together to walk for overall health. Walking helps to combat issues like hypertension, diabetes and depression and helps to optimize our heart health and maintain physical fitness.
The Fast Forwards, Arlington, VA
Tell us about your group. The name of our group is the Fast Forwards because we like to walk briskly. The group started because the director at our local senior center told me that if I wanted Arlington County to offer a fast-paced walking group, then I had to start it myself, and that she would help. That was in 2008.
Why walk? Because we want to stay fit as long as possible. Remember our age group–we’re 55 to 80+. We know that a healthy lifestyle translates into many bonuses–mental and physical. One of those bonuses is being able to live independently as long as possible. This is a big deal to folks our age.
What do supportive walking shoes mean to you? Good shoes are very significant to the Fast Forwards. We can’t walk when our feet hurt, and certainly not any significant distance. Having orthopedically correct shoes means the difference between a sedentary lifestyle and an active one–the difference between sitting at home and getting out to (briskly) see the world around us. For example, this morning we’re walking from L’Enfant Metro station in DC, up Capitol Hill, past the US Botanical Gardens to the 19th century Eastern Market, a three-mile round trip. You can’t do that if your feet hurt, and certainly can’t have fun doing so!
AFAR Walking Group, Redwood, CA
Why walk? We run a Special Needs Program, and we take participants on daily walks and hikes because it is important for them to be able to get out and moving even if it means going for a 30 minute walk every day while they are in program.
What do supportive walking shoes mean to you? We believe receiving supportive shoes will encourage some of our participants that don’t like going on walks to start walking more often. Also, we feel these shoes benefit some of our participants by improving their posture when they walk. Some of our participants have difficulty walking due to balance problems and their limited abilities.