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Beachcomber
5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
Phone: (562) 597-8000
Fax: (562) 597-9410
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Feature Stories

Finding the Foot Solution

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 10
5/17/2013


By Kirt Ramirez

Karen Widerynski, left, during TV interview last year.

Finding the right shoe with the right fit can be a struggle; the folks at Foot Solutions can help.

The nationwide franchise sells top-of-the-line shoes, socks and insoles uniquely designed for foot health and comfort. Whether the customer is diabetic with neuropathy, an athlete requiring sole support or a person who stands on his or her feet all day, the store has something for everyone.

A brochure says a person will walk over 100,000 miles during the course of life – equivalent to walking around the world more than 3 ½ times. A good shoe can make all the difference.

The greater Los Angeles area has 15 stores but Long Beach has the only one for the South Bay and North Orange County neck-of-the-woods. Karen Widerynski has owned Foot Solutions at 1811 Ximeno Avenue for 10 years – next to the Marshalls department store.

“Foot Solutions has a wide array of customers from young athletes to seniors. One example of customers we attract are people heading off on vacation. They often know they will be walking more than usual and want to feel comfortable and enjoy their trip.

A visit to Foot Solutions to obtain shoes and inserts is an important part of their pre-travel plans,” said Widerynski, who has a background in healthcare, holds a master’s degree in public health and is a certified pedorthist.

The store appears clean and organized and the staff seems friendly and knowledgeable.

“Staff is trained in foot anatomy and understands the health benefit of shoes that function properly. We focus on finding the right shoe to fit each customer’s feet and lifestyle. We do an assessment, discuss the needs of the client, measure both feet and work with them to find shoes and or inserts that help them remain active.”

Widerynski explained that the staff is trained in pedorthics – foot anatomy and the science of shoe fitting. “To be a c-ped you need to obtain specialized training and pass a proficiency test,” she added.

“When we pull the brannock device out (metal contraption used to measure feet), clients often say, ‘I have not seen one of these in years.’ We also use a computerized scanning device to assess arch height and pressure points when we have clients who come is as a result of foot pain or problems,” she said.

“We spend time with each customer, and do our best to provide a custom solution to help them feel comfortable at work or play. It is a great place to work, because we really do make people feel better.”

The owner added that there are many customer success stories. “We have customers come in almost daily to tell us how we have helped them finish their work shift without pain, successfully complete athletic challenges or just helped them move through the day without thinking about their feet. This is very gratifying.”

Exclusive footwear for men and women by Dunham, OluKai, Bucketfeet Artist, Gravity Defyer and Deertracks, to name a few, are on display. Curved insoles shaped like the foot offer firm support. Some are springy for extra bounce. Other shoes are seamfree and made for diabetic patients. Most have arch support built-in.

The old adage “You get what you pay for” might apply here. Prices vary. A Finn Comfort open-toe shoe costs $189. One can push the feet into a pair of Brooks tennis shoes for $109. A pair of elegant heels by Aravon goes for $120. The Orthaheel line is endorsed by health expert and best-selling author Andrew Weil, M.D.

A woman being served last Saturday was asked if happy as a customer. “I am. And it’s really Karen and Mimi that make this place pop,” said Margaret Brewer of owner Widerynski and manager Demetria “Mimi” Carmouché. “It’s great and the shoes are cute in addition to being good for you. I’ve been coming here for several years.”

Various quotes from clients hang on the wall.

One by former Cypress Councilmember and art teacher Anna Piercy, reads, “You keep a record of what I have purchased so when I return you can order me the same item and size with no problem.”

Foot Solutions is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Sunday. The website is www.footsolutions.com/longbeach and the telephone is (562) 961-3200.

“Come in for a free analysis and see how great your feet can feel,” Carmouché said.

kirt@longbeachcomber.com