Monthly Archives: August 2014

Buying the Best Softball Bats Online – How to Do It?

Just like a knife or a gun can be an advantage in a fight, the best softball bat can be a benefit while you are playing softball. When your team is equipped with the most appropriate softball bats, there is the chance for you to make it in the tournament. Do not be contented with simply playing on the outfield if using the right bats can help your team to win. With the rise of online stores, purchasing of slowpitch softball bats has become easier. You will be able to buy softball bats at a cheaper rate than at land-based retail stores. The following tips will help you to buy the best varieties of bats for softball playing for your team or for your own individual playing.

Buy from a reputed online store

It is important to go with an online store that is reputed, so that you can get the assurance of a competent service. Generally, going for a reputed store means proper terms and conditions, shipping and return policies. Reputed stores tend to stock more number of products as compared to inferior ones. You can be assured of the credibility. By going for the right store or portal, you can check the proper category and find the most suitable softball bats and gloves while checking the fine print associated to your needs.

Check the right category

When you visit a web store of good repute, you will be able to find many categories. You only need to choose the right category from the list, so that you can get the best softball bats that you are looking for. Just begin by clicking on the relevant category and find a number of bats that are available. This way, you will be able to select the most appropriate bat according to your needs.

Get the right keyword search

With the keyword search option, you will exactly be able to find any item on the web store that stocks softball bats. For example, when you type in the words “Easton composite bat” onto the search box of your chosen shopping store without any quotation mark, you will be able to get the most suitable bats on the web store. You can select the relevant one and be able to complete your search for the bat that you are looking for.

Know the return and replacement policies

When on a web store, you can end up with a wrong type of softball bat when you choose the wrong bat category at the time of placing your order. Naturally, it is extremely essential for you to go through the return and replacement policies of your chosen web store before making an actual purchase. Generally, any reputed store offers return and replacement of its gears completely free of cost. In case you do not find the return and replacement policies in the store to be customer friendly, you can simply move on to another online store that assures you of the same. This way, you can easily get a wrong or damaged bat replaced or returned.

What’s Your Athletic Shoe IQ?

You’re cruising through the mall prepared to plunk down your hard-earned money for a pair of sneakers. You step into the sports superstore and stop dead in your tracks, dazzled by the sheer number of shoes lining the walls. After listening to the salesperson rattle off a list of features, you try on a few pairs. Thirty minutes later, you still can’t decide between the coolest cross-trainers and the hippest high-tops. Sound familiar?

Feet First

Running the mile and shooting hoops are hard enough on your knees and ankles. But doing them without the proper shoes can be a real health hazard.

Your feet work hard during sports. The movements you make put a lot of stress on your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Shoes that don’t fit properly or that don’t provide enough support can lead to injuries such as shin splints and stress fractures. That’s especially true for runners. When you run, your body absorbs up to four times your body weight with every step. The right shoes protect not only your feet but your ankles, shins, knees, and back from injury by absorbing impact and controlling unwanted movement. When shopping for shoes, consider your feet, your activity, and the surface you’re doing it on. Your shoes should match all three.

Generally, people with flat feet need shoes with less cushioning than people with average feet. Those with high arches need shoes with more shock absorption. The shape of the shoe should also match your foot type. To determine what type of feet you have, look at your wet footprint after a shower. If you can see the whole bottom of your foot, you have flat feet and should look for shoes with a straight shape. If you see only parts of your forefoot and heel with a thin line between them, you have high-arched feet and should look for shoes with a curved shape. Other feet are in-between.

The most important factor to keep in mind when choosing athletic shoes is what you’ll be using them for. No one brand fits all feet or is best for all types of activities. If you play basketball or do aerobics, for example, you need shoes that keep your ankles stable during side-to-side movements. On the other hand, if you run or hike, you need shoes that. are lightweight and have plenty of cushioning. Multipurpose shoes are fine for things such as lifting weights or working out in the gym. But if you participate in a sport three or more times a week, you need a sport-specific shoe. “The biggest mistake young people make when they start a new sport or exercise program is using shoes that are not designed for that activity,” says Greg Catalano, D.P.M., of the North Bridge Podiatry Group in Concord, Massachusetts. “Running shoes are not designed for motion other than straight ahead. If you’re doing a sport that’s outdoors and that requires a lot of cutting and change of direction, you need a cleated shoe.”

If the Shoe Fits …

Whatever your sport, fit and comfort are key. Even the best shoes are useless if they give you blisters after the first day. Look for a shoe that’s roomy at the toe and snug at the heel to keep your foot from slipping, especially during sports that involve a lot of quick turns, such as soccer or lacrosse. Shoes should also be flexible. To ensure a good fit, wear the socks you normally wear when exercising, and shop at the end of the day or after a workout, when your feet are their largest. Athletic shoes that are too tight in the store won’t stretch.

Female athletes should keep in mind that girls’ feet are different from guys’. “Women tend to have a narrower heel and a wider forefoot,” says Dr. Catalano. “Don’t buy a shoe that’s designed for boys. Be sure they are sized for women.” He also recommends going to a specialty store staffed by people who know your sport. “The people in shoe megastores aren’t necessarily experts,” he says.

Replace your old shoes regularly. Most shoes lose their cushioning after three to six months of regular use. If the tread is gone or your shoes start leaning to one side, you know it’s time for a new pair. “Whatever you do, be sport-specific and, if possible, specific to your foot structure,” says Dr. Catalano. “If you’re running on trails instead of the track, look for running shoes that are geared especially to trail running. They are sturdier and more supportive than road running shoes. They’re also heavier. Generally, the lighter the shoe, the less supportive.

Think function, not fashion. Shoes with open heels, zippers instead of laces, or no arch support are accidents waiting to happen, says Dr. Catalano. “They’re not designed for athletic performance.”

Buying the right shoes and replacing them regularly will help you avoid injuries.

What’s Your Athletic shoes should have different weights, widths, soles, and cushioning, depending on what sport you use them for. Here’s a brief rundown of shoe requirements for some different activities:

  • Running: heel and forefoot cushioning, lightweight, flexible front selection section, breathable upper mesh, rough
    tread
  • Walking: cushioning under ball of the foot, lightweight, rounded sole, flexible front section
  • Basketball: high-tops for stability during jumps and landings, flat soles for quick stops and snap moves
  • Tennis: firm heel, roomy toe area, herringbone sole design, flexibility
  • Aerobics: lightweight, shock absorption for ball of the foot, side-to-side support, flexibility, smooth tread
  • Cross-training: less flexible than running shoes, stable enough for multi-directional movements

Globus, Sheila

I love sneakers

Harold Arandia, footwear designer for Onitsuka Tiger, talks about sneaker trends and how he seeks inspiration from cured fish and fried gluten bread for sneaker designs.

How did you come to design for Onitsuka Tiger?

I had a colleague that I used to work with at Adidas in Portland, who was now working at Asics for Onitsuka Tiger. I had been taking a break from footwear for three years but I always kept in touch with her and we reconnected at a good time. I love sneakers and it was just the right time for me to come back after exercising my brain on other creative ventures. Onitsuka Tiger reset the brand in 2011 and they were looking for a footwear designer specifically in their European office in the Netherlands. It was one of those times where the right things came together at the right time. I am the only non-Japanese designer at Onitsuka Tiger. So it’s an honor to me that they have accepted me into the family.

Where do you get the inspiration for your footwear designs?

Our inspiration always comes from our history and what we have done in our past as a starting point. From a silhouette standpoint running is the key style for our brand. We have history with the Tiger Corsair, an iconic runningshoe for us. The Corsair would later emerge in another brand as the start of the Nike Cortez. For summer 2014 we have several concepts like concrete jungle with unique camo influences, where we see a return to nature and materials inspired by our surroundings. I personally think inspiration comes from doing work not sitting around waiting for a lightning bolt to hit you. I travel and do a lot of research on what is modern Japan and what it means to me. But I am only a small part of a bigger, smarter team.

What does this kind of research you are doing look like?

My last trip to Japan took me to a muse- um in midtown Tokyo where they had an amazing exhibit focusing on Japanese handcrafted items. The exhibition dealt with artisan made products from one specific town. It was everything from traditional weaving processes and hand forged products to the process of making traditional Japanese foods like special pickled and cured fishes, fried gluten breads and uniquely packaged sweets.

So this gives you the inspiration for shoe design?

Yes, I love these types of exhibits because they reflect on a certain kind of Japanese artistic care and craft. It is this attention to details that is used in their items around the garden, home, food and even follows through to how it is packaged. This creates a texture of what Japan really is at its core. You have the dichotomy of modern Japan as technology, slicked up computers and then you have this very traditional side, this handcraft, methodical and rooted in history. Japan can be simple and clean vs. highly technological and detailed. All of this goes directly in the shoedesign whether it is the shapes, colors, laces, patterns or materials.

Who is really driving the trends at the moment when it comes to lifestyle sneakers?

As far as trends I think you have brands that are really strong right now like Nike, Adidas even New Balance. Our advantage is we are opening up at the right time. People want an alternative to the established brands and I think we offer something different regarding our product with its unique history. People are always looking for alternatives in everything now; we can see it in everyday items such as food. Everybody knows in America what a hamburger is but now you’re having these new expressions of fusion foods that have created new food items and culture to go along with it. This is happening across different industries and products; this is why I think this is a really good time for us. We are not an unknown brand but in some ways we are new and fresh but still have a very real history. I think this gives us an advantage to bring out our new products and introduce them to people that may not know us yet so they can have a chance to fall in love with our brand.

What kind of target groups do you aim at?

We aim at consumers 15 to 24 years old. But we already have a loyal following and group of customers. With the newer models we are trying to bring in some freshness whether in shapes or colors and expand upon what we have offered before. With some of the new models like the Shaw Runner or the Harandia we are offering something that is going to appeal to younger customers but also appeal to our current loyal consumer by giving them a more running-based lifestyle feel.

There is a really big sneaker hype still going on. Do you have an explanation for that?

I think this kind of interest in sneakers has always been around but definitely right now people want to be more comfortable. Times are different now; we are not dressing the same way that we used to. I don’t have to wear a suit and tie to work; you don’t have to wear a dress all the time. We are able to express lifestyle and ourselves and that trend goes from everything from phones to cars. I think sneakers are just a way of doing that too. People want to be comfortable and fashionable at the same time. Today people wear sneakers and are mixing it up with more formalwear and are having fun blurring the line between formal and casual looks.

So you think the lines between formalwear and streetwear will become increasingly clouded?

Yes, this is already happening and I don’t think this is a trend that is necessarily going to stop. If I look at blogs everywhere people are mixing sportswear with high fashion brands. And I see it when I go to Japan to places like Comme des Garcons. You have fashion labels that are playing around with athletic materials. I think we are in this place where things are not so defined anymore, kind of intermingling or inspired by each other era. Runway is inspired by the street and vise versa and you see that everywhere. In music you have artists like A$AP Rocky that become high fashion icons but in another side he is still an urban street performer. The market is not as defined as it was before.

Is there a sneaker trend to much more simplicity?

There is a trend of going simpler visually but it is also a contrasting technique or trend, because the way you go simpler is by getting more advanced in technology.

How important are function and techniques for Onitsuka Tiger?

We have the advantage that we have a sports heritage, so sports is always something that we are inspired from. That means we are able to use some of the technologies in a more lifestyle interpretation whether from a comfort level or to being able to execute and create a shoe in a different way. A good example of this is when we talk about technologies is the SUV, an off-road vehicle. Coming from LA I know that there are a lot of people that drive SUVs but their car has never seen mud at all, it has rims, leather seats, movie screens, etc. and this is a lifestyle interpretation of what originated as a technical performance off-road vehicle. I think in terms of shoes, people also want these functions but they are adjusted to their lifestyle. People want to have these technical functions but at the same time the lifestyle aspect is very important too.

What other trends will become important for sneakers in 2014?

I think court models are starting to emerge more in the market as well as basketball silhouettes. Right now we see all the heat on running silhouettes. From a technical standpoint it will be bigger silhouettes in general as well as bootinspired sneakers.

Do you also see a certain decade that is coming back?

At the moment everyone is trying to create a history for their brand. You have fashion brands creating fashion-sneaker styles with no real history or heritage behind them. They take inspiration from us or other sneaker brands, so when it comes to decades I think we have an advantage that some models that we have are known for a certain time period but I think it varies as to what is in the “moment” now. I think there is always a certain underlying heritage trend that you will see out in the world.

How many sneakers do you have?

Really I have too many and I am constantly getting rid of shoes.

Are we talking about a couple of hundreds?

I stopped counting. I am a shoe designer I keep the shoes that I have worked on in the past, different versions and prototypes. I like to keep products that inspire me and I can possibly use down the road to express an idea or concept. When I moved to Germany I lived on the fifth floor of the building and had no lift. One of the last things the mover brought up was this old heavy chest I had and after he lugged it up to my new flat he asked if he could see what was inside. I said sure, so he opened it and it filled with shoes. He looked at me and said: “You know we have shoes in Germany?” And I said: “But I am a footwear designer, that’s my nature.”