Where fashion meets function

Community feature: Jay Fugarazzo, Physical Therapist, ATC

Recently, we chatted with licensed physical therapist (Doctorate from Northeastern University), athletic trainer and Duckfeet fan, Jay Fugarazzo about the surprising impact of footwear on the body. He had some great tips for finding shoes that let your feet be…well…feet, and why he not only lives in his blåvands but also recommends his clients and athletes do too.

Check it out!

A little bit about Jay

I’m a physical therapist specializing in lower extremities—feet in particular. Needless to say, I’m also a shoe enthusiast, forever on the hunt for brands that successfully combine function and fashion. I’m also a lover of all things, action sports and being outside.

The impact of footwear on the body

The root cause of pain and issues with the legs, knees, hips and backs is often actually something that’s going on with the foot. And foot pain is typically not even a foot problem at all, but a footwear problem. 

Jay’s pro tips for finding a functional shoe

  1. Shoe shape = foot shape. A shoe should follow the natural curve of your splayed foot when standing. If it doesn’t, it’s going to be problematic. 
  2. A wide toe box is a must. Stuffing our feet into unnaturally narrow shoes shuts down certain muscles. We start compensating by overusing or favoring other muscles, throwing off the entire body structure. 
  3. Listen to your feet! Give your foot a chance to make the final decision on what shoe works best surrounding it, beneath it, and supporting the edges. 

Functional footwear favorites

Functional shoes that let your foot be a foot aren't traditionally very fashionable. So when I heard about Duckfeet, I was intrigued, because they actually look great! I’ve been trying them out and I really like them! 

Standout features of Duckfeet

The first thing I liked about Duckfeet was the wide toe box. Plus, it’s cool that a fashionable shoe with high-end leather and quality craftsmanship actually conforms to the foot after just the second or third wearing.

Jay’s go-to style

My go-to is the blåvand. The slip-on style fits my lifestyle really well because I’m constantly in and out of my shoes at work, demonstrating things for my clients in my bare feet. 

So with these, I've got the function, I've got the fashion, and then just such a quick transition sliding them on and off. They’re so versatile. I’ve been wearing them everywhere, all summer—to work, to the beach to surf…just haven't worn them to and from the hill when mountain biking.

Recommendation for athletes

I highly recommend the blåvands and Duckfeet in general to all my athletes, especially the ones who appreciate style. They’re a great everyday shoe when you’re not playing your sport. Many athletic shoes squeeze your toes, and these just give your feet a much needed break. 

I know when I put them on, I feel like my feet are recovering. It’s awesome.

Shop Jay’s favorite, the blåvand here.