Springbak shoe insoles promise Olympic success

Clayton Arakawa
Clayton Arakawa

By Diane Ako - bio | email and Tai Hiranaka

AIEA (KHNL) - Want to run like an Olympian? There's one product on the market now that claims to help some Olympic athletes put a spring in their step. It's called the Springbak insole.

We can't all be the fastest man in the world like Jamacian Olympian Usain Bolt, who bolted to a gold in the Olympic 100 meter event on Saturday, but if a day of running leaves your feet feeling 'defeated,' this springbak shoe insole might help.

Oahu distributor Clayton Arakawa owns The Shoe Doctor http://www.theshoedoctor.com/ in Aiea. "They are a mix of rubber with the highest resilience in the world," he described, then demonstrated, dropping two ball bearings on the ground. The one that hit the asphalt didn't bounce. The one that hit the rubber mat made of Springbak material bounced high.

That's what it can do for the feet of athletes or people who stand a lot for work, he said. "It is guaranteed to increase strength, make you run faster, jump higher, and decrease fatigue," Arakawa continued.

Well known runner Ray Woo gave it a try. Owner of Aiea shoe store Runners HI, Woo is familiar with insoles. "I was a little skeptical because I sell a lot of insoles here," he smiled.

He tried it a few times and said he liked it. "It makes you run more comfortably, and the results are more efficient," he said.

The Shoe Doctor already makes custom insoles for your feet. Arakawa says people's feet change over time and that affects your joints and spine. "When your foundation goes out of alignment everything goes a little off. Orthotics correct that."

Ray Woo put Springbak underneath his custom orthotics. "Since I started orthotics, it got rid of my injuries, and as far as prevention, it hasn't come back." With testimonials like that, Springbak may just be a runaway success.

Springbak Corporation's owner Mr. Crow told me he's sold more than 40,000 insoles, including to individual members of the 2004 US Olympic mens' volleyball team and the 2000 Australian Olympic womens' basketball team.

Springbak Corporation's general manager Mark Vona wrote to tell me, "The UH women's volleyball team used the Springbaks in their volleyball program four years ago. Several players this year ordered them directly from Springbak, but no team orders. I know Grant Kidani, an attorney in Honolulu, is currently working with Univerity of Hawaii and Punahou to get them back in to their athletic programs. We do have several Olympians using the Springbaks this year in Beijing."

Derek Inouchi, Media Relations Director for University of Hawai'i Athletics, said the UH womens' volleyball team does not officially use Springbak.