After trying them out at the urging of her podiatrist, Dr. Frank Zappa, emergency-room nurse Linda Luczak has come to like her spring-heeled shoes so much she bought two more pairs. Some of her coworkers have taken to calling her “Tigger,” but she says the comfort’s worth it: “You can work 12, 14 hours, and your legs don’t hurt you.” Called Z-Coils, the shoes were invented in the 80s by a New Mexico runner and shoe salesman named Al Gallegos, who designed a prototype to relieve pain he suffered in his knees and feet. Laughed out the door by shoe manufacturers around the country, he saw an ad from a firm in South Korea, sent in his design, and the rest is history–this fall the company reported its most profitable year. Since Luczak started wearing Z-Coils, a couple of other nurses at Our Lady of Resurrection Hospital have followed suit. “They feel so great,” she says. “It’s like you’re walking on carpet, real soft carpet.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.