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A lesson from Vibram shoes

Have you seen those crazy looking “toe shoes” around?  They look like gloves for your feet and the stores can barely keep them in stock.

The theory is that generations of arch supports, orthotics and insoles have made our feet lazy.  They say since our foot muscles no longer needed to work, they just gave up.  Screwed up knees, hip pain and plantar fasciitis is the supposed result.  The shoes recreate the “barefoot experience” to rebuild our natural support.

Well, of course I had to try them.  They look strange enough to fit my personality.  The verdict?  They were not cheap, but they seemed to work.  After a few days of adjusting, I no longer pronate my ankles so much, my arches are high and my calves are looking fit!

A few days ago I took my odd little loafers for a walk on the Vancouver seawall.  On the beach there were dozens of kids running around on the sand… barefoot.  Then it hit me.  I had paid good money for the “barefoot experience” those kids were getting for free!

However, I still have and wear my silly shoes almost daily.  The stores keep selling them, and every shoe maker is getting in on the act.

Pay attention travel agents.  Obviously, those shoes are totally unnecessary.  Everyone who bought them can get the same experience free by going barefoot.

But, the pricey shoes came with advice on how to rebuild slowly and avoid injury. They are the result of professional research.” They also create a sense of status and fun!

As consumers, we rarely think of things we get for free as professional, or associate them with status.  Now consider travel agency professional fees.

Everyone can just take off their shoes and find a fee-free cruise from countless websites and agencies.  Yet every day, some travel agents successfully charge substantial fees where others struggle with the tiniest of service charges.  The difference is, the successful ones understand they aren’t selling cruises.  They are selling themselves.

People will definitely pay you for something they could get for free. That is, if you stop thinking like a travel agent, and start thinking like a dream designer—or a shoe maker.

Nolan Burris is an author, former travel agent, failed musician and self-professed techno-geek. He’s also a popular international speaker both inside and outside of the travel industry.  He is the founder and chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions (futureprooftravel.com) based in Vancouver, Canada.  Nolan’s believes that if can change the way business works, you’ll change the world. His goal is to spread the message of integrity and ethics in a techno-driven world.

  2 thoughts on “A lesson from Vibram shoes

  1. Great message as usual Nolan!

  2. Chanté says:

    What a great perspective, and tying in the travel profession with weird shoes…only you could do that Nolan 🙂

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