The advertisements are alluring… a flip-flop designed for the fitness fashionista! Fittingly called the FitFlop ®, this summer shoe designed by personal trainer and working mom Marcia Kilgore, is a hit around the globe. As the Key West Weekly set out walking in a pair one day, we discovered this thong pairs perfect in our tropical environment.

“I really like the way they bounce you to your next step. They just sort of bounce you along.”

George Caffery is living the carefree Keys’ lifestyle, which also means she walks everywhere. After six hours at her shift on the floor of Ben Franklin’s framing department, she heads down to Duval on any given night. This particular evening we caught her after she hit Aqua Nightclub and Cowboy Bills, and there was still a spring in her step!

“I have three pairs, and actually they’re more fashionable than the shoes I’ve usually worn for comfort. Plus, it’s fun to have something that looks like flip flops, like everyone else is wearing, but I actually have on a really good shoe,” she showed off her soles.

Caffery is wearing the FitFlop®, a shoe created to make walking a more effective form of exercise that is also fashion friendly. Featuring a Microwobbleboard, the shoe works by absorbing 22 percent more shock in the heel to relieve joint stress, in the midsection to create instability to increase leg muscle activation and in the toe. The sole is mid density to help maintain speed, pace and variation.

“As you walk and disperse the weight, you’re dispersing your weight into the lower-density foot bed and by doing that, you’re activating the muscles of the feet, the hamstrings, the calves, the buttocks,” said owner of The Sole Man, John Brandolino. “This wobbleboard actually sits you on a plane; so, you can better your posture and the way you walk. The brunt force isn’t going through your knees anymore.”

Instead, the 500 pounds of pressure comes through your hips.

Brandolino first saw the FitFlop here in Florida. He was in South Beach and saw women strutting down the famed Lincoln Avenue in them.

“I saw them”, he explained, “and thought this makes sense. Before I bring anything into my store, I ask people about the product. So, I talked to a dog walker wearing them. You know dog owners walk a lot! She told me she never wears regular flip flops, but always wears the FitFlop when walking her Fido!”

The Key West Weekly, wondering what all the hype was about took, off on a trek of around town – after logging six miles on the treadmill. My toes, sore from the impact, slipped on a sharp pair of the Walk Star in black. Ahh, freedom for my feet! I went from Simonton and US 1 to the Coffee and Tea House on Duval, down United, worked my way over to the Casa Marina neighborhood, toured the shoreline via Atlantic Boulevard, gazed at the beach and made my way back. With my iPhone in hand, iPod turned on and hat to protect my face from the sun, I felt freedom seeing my toes as I cruised around Key West.

Initially not sold on the style, passerbys proved me wrong with waves, smiles, and nods of approval.

“Key West is a place you walk,” Brandolino told us. “For an avid Key Wester, these are perfect.”

John sells the FitFlops to clients anywhere between the ages of five and 95. He says they appeal to every demographic, especially those coming off the ships.

He laughed, “They didn’t know they were going to walk so much. They leave the ship and head to the Southernmost Point, and then to the cemetery, that’s a lot of walking. This is a fabulous, fashionable walking shoe, perfect for the climate.”

Plus, he has many local repeat customers like George, who bounce in after a day of work, and night on the town, looking to increase their FitFlop wardrobe.

“I’ve always worn good shoes,” George told us. “I have the black suede, the bronze, the FitFlop Clogs in black suede. I want turquoise suede and fuchsia if they come in that color.”

She may just be in luck. Since the FitFlop has done everything except “flop”, the design is available in more colors and styles than ever. They even have a line for men!

The men’s FitFlop comes in three colors and the Freeway Slide in two. As for the ladies looking to emulate the toned image the company has done a successful job of touting, they can get fit in the Walk Star I, II or III, Oasis, Peatra, Go, Go II, Muckluck (a sherling-lined, winter boot, or even the Electra. A very elegant FitFlop lined with all Swarovski crystals appeals to those looking to splurge on a more sultry style for evening but save their precious peds from pain! 

Sizes run 5 – 11 for women and 8 – 13 for men and range in price from $49 – $225.

John claimed, “This isn’t just a gimmick. A lot of research went into the FitFlop. You can feel yourself dispersing the weight, and the shoe will tone your legs, calves, and gluts and protect your vertebrae from shock absorption.”

Just in time for summer!

“You do feel it,” claimed George who’s on her feet working at least 36 hours a week. “I notice the workout. My muscles are sore.”


The Sole Man, located at 610 Duval is open daily from 10 am – 10 pm. Walk on over!



The Electra comes in pewter, black, and bronze sequins that add spring to your step and style to your wardrobe.



The Freeway Slide for men comes in black or grizzly.



Ben Franklin’s George Caffery flaunts the FitFlop at work and at play!



Caffery is a rock star in the Rockstar Walkstar. The Sole Man is one of less than a dozen specialty stores in the country carrying this limited edition this season. This sparkling sandal is dusted with dozens of Swarovski elements but still has the ability to strengthen and tone as you walk.


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