Hiking is never easy on your feet. Hiking 1,800-miles across New Zealand is down right brutal, which is why my Dad and I carried eNZees Foot Soother throughout our entire 5-month Te Araroa thru-hike last year.
Te Araroa crosses every type of terrain imaginable – dense rainforests, steep and rugged mountains, and dangerous braided rivers. Though this trail passes through one of the most beautiful places on earth, it was one of the most challenging “hikes” I’ve ever attempted. I couldn't afford to have foot issues!
Anytime we felt a hot-spot coming on, Dad and I would stop and either wrap eNZees around our toes or apply to our heels. In such rough and uncompromising terrain, we miraculously had very few blisters. Well, not miraculously. We were using eNZees after all!
Did you know each eNZees original, mini, and 5-pack is measured, weighed, and packaged by human hands, and not by assembly lines and machines? eNZees Foot Soother® works with SHALOM Denver, a nonprofit organization that trains and employs adults with intellectual and development disabilities, the visually impared, and with people transitioning from welfare to work.
Jill discovered SHALOM Denver while attending the summer Outdoor Retailer in Utah. Intrigued by the nonprofit's mission, Jill immediately inquired about pairing up with them to package eNZees.
SHALOM Denver, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, is part of the Jewish Family Service, a nonsectarian nonprofit founded in 1872. The organization also provides mental health services, support to senior citizens, and a Family Safety Net Program to help prevent homelessness. SHALOM Denver offers packaging, printing, small parts assembly, handwork and mailing needs.
If you needed another reason to feel good about the eNZees on your feet, this is it!
eNZees Foot Soother® is a passion project. When Jill discovered this simple, everyday method of foot care, she knew she had found her calling. Jill is building her own business from the ground up. Read about her inspiring journey in the one-on-one interview below.
Margaret: Who would have thought you can use wool to prevent hot spots and blisters! How did you discover this unusual product?
Jill: My husband and I are avid hikers back home in Durango, Colorado, however, we discovered using wool to prevent hot spots and blisters halfway across the globe while trekking in a beautiful part of southern New Zealand's Southern Alps on a trail called the Routeburn Track.
During the pre-hike orientation meeting prior to our 27-mile trek, our hiking leader recommended that we bring some of the local wool fleece with us, in case we encountered foot problems along the way. Sure enough the next day early on the trail, I began to notice hot spots building under my toes. As our trek leader had suggested, I took a moment to apply the wool fleece around and under the problem area.
I was amazed that within no more than 30 minutes the hot spot disappeared. That evening when I removed my boot and sock, the blister that I expected
was gone and my toe was soft and totally pain-free.
Wrap eNZees Foot Soother® around your toes or to any spots where you experience uncomfortable rubbing.
Margaret: What made you decide to start eNZees Foot Soother®?
Jill: I have hiked throughout the US and abroad for decades and have never seen wool used for this purpose before. I wondered how a solution as miraculous as this all-natural fleece was nowhere to be found in North America. I knew at that moment I could help anyone who has experienced blisters and other foot problems by bringing this simple product to the United States.
That evening at dinner on the Routeburn Track, we shared our foot and wool experience with a couple of friendly fellow hikers. As fate would have it, we learned that this couple were 5th-generation New Zealand sheep ranchers who were aware of the benefits of the fleece and its curative lanolin.
From that chance meeting high in the mountains of New Zealand, the vision of eNZees Foot Soother® was born. After many months of research and testing of numerous types of wool from many different ranches, I was lucky enough to connect with a sheep breeder on the South Island of New Zealand. This relationship has resulted in a consistent source of high-quality soft wool from pure-bred organic sheep that forms the basis of eNZees Foot Soother®.
Margaret: What's next for eNZees Foot Soother®?
Jill: eNZees Foot Soother® has been tested and proven by a wide variety of hikers, athletes of all types, walkers of all ages, and active professionals. Our distribution is rapidly growing and you may soon find eNZees in an outdoor gear store or running shop near you! We have also recently introduced eNZees Minis, pre-packaged "servings" of wool for easy use. They're now available in a 5-pack. You can also buy eNZees online.
Jill's energy and passion for eNZees Foot Soother® is captivating and inspiring. It's hard not to get excited about this unique and unusual method of preventing hot spots and blisters. Try it out on your next walk, run, our hiking adventure!