About Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear

Necessity is the mother of invention, and nowhere is that more apparent than the history of Z-CoiL®, the World's Leading Pain Relief Footwear.

One Runner's Pain Relief Mission

Alvaro Z. Gallegos was running an average of seven miles a day when he started experiencing all the typical injuries associated with running: heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain and back pain. Although he owned a shoe store and had access to all types of running shoes, he was u...

About Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear

Necessity is the mother of invention, and nowhere is that more apparent than the history of Z-CoiL®, the World's Leading Pain Relief Footwear.

One Runner's Pain Relief Mission

Alvaro Z. Gallegos was running an average of seven miles a day when he started experiencing all the typical injuries associated with running: heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain and back pain. Although he owned a shoe store and had access to all types of running shoes, he was unable to find any product that eased his pain and allowed him to continue running. So, Al decided to make his own.

Innovative Design

Realizing that impact was the source of all his pain, Al reasoned that a spring to act as a shock absorber in the heel of the shoe would reduce the impact; the spring would also provide energy return, which would help him run farther and faster.

After a number of experiments, Al found that a three-inch-wide conical steel coil worked best. He had a local butcher cut open his soles, glued in the springs and went for a run…"and it was glorious!" The coils worked exactly as intended, providing pain relief and, as it turns out, protecting him from new or exacerbating old running injuries.

A Manufacturing Partner Willing to Gamble

The popularity of Al's coil shoes with friends and family prompted Al to search for a shoe manufacturer that would make these shoes available to the millions of people suffering from running-related injuries. But most manufacturers weren't interested. Finally, Al found an ad from a small South Korean shoe manufacturer looking for new clients. Mr. Yong Oh Lee, who had made shoes for Nike and Reebok, was willing to take on the challenge of creating Al's innovative new shoe for $50.

Over two years, Mr. Lee produced a number of prototypes. In 1995, Al patented his design and with 2,000 pairs of Z-01 shoes, billed as the "best running shoe ever," Al, joined by his son Andres, a pharmaceutical product manager, opened the doors to Z-Tech, Inc. in Albuquerque, NM.

Expanding the Pain Relief Mission

It didn't take long before Andres began to realize the true benefit of his father's spring-heeled, impact-reducing shoes—pain relief. At the same time, advances in technology made a built-in, rigid orthotic possible for Z-Tech shoes. Much the way a car's steel frame supports its shock absorbers, this firm platform inside the shoe combined with the coil in the heel and thick cushioning in the forefoot provided even better overall support for the foot, and so the next generation of footwear—the Freedom 2000—was developed.

The revolution in footwear design prompted a rebranding. Z-Tech, Inc. was renamed Z-CoiL to better reflect the nature of the product and the company's new mission—to launch a whole new Pain Relief Footwear industry.

Where We Are Today

Over the next several years, Z-CoiL experienced exponential growth as news spread about the pain relief these shoes delivered. Z-CoiL expanded its network of authorized distributors across North America at the same time it expanded its own corporate staff and facilities. In In 2005 Z-CoiL launched its retail franchise opportunity, and in 2007 it began enlisting Affiliate Vendors who carry the Z-CoiL line in addition to other comfort and pain-relief footwear products. To better serve customers in remote areas, Z-CoiL began offering Internet and telephone sales and a new 30-day risk-free trial policy in 2010.

Al Gallegos, inventor and innovator, now in his early eighties remains actively involved with product research and development for Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear, where he also serves as Chairman of the Board. The company's President and CEO, Andrés Gallegos, was honored as Small Business Person of 2005 by the New Mexico Small Business Administration.

Adopt Our Mission

Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear has allowed millions of people to find relief from impact-induced lower body pain and resume healthy, active lifestyles, and you can join them! Shop our full line of pain relief footwear to find the style and support that's right for you.

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Privacy and Security

Privacy Policy

Z-CoiL Footwear is committed to ensuring the privacy of its customers. We will not sell your e-mail address or other personal information to, or share it with, any other organization. We know your privacy is important to you. We comply with guidelines set by various privacy organizations so that we can offer peace of mind.

What if I wear a half size?  What size do I order?

Z-CoiL does not make half sizes. Instead all Z-CoiL Footwear ship with an extra 3mm insert that makes up 1/2 size.  For example if you wear a size 7.5 you would buy a Z-CoiL size 8.  Simply add the 3mm insert below the primary insole and you will be walking in style.

Is Z-CoiL footwear stable?

Many customers report that they actually feel more stable in their Z-CoiL footwear than in regular shoes. The coil in the heel is cone-shaped, and so it compresses straight down, following the line of least resistance rather than tipping. The flexible coil also absorbs some surface deviations to protect the ankle.

What types of painful conditions may be alleviated by wearing Z-CoiL® footwear?

Z-CoiL-wearers have reported significant relief from the pain associated with many medically-diagnosed conditions, including:
Heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsal pain
Lower back pain and sciatica
Arthritis and other common joint pains

How soon before I can expect results?

The relief our customers experience may be immediate, or may occur gradually, over days or even weeks. Some people enjoy complete relief from pain when wearing their Z-CoiL shoes; others achieve only partial relief, though they may be able to reduce the amount of pain medication they take.

Does it take a long time to get used to wearing Z-CoiL footwear?

Most people get used to wearing the footwear right away. Others may take several hours or even a couple of days to adjust to the extraordinary feeling of the shoes. If this is the case, we suggest you wear your Z-CoiL shoes for a few hours each day at first, and gradually increase that time until you feel more comfortable in them.

It is also normal to experience some soreness in your legs during the first few weeks of wearing Z-CoiL shoes, due to the increased mobility they provide. If you continue to experience pain in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, or back while wearing your Z-CoiL footwear, however, you should take them off and return to your Z-CoiL distributor for a footwear adjustment.

Can objects get caught in the open coil?

Small rocks or loose materials may occasionally get caught in the coil, but they should be easy to remove with a simple shake. We do recommend caution around cords, wires, hoses, and chairs with rungs, which may catch in the coil.

Can I drive wearing Z-CoiL footwear?

Yes, but be careful not to let the floor mat or pedals catch on the coil. Also be aware that the shoes thick cushioning may reduce your feel for the pedals. You may need to move your seat back an inch or so to compensate for the thickness of the forefoot cushioning. If you feel unsafe driving in your Z-CoiL footwear, wear other shoes.

Can I use my Z-CoiL footwear to play sports?

Our customers have reported using their Z-CoiL shoes for walking, running, hiking, golf, and more, although we do not recommend them for sports that involve significant lateral movement, like tennis. You need to be the judge of how Z-CoiL products will work for you. Many people have been able to become more active and get back in the game because of their Z-CoiL footwear.

Can I use custom orthotics with them?

You certainly can. In fact, Z-CoiL footwear makes an ideal footbed for custom orthotics. 

Aren't Z-CoiL shoes considered high heels?

Not at all. The Z-CoiL heel, when uncompressed, is only about 1/2 of an inch higher than the cushioned forefoot. When the coil compresses, an average distance of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch, the heel is level or just slightly higher than the forefoot. This minimal heel rise is beneficial to most people, helping them achieve a healthier, more erect standing posture. In the rare event that this is not the case, the coils can be adjusted to a lower effective heel height.

How long will my Z-CoiL shoes last?

The steel coils can last a lifetime, though the rubber heel pad will probably last between six months and two years with normal use. People who put their Z-CoiL footwear to hard use may wear through the pad in three months, while those who go easy on their footwear have been known to wear them for several years. Fortunately, even if the heel pad does wear out, there's no need to buy a new pair of shoes. The coil/heel pad assembly can easily be replaced by a Z-CoiL distributor at a minimal cost.

By comparison, most running or comfort shoes with EVA or gel-based soles have a life of 200 miles or 3 months, at which time their cushioning is reduced by 50%.

Some of your shoes have optional foam heel covers; why don't you cover up the coils on all your styles?

We do make an Enclosed Heel System™(ECS) that comes standard with our Z-Duty Work Boot and Z-Walker Safety Toe styles, and can also be retrofitted on our other styles. The ECS is designed to address workplace safety concerns, in environments where objects are more likely to get caught in an open coil. The molded foam material that encases the coil slows the speed at which the coil compresses, which dampens its shock-absorbing capabilities to some degree, although a stiffer coil also proves useful when a person is picking up heavy objects.

At first, many people are taken aback by the appearance of our shoes; however, those who put them on and experience significant relief from pain soon see them in a different light!

Where are Z-CoiL shoes manufactured?

Z-CoiL Footwear is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the products are designed and engineered. Our products are manufactured in South Korea, China and the United States. Originally, Al Gallegos had tried for years to find a U.S. shoe manufacturer willing to produce his unusual shoes, but they all laughed at his idea and turned him down. Our intention is to move more of our footwear parts to the United States, however, we expect that some parts will continue to be built outside the United States long term. Our current manufacturing partners in Asia produces shoes for many well known high quality U.S. shoe brands.

Will my insurance cover some of the cost of Z-CoiL shoes?

Because Z-CoiL footwear is designed for pain relief and incorporates a medical-grade orthotic, you may be able to get a prescription for the footwear from your doctor and receive some level of reimbursement from your insurance company. Check your health plan to see whether your insurance covers prescription orthotics. Some employers also have safety or workplace shoe reimbursement programs. Check with your HR Department. In addition, some Z-CoiL distributors accept Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cards with your doctor's prescription. You can then use your doctor's prescription and store receipt as justification for the medical expense.

Will Z-CoiL footwear help me jump higher?

No, but you will land softer.

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How Z-CoiL's Patented Technology Works

  1. Revolutionary Cushioning makes each step feel easy, light and enjoyable. It's unlike anything you have felt before. The Z-CoiL Spring actually reduces impact up to 60% more than conventional shoes making each step safer and softer. Tests performed by the US Department of Energy showed average reduction in impact by 40-60%! Your body will love the Z-CoiL Spring.
  2. Your feet will love the Z-CoiL Orthotic, which allows you to glide across any hard or uneven surface.  An orthotic is a rigid foundation that protects your entire foot, preventing pain, heel spurs, and plantar fascia.  You will notice improved posture, stability and confidence in each step.
  3. Other Features:
  • Rocker bottom sole that assists forward motion and limits movement during toe-off
  • Flex line at the forefront of the foot to encourage bending at the ball of the foot
  • Extra wide toe box to relieve pressure on toe joints.Orthotic

Z-CoiL® Pain Relief Footwear®'s revolutionary technology isn't really revolutionary at all. It's evolutionary. It's engineered to help you stride the way the human body was designed to, in an environment that the human body was not designed for.

Gait Cycle and the Kinetic Chain

Humans propel themselves through the concrete jungle the same way they have for thousands of years: heel strike → full forefoot load → heel lift → toe off. During a normal gait cycle, your heel makes contact and immediately redistributes the force—twice your body weight on each foot—up along the side of your foot, the part of your foot designed to actually absorb impact and transfer energy to continue forward motion.

However, not all impact is transferred up your foot. Much energy is transferred along what chiropractors call the kinetic chain: heels → ankles → shins → knees → thighs → hips → pelvic girdle/lower back.

Unlike the environments our ancestors walked, today's concrete and other hard surfaces are much less forgiving, resulting in significantly more stress to the body. Every day we experience thousands of collisions with the ground. The greater impact delivered up the kinetic chain, sometimes exacerbated by an improper gait cycle (over-pronation or supination), compromise the human body's ability to absorb and redistribute stress forces, causing injuries.

Impact Reduction, Stability and the Problem with Modern Footwear

Preventing stress injury and providing relief for existing injuries requires impact reduction—i.e., footwear that actually limits the amount of force that travels up the kinetic chain. However, cushioning impact alone will not ensure healthy joints and pain relief. Shoes that offer a lot of padding actually encourage atrophy in the muscles of the foot. Weak muscles can lead to a number of compensating movements, many of which direct stress forces to areas of the foot that are not designed to absorb impact.

Unfortunately, most modern footwear has taken an either-or approach to solving the problem of increased impact along the kinetic chain. Either they provide cushiony soles to reduce the force of impact but allow the flexibility for soft tissues to move outside a normal range of motion, or they provide a rigid sole to keep the foot (and stress forces) in a natural range of motion but with very little impact-absorption, resulting in high impact all the way up the kinetic chain.

Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear is the only shoe that offers both the impact reduction and stability you need for pain relief, injury prevention and whole body support Z-CoiL shoes have the:

  • Patented conical spring in the heel, which reduces impact by 40-60% (according to tests performed by the American Department of Energy) and provides energy return, reducing fatigue.
  • Patented Z-Orthotic™ to stabilize tendons and ligaments.Rocker bottom sole that assists forward motion and limits movement during toe-off.
  • Flex line at the forefront of the foot to encourage bending at the ball of the foot.
  • Extra wide toe box to relieve pressure on toe joints.

All elements of our shoe design provide Z-CoiL treatment—effective pain relief from a number of lower body impact-induced conditions.

Try Z-CoiL Technology for Yourself

All Z-CoiL pain relief footwear products come with a risk-free 30-day trial. You've got nothing to lose but pain! 

Z-CoiL Customer Testimonials

"This was the best investment I have ever made on footwear. On March 14, 2008, I had major lower lumbar back surgery for an L5 herniated disc.  While suffering through recovery after my surgery, I tried to find a shoe that made it possible for me to walk comfortably and not feel the tightness in my back resulting from my back surgery.   My first experience of wearing the Z-CoiL shoe was, I turned and looked at my wife and said, "I am never taking these shoes off." My wife is also wearing Z-CoiL shoes for comfort and support due to being pregnant with our first set of twins. This was putting a definite strain on her back and giving her significant problems in her back, hips and knees while standing or walking.   I am pain-free while still recovering from surgery. Now, I and my wife take daily walks without feeling the tightness in my back and her not feeling the weight of the twins. THANK YOU Z-COIL!"  ~Shondon Martin

"God Bless you for your vision for Z-CoiL.  I was working as a nurse in a small hospital, and working my off days at a medical center.  I had such severe plantar fasciitis, it was very painful to work.   My daughter, who was in Albuquerque at the time, was working at the heart institute and heard about Z-CoiLs.  She gave me my first pair for Christmas.  They made a huge difference in my life and my ability to work my long twelve hour shifts.  Within two days I could work pain free.  It was a miracle!  Since then I have had many other pairs, and they got me to the point I could wear other shoes when I wanted to and still be pain free.  They are amazing and last for years.  I know that you made them originally for your son, but you have helped millions!  Again, God Bless you!"  ~Mary Ann Myers

"I was born with spiral scoliosis and after becoming a nurse I ruptured a disc at the L5/L4 spinal area of my back.  Needless to say I have suffered unbelievable pain for most of my life.  It was in 2008 that I learned about Z-CoiLs and went to the nearest store and was fitted with Z-CoiL sandals.  They were a God send!  I often get comments about my "cool shoes" even from strangers.  I now own 4 pair of Z-CoiLs and probably 6 more if I had a closet room for them.  Ha!  Thank you Z-CoiL and thank you Al Gallegos.  I know mine is only one of many such stories."  ~Jimmie Branson, RN

"My wife Kathy and I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). My wife has degenerative disc disorder and a fusion from a broken back caused by a car accident.  I have had increasing problems with RA over the past ten years or so, often requiring the use of a cane or simply staying home.   During our visits to the surgeon and pain management doctors over the past two years, we noticed many nurses wearing very odd footwear. We discussed the footwear with a couple of nurses who extolled the benefits of having springs on their feet and these ladies and gentlemen were convinced that they would have been forced to give up their profession were it not for these comfortable shoes.  I purchased a pair of Z-CoiL shoes and now that I am used to Z-CoiL shoes, all other shoes hurt.   As an engineer, I can appreciate that springs behave in a unique manner of physics known as Hookes law: the force exerted is a linear function of extension or compression. In other words, the spring slows your step down with a slow, constant force, rather than an abrupt stop.   I am impressed with your product. The benefits have exceeded my expectations by far, and the improvement in our quality of life has been outstanding. Thank you."  ~Steve Shirley

"I want to assure you that I have been a one woman ambassador for your shoes for many many years.  My career was as an R.N., though sadly retired at an early age now due to my injuries.  BUT your shoes kept me working many more years than I would have been able to without the shoes.   It was very effective at the gym because people could see all the scars on my knees from what ended being eleven surgeries.  I used to joke with people that I should be paid as a salesman due to all the people I talked to about my "miracle shoes" and next thing you know when I saw them guess what they were wearing??..lol  Actually though it just made me feel good to know that they would now be pain free on their feet." ~Miss Mary Hansen

"I've had Z-CoiL shoes for twelve years.  I have arthritis and twelve years ago I used canes to walk.  The first three steps were always the worst.  I was becoming a cripple.  After about three weeks of wearing Z-CoiLs the inflammation went away.  I try to walk 10,000 steps per day now.  My health is better.  I don't use canes anymore either.  Arthritis without inflammation is livable.  I have dress shoes, sneakers, sandals, and hiking boots.  All are Z-CoiLs.  I am now retired and my wife and I travel.  My future has promise.  Thanks Al for your invention of Z-CoiL shoes." ~Russell Williams

What's Ailing You?

At first glance, Z-CoiL® shoes often strike people as some kind of gimmick.  Invented in Albuquerque by a runner in his 50s who still runs and competes age 83, the footwear reduces the damaging effects of repetitive impact on the body by acting as shock absorbers for the feet and body.  Z-CoiL resolves many painful ailments of the feet, knees, hips, and lower back that are typically caused by overuse, injury, or disease.

Below are a number of medical conditions which Z-CoiL footwear may be effective for.  As always, use proper medical advice in the assessment and treatment of any medical conditions. Contact Z-CoiL for more questions about how Z-CoiL may help your particular situation.

The Foot

  • Heel Spurs
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Mortons Neuroma
  • Mortons Neuroma Surgery Alternative
  • Neuropathy Footwear
  • Dropped Foot
  • Flat Feet Footwear
  • Diabetic Neuropathy Footwear
  • Bunions
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Flat Feet Footwear

The Back

  • Lower Back Pain Footwear
  • Lower Back Pain

The Joints

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Hip Pain


  • Impact Reduction
  • Shock Absorption

Shop with Confidence

With Z-CoiL®, you can shop with confidence.

  • We've sold over 1 million pairs of footwear since 1995.
  • We're so confident you'll love our footwear, we offer an unconditional 30 day return policy.
  • We're proud to be the original spring shoe
  • We've received hundreds of happy testimonials over the years, with customer's siting everything from foot to back pain relief, for dozens of conditions.

Comparison Chart

Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear Comparison Chart

Z-CoiL wants you to make informed choices about your health. When it comes to lower body pain, there are many pain relief solutions available, including footwear. The chart below shows you how Z-CoiL® Pain Relief Footwear® compares to other major shoe brands for foot care and lower body joint pain relief.

Don’t Settle for Less

The innovative design and patented technology of Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear provide significant impact reduction and foot stability that effectively treats a number of conditions that cause pain all the way up the kinetic chain—from the feet to the lower back. No other shoe comes close to providing the pain relief that Z-CoiL treatment offers.

You can try any Z-CoiL product risk-free for 30 days. To find the pain relief footwear that best fits your lifestyle and personal style, find a Z-CoiL distributor near you or contact us to order. You’ve got nothing to lose but your pain!

Orthotic Alternative

Orthotic Alternative

Doctors and foot specialists may recommend or prescribe orthotics for a number of reasons:

  • To provide arch support for flat feet
  • To restrict or aid mobility in the ankle and foot
  • As complementary treatment for back pain

Most orthotic treatments entail custom devices fabricated to fit a mold of your foot (and ankle/lower leg). While custom orthotics conform to your body’s unique contours, they often do not fit easily in your shoes.

Many custom and after-market orthotics are flexible and do not have the strength required to effectively support the plantar ligaments. In fact, flexibility defeats the purpose of an orthotic entirely.

Z-CoiL® Pain Relief Footwear®‘s patented technology and innovative design provides a better alternative.

Features for Foot Support

Unlike after-market orthotics that may cramp foot space, Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear has a built-in orthotic. The Z-Orthotic™ provides rigid support for plantar ligaments, but because it is integrated into the shoe’s structure, it allows ample room in the toe box.

The Z-Orthotic™ gently curves to provide arch support, and may be adjusted to better fit your arch height. The Z-Orthotic is incredibly rigid and supportive, made from the highest quality materials giving you years of reliable support.

In addition to the orthotic, Z-CoiL Footwear can be ordered with custom fit replaceable arch insoles called Z-Fit.  The Z-Fit Custom Arch insole allows you to select the arch support height most comfortable for you.

Features for Lower Body Joint Support and Pain Relief

The Z-Orthotic alone may help to correct abnormal gaits (i.e. over-pronation or supination) that often result in pain up the kinetic chain in the ankles, knees, hips and back. But more significant pain relief treatment is achieved by the unique spring-loaded heel.


Z-CoiL‘s patented coil reduces impact by up to 60% (according to tests conducted by the US Department of Energy) with every step. The impact reduction protects delicate joints from jarring movements. Because the coils can be rotated to balance abnormal gaits, they encourage natural joint alignment, which helps reduce inflammation and promote healing.


A Cost-Effective Alternative

Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear may be covered by your health benefits plans if orthotics have been prescribed for foot, ankle or back pain. Talk to your health care provider about the Z-CoiL alternative to custom after-market orthotics or insoles.

Find the Z-CoiL shoes that fit your style and preferred activities.


Try Risk Free

We are so sure you’ll find relief that we offer the only 30 Day Risk Free Guarantee in the shoe industry. That’s right – you have 30 days to walk, run, test and decide if Z-CoiL Footwear works in your real life.  If not send your shoes back and we’ll give you a full refund with no questions asked.  Z-CoiL shoes DO NOT need to be returned in new condition. So you’ve got nothing to lose but your pain!


Z-CoiL Pain Relief Footwear provides a better alternative to custom orthotics for foot, ankle and back pain treatment. Order yours today!

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