Editor’s Note: We spoke with Mike McFarland, the owner of Gulf Soles with his wife Susan. Gulf Soles sell comfortable Florida-friendly footwear designed to improve the health of your feet. Visit their store in Englewood at 648 N. Indiana Avenue or on Venice Island at 209 Miami Ave. W. Please call 941-220-7605. Learn more at GulfSoles.com.
Mike, what’s the latest with the opening of your second store?
We opened our second location on Miami Avenue in the heart of the commercial district of Venice Island. We are enjoying meeting many new business owners and customers. Our other location is in The Towers business mall on Indiana Avenue. It’s on the right hand side as you drive into Englewood from Venice.
What are your primary brands and why do your sandals improve foot health?
Our current brands include Oofos, Telic, Aetrex, Alegria, and Revere. Each brand has helpful features related to healthy orthotics and basic comfort. The Florida-lifestyle makes comfortable sandals appealing anytime of the year.
How did owning a bowling center inspire you to focus on foot health?
Owning a bowling center for over 20 years made healthy footwear a high priority. All of the surfaces at the bowling center were tile and my feet paid a heavy price in terms of wear, tear, and constant fatigue. I suffered from plantar fasciitis and hammer toe. All of my foot pain issues dramatically improved as soon as I started wearing my first pair of Oofos with their comfortable cushion soles. Anyone that deals with foot pain can relate to how meaningful it is to finally experience relief.
How has Susan’s experience as a registered nurse influence your understanding about the importance of orthotic sandals?
Susan has more than 20 years of clinical experience. She brings a sensitivity about how orthotic sandals can support the arches in our feet with helpful cushioning. We also offer select orthotic sandals with the right touch of fashion so they can be worn more often.
Where are you and Susan from originally and what brought you to Sarasota County?
We’re both from the Brainard area in Minnesota north of Minneapolis. After we sold our bowling center, Susan became a travel nurse which enabled us to explore the U.S. for more than three and a half years. A desire for living in warmer weather brought us to Florida. She initially worked at Venice Regional Bayfront Hospital. We love living in the area and helping our customers find the right sandals for them and their loved ones.