Water + Sole Looks to Set Sarasotans On the Right Foot

Todays News


With all the benefits of a walkable downtown area full of restaurants to visit, theaters to attend, boutiques to shop in and public art to admire, comes that one pesky drawback—sore and stinking feet after a long day hustling in the Sarasota sun. But where some see obstacles, entrepreneurs see opportunity, and the newly opened Water + Sole Foot Spa aims to turn barking dogs into pampered pups with accessible and affordable massage for the Sarasotan on the go.

Located off Second Street by Whole Foods, the escape begins the moment customers enter the door, with curtains blocking out the harsh sun and essential oils perfuming the air—and this quick transformation is part of the Water + Sole ethos, which aims to get customers in, massaged and spoiled, and back to their day as quickly as possible. “The massage for the modern person,” says owner Doug King. With no messy oils, long waits or even a need to disrobe, a massage at Water + Sole is all about getting rejuvenated and refreshed before heading right back to work or hitting the town for round two.

Led into the back by one of the spa’s licensed massage therapists—“Specialists, not generalists,” says King, who wanted something more sophisticated and a step above the casual cosmetologist foot rub—and visitors have seemingly left Florida far behind, arriving in a dimly lit and cavernous room full of Himalayan salt lamps, soothing music and 15 evenly spaced and arranged massage stations, separated by flowing diaphanous curtains.

Guests can choose one of two services—either the 25-minute massage or the 50-minute massage. Both begin with a seated foot soak (aromatherapeutic oils by request), as the massage therapist tends to the neck and shoulders, before guiding clients to a reclining position for some special attention to the calves and feet. Swaddled in a warm blanket and with a warm cloth over the eyes, this is where many clients fall asleep, or “drift,” as King puts it. The 25-minute massage ends there, but the 50-minute includes additional arm and hand massage. Importantly, phones are off and talking is kept to a minimum.

“This is providing a more accommodating and less intimidating form of body work,” says Spa Manager Samantha Wuerfel, who, along with King, sees Water + Sole as more than a spa, but as a refuge from a world constantly asking for more. “We’re all so connected to our phones and the business of our lives,” she says. “This gives people a chance to actually connect with themselves—to connect with their bodies, listen to what’s going on and promote well-being.”

And for King, who wants to see Water + Sole franchise across Sarasota, this is just the first step—for him and Sarasota. “Taking care of our feet—doing therapeutic massage and pampering them a little bit—absolutely helps your health,” says King. “Truly, health starts from the feet up.”

Pictured: Three dimly lit massage stations in the back area of Water + Sole Foot Spa. Photo by Kevin Quick of PhotoSRQ.

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