The Generalist

Walking, Only Better

Women's Shape Ups
Women's Shape Ups

I really love these sneakers.

There was a time when I enjoyed working out in the gym, but these days, I prefer being outdoors. For that reason, and because I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of nearly everywhere I would need to go, I get most of my daily exercise by walking. Walking is a comfortable low impact activity, too, which allows for a lot of thinking, nature watching, chatting, language study, and so on, to be done at the same time. You also save money on gas.

So, I like walking.

About a month ago I decided I needed a new pair of shoes. I wanted something lightweight, slipper-like, good for hot weather. But when I got to the store, I was suddenly faced with a whole other need.

In general, I have been a fan of Skechers brand shoes for a while now. I find them to be reasonable priced, they last me a good long time, they’re confortable (I’ve never really had to “break-in” a pair), and they’re stylish, too. Many of their comfortable sneaker styles are stylish enough to wear to the office. But these particular sneakers, at first glance, looked a little strange to me. I figured the sole was some kind of trendy thing, which generally doesn’t appeal to me. But then it became clear that the sole had a purpose other than looking cool. And with that in mind, I realized they just might do what they say they do.

They’re called Shape-Ups and the idea is to making walking on pavement kind of like walking in soft sand, where your heel sinks down into the sand forcing you to carry through the full range of motion from heal to toe. Sand, however, slips against itself, making it difficult to walk comfortably, but with these sneakers, you get the full range of motion, without the loss of traction. As faddish as it might sound, they really do increase the workout of a walk.

Men's Shape-Ups
Men's Shape-Ups

As you would expect, walking in these sneakers is very much a workout for the calf muscles. It is similar to what you might get from standing on the edge of a step with your heel hanging over and repeatedly lifting yourself up. What you might not expect is that walking in these sneakers will also strengthen your back muscles and abdominals. After walking around in them for a few days I noticed a soreness in my upper abdominals that surprised me. But it makes sense when you consider that the shape of the sole of the shoe causes a change in in your posture while you walk. My walks have indeed become a better workout for me thanks to these sneakers. They’re pretty, too.

The Shape-Ups didn’t require a ‘break-in’ period, but they did require a day or two of getting used to. The strangeness is rather slight though, and I was able to walk a full mile and a half the very first day I put them on.

You can read more about Shape-Ups by clicking the link below. (To watch the video follow the white “Click Here” text)

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