Last week I joined a friend on what I thought would be a silly post-work pow-wow, and ended up to be quite the workout! After seeing people in Central Park running (with their dogs, no less!) with what can only be described as a hybrid between a ski boot and a moon shoe, we decided to hunt the shoes down and see what the buzz was all about. The shoes, called Kangoo Jumps, are for Kangoo running and have actually been around since the ’90s. Over the past few years, they’ve started popping up more and more thanks to trainers and exercise experts incorporating them into their workouts. I met with a Kangoo guru, trainer Mario Godiva Green, who runs boot camps, group runs, and even dance classes to try my very first Kangoo run. After buckling in and throwing out some very nervous glances over at Mario, he assured me to just get up and start walking. So I did. And then I fell (joking!). Mario told me in his many years of teaching he’s only seen three falls — two being himself when trying out some crazy jumps while in the shoes.
Since my odds sounded pretty good, I decided to shake my nerves and give it a go. After walking around for about two minutes my body adjusted to the shoes seamlessly, and we were off on our group trot. Read on to find out the fitness perks of Kangoo Jumps.
Running with Kangoos is very different than going on a regular run. When you run with sneakers you tend to strike the ground with your heel first, pushing yourself forward with your toes. With Kangoo running, you run completely flat footed and rebound forward with the help of tiny resistance bands attached to the bottom of the shoe. If you’re wondering what Kangoo running feels like, many people equate it to running on a trampoline. Prior to lacing up, I had brief visions of my ankle snapping in two and never being able to run again (the horror!), but once I started to run I felt surprisingly stable in the boots throughout our route.
There’s also a ton of health benefits to Kangoo running. The shoes absorb 8o percent of the shock while you’re running, making it a perfect activity for those overcoming an injury or wanting to cross-train and give their joints a break from the usual wear and tear of the sport. You also burn 25 to 50 percent more calories than cardio in regular sneakers because you’re fighting gravity and using your core to stabilize as you rebound off the ground. Plus, it’s a great way to improve your endurance. Unless you’re a pro, it’s difficult to run at your normal speed in Kangoo Jumps, and since you’re rebounding off the ground you are able to work out longer and at a higher intensity than normal thanks to the slight resistance the shoes provide.
Though classes aren’t available everywhere, you can Kangoo on your own. A pair of Jumps usually start around $200, which is about the same as investing in a solid pair of running sneakers. I’ll need to dust off my Beyonce-like moves before I try the dance class, but the next time I need a cross-training routine when prepping for my next race, I may be swap out the elliptical for a Kangoo run instead. For more information on Kangoo running and a schedule of Mario’s classes, visit mariothetrainer.com.
Now tell us: Have you ever tried Kangoo running before?