These boots were made for walking

By Lizzy Wood

Claiming to provide you with "a workout whilst you walk," for the last month I've been stepping out in a pair of FitFlops.

I have to admit, as a (relatively) active health writer, the thought of simply donning a pair of shoes to help stay fit and toned grates somewhat with my ethos. Surely I’d be better off lacing up my trainers and hitting the cold hard pavement than wearing a pair of slightly odd-looking shoes to the shops? But maybe I’ve been missing the point. After all, the strategy behind  FitFlop™, the brand of shoe I’ve been stepping out in, is to “get a workout while you walk.”

And walk I did, although I drew the line at donning a pair of thongs in the midst of winter, even in the pursuit of interesting journalism. Given the spiralling temperatures, therefore, my feet have, for the past month, been ensconced in a pair of FitFlop™ MUKLUK boots.

Ankle high and decked in sheepskin, the MUKLUK is a surprisingly good-looking choice of winter boot, which, if I’m honest, is quite high up on my list of priorities when it comes to shoe-wear. Looking more like a high-end Ugg boot, the only outward sign that this is a fitness shoe is the slightly rounded Microwobbleboard™ midsole, and minutely elevated heel. So far so good. It seems my fashion-conscious self has been satisfied with a shoe I can actually get away with wearing.

But whether the boot lives up to its reputation of helping to “tone and tighten your leg muscles” simply by walking, remained to be seen.

Developed by Dr David Cook and Darren James at London’s South Bank University, FitFlop™ Microwobbleboard™ technology claims to increase the time your muscles are engaged every time you take a step. Consequently, your leg muscles are said to tone and tighten by up to 30 per cent, also leading to fewer aches in your hips and knees.

Despite warnings that  FitFlop™ footwear be introduced to your lifestyle progressively, having invested in my boots, the MUKLUKS stayed securely on my feet for an entire weekend. I mean, how hard can this walking lark be? And yet, after just a short circuit of my hometown, my calf muscles were already aching. But it wasn’t this that surprised me the most. Rather, it was the way the boots completely changed my usual way of walking.

Used to stomping about (I’m pretty sure I keep my cobbler in business with the frequency I have my shoes re-heeled; and my partner jokes he can identify me from my heavy thud), I found myself engaging in a more rocking gait, rolling from heel to toe, and suddenly becoming light of foot.

I’m not a scientist, and my trial of MUKLUK’s is therefore somewhat lacking in scientific credibility, having neglected to measure my calf muscles, or quantify the amount of fat in my lower buttocks prior to excitedly stepping out in my pair of boots. Nor can I put any toning or fat loss seen in my legs exclusively down to the boot’s “wobbleboard” technology, continuing as I have my usual exercise regime. However, given the strain felt in my calf muscles, and the pleasant (and I suspect healthy) change in my gait, I’m happy the MUKLUK is a beneficial addition to my shoe collection.

I’m certainly not going to advocate a shoe as the latest and greatest way to keep fit, but would I choose the MUKLUK over my usual winter boot and enjoy the benefits that come with it? Yes I would. Indeed, I do.


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