After knee pain stopped me from running a few months ago, I thought my intense training days were over. Until I found the perfect spring shoe for walking and running without hurting my joints.
The throwback shoe, called Kangoo Jumps, arrived in New York City three years ago when coach Mario Godiva moved in from Chicago with 20 pairs. The response was warm at first, he says, but after promoting the proverbial kangaroos through YouTube videos and outdoor venues like Union Square, Mr. Godiva built a following. . She now teaches all three forms – dance, running and strength training – at several fitness clubs and organizes free events at clubs and parks.
I recently tried these shoes on at a Complete Body dance class on West 19th Street in Manhattan, and Mr. Godiva walked into them for the first time and asked for my pads. Within minutes, I felt stable enough to jump and run.
“The more you try, the more you move forward,” he said.
Godiva, 30, with short Mohican hair, faced a class of 25 students – most of them women between the ages of 20 and 50 – and asked them all to state two commandments: Have fun. look and keep moving forward.
After a quick and smooth warm-up, she started Pink’s song “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” and led the class through 40 minutes of pop songs and choreographed choreography. Although dancing tests my physical strength, I can perform simple dance moves. Spins, pauses, squats, and arm movements alternated as we jumped vertically and sideways to the beat, and the atmosphere of emotional power was more like a dance party than gymnastics. .
Kayla Sotomil, a 24-year-old culinary student living on the Upper West Side, told me she lost 50 pounds after taking classes with Mr. Godiva for a year and a half and training personally. Like other normal people, he believes it has kept him going. “They can make the kid inside you want to jump,” she says.
Mr. Godiva said some people took it right away, but ordinary people were sometimes skeptical of the shoes, which looked like rollers and swayed on a large oval spring.
“There are still a lot of people who don’t take it seriously. I’m also a bit skeptical, especially when they tell me they won’t hurt me anymore.
But the following week, when I joined Mr. Godiva and a group of 15 students on a two-mile walk through the Meatpacking District and the Freeway, he delivered on his promise. The springs absorb most of the impact, so instead of hitting the pavement, my foot hits the ground gently. I cheated gravity. People passing by looked at us with confusion, amusement, or simply laughter.
Amber Seipel, 26, of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, who works in advertising sales, says she can’t walk because of her scoliosis. “It’s great,” he said of his experience with Kangaroos, calling them “a complete game changer”.
While kangaroo exercises are easy for the joints, they do require your core and leg muscles to work hard for stability. Adjustable drag adds another challenge, and each shoe weighs 4 pounds. (Although Mr. Godiva supplies the trainers, he sells them for a modest $229.)
“It’s hard at first. – But when the kangaroo orgasm starts, you slow down and let it go.