One day while looking for shoes in Camden (where else would you go looking for fancy shoes, when you prefer a Not So GirlyAvoid Heels Style…) in London we were browsing through several stores and goofing around a bit. In one of the shops I happened to find an advert for the “Anti Shoe”.
It obviously sounds like a very bizarre idea in a shoe store. It was a very small shelf under the brand MBT with just a few designs available. Being a very curious creature I just had to try them on to see for myself what is so special about them.
At this point I probably should mention that this wouldn’t be the first “Anti Shoe” I have heard of. I’ve read before about different initiatives trying to aid our poor spines and feet in different ways. One of which was extremely thin soles which encourage walking barefoot-like. This came with a whole lot of theories about the superiority of toes first walking… Though this is a topic for another day.
Back to the MBT shoes then. The feeling was definitely strange. A bit like if someone had put a tennis ball in the middle of your shoe and asked you to go for a walk… Though even despite the odd impression, they did make you “roll forward” with a certain lightness.
However I did not buy them back then. Firstly I don’t trust things like that without doing some extra research on customer satisfaction… Secondly the price tag doubled my caution. When a product is expensive and pretends to be some sort of genius invention there is high risk of charging for some gimmick and or brand name, rather than providing actual, long term value.
Surprisingly I found glowing reviews online. Not only that but it proved to be a medical product claiming to relieve spinal problems, and give your whole leg, as well as your behind an extra workout just be the share fact of walking. Well, who could resist that?
After much deliberation (and a few long trips with my soles ending in blisters…) I thought maybe I should give them a try. This is where I hit a slight retail problem. I was told that because they are classified as a medical product, you cannot buy them online and only certain stores sell them. And even when you find the few stores, they do not stock the whole range (which is not huge to start with).
The problem here was aesthetics… Most of the designs are quite sporty, and I like only two, or three at most. Every store we went to they didn’t have the one I liked, or if they did, it wasn’t in my size. Very frustrating indeed. When I almost gave up hope, I actually got what I was looking for at the last store we had on our list to check. Hurray!
After a whole day of walking from store to store, I was keen to give my new shoes a spin and see if they actually sooth the creeping in sole pain. And they did! What I did not realize was that the “leg workout” tag line was no joke. That day I definitely said hello to some leg muscles I didn’t quite know I had…
The first week in the new shoes seemed an odd trade. I have exchanged the sole pain for pains along the back of my legs. But hey, at least it made me feel like I really am getting a workout. Not to mention the funky “ball rolling” feeling that came with the shoes. In a way you could compare it to climbing stairs, or constantly doing toes – heels, heels – toes while walking.
After a while I must say that the purchase was definitely worth it and I’m considering getting another pair – sandals this time for the coming summer. My feet seem to have gotten used to the funny feeling though, as if the “ball” has gradually disappeared. Maybe I just got used to walking in them.