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OK, so I am still not walking very far. But the snow is mostly gone, the sun is visible later in the day, and I bought a new pair of walking shoes on SierraTradingPost.com last week. They arrived today so I took them for a spin.
These are “Nordic walking shoes” with “dorsiflexion technology” by Springboost (http://www.springboost.com/en/), and while I probably won’t actually use poles (as Nordic walkers do)while walking these are definitely heavy-duty walking shoes. There is a very lug-ful outer sole made of vibram, so the traction will be very good and if I ever step in dog doo it will take forever to clean it off. There are two interchangeable inner soles, one for 0° and one for 2° walking angle. The pamphlet advises starting out for a couple of weeks at 0 and then switching to 2, which puts your heel closer to the ground then your toes while standing and supposedly improves your posture and works more muscles. Whatever. I got them on sale. The shoelace system is a little over-complicated, but I really like the top lace-grommets, which are shaped to let you pull the lace through easily and then grip the lace before you tie them.
I meant to go just around the block but I got a little excited and went around several blocks. I could definitely feel my calf muscles being stretched even with the 0° insoles, and I felt them a lot when I went up a mild hill. But then, I also did not stretch before walking and I am out of shape.
So the conclusion? I will have to walk some more in these shoes, but there are pluses and minuses. They are very toasty shoes, probably from being waterproof, and they are a little tight (my feet are wide) so they are probably not “all-day” shoes for the 3-Day unless it pours on one or more days. They feel very supportive and I like the idea of exercising more muscle groups, whether it is really that effective or not. I did manage to get them for $100 off the original price, or I probably never would have bought them.