My daughter, Zoe, is a big Winnie the Pooh fan. I'm especially fond of Tigger myself—who wouldn't want to bounce around like that? So imagine my delight when I discovered spring-bottomed Kangoo Jumps. While I waited for my exercise boots to arrive, I pictured myself bouncing all over the neighborhood, not a care in the world.
The reality was a little more down-to-earth (literally), but still great fun. Even though they're fairly easy to balance on—just don't lean too far forward—they're heavy, and walking in them feels like clomping around in downhill ski boots. I'd imagined they'd bounce at the lightest step, but it actually takes a good bit of effort.
Things got much bouncier when I began to run. Again, this is work—running in Kangoos takes more energy and endurance than running in regular shoes. Happily, though, the bounce takes most of the impact away. I used to be a runner, but one day my knees decided they no longer shared my passion. With the Kangoos, they have very little to complain about. Still, I wasn't content to just run; I began bouncing on one foot, then two, then skipping...you get the idea.
Two drawbacks: The awkwardness of walking in the boots is not fun. Also, they're "multisize," so a single pair fits up to four shoe sizes. While that means my husband, Eric, and I can share, my smaller feet do slip around a bit.
In any case, I certainly managed to turn a few heads in my sleepy little neighborhood. One driver slowed down his passing car nearly to a halt to get a better look at my feet. Most folks have never seen anything like them.
But that might soon change. Crunch gyms now offer a Boing with Kangoo class (sort of a jump-dance hybrid), and there are scores of Kangoo videos on YouTube. Eric even spied a guy in a nearby neighborhood wearing them, so I'm not the only one in Birmingham, Ala., who has a pair.
Tigger likes to sing that the most wonderful thing about him is that he's "the only one." Watch out, my bouncy friend: You've got company.
Product: Kangoo Jumps KJ-XR3
Pros: They're super-fun to wear, letting you run, jump, and dance with very little joint impact—a great workout!
Cons: Walking is awkward, and sizing can make for a less-than perfect fit.
Cost: $229–$259 at KangooJumps.com
Extra tip: Click here to see Kangoos in action.