I walk at least three miles every day as part of my spiritual practice. I've never been a good "sitter," and so I do most of my meditations "on the move." A toned tush and happy dogs are part of the bonus package that comes with my daily devotions.
I love to walk.
But I hate sneakers. I know that hate is a very strong word but I cannot think of another. I prefer going barefoot, even on hot pavement or rocky trails. But alas, I do live in the civilized world, and footwear is required.
And so, for the past twenty years or so, I've been on a quest for the perfect pair of sneakers. This may have even be an intregal part of my spiritual journey. I've learned patience. I've learned to be comfortable with my discomfort. I've learned how lables can be misleading and that following the crowd is usually less satisfying than blazing one own path. And in the process of protecting my piggies I discovered the wonderful comfort of Bamboo socks, as an unlikely eco-friendly use of that miracle material once reserved for placemats and pandas.
All in my quest for sneakers I could love...
Well, I've found them!
MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology. The company that makes MBT Shoes (also known as the anti-shoe) is Swiss Masai. The uniquely-designed, multi-layered, cured sole is designed to simulate walking in sand (similar to the natural walking environment of the Masai in Kenya) or the soft moss of our swampy origins. This creates a natural, uneven walking surface and forces the body to engage all the major and stabilizing muscle groups.
These are not cute shoes. In fact, I think they are quite homely. It might even have been a barrier to understanding their virtues a year or two ago... I had to wait for enlightenment until I was able to put aside judgements based on external appearance and misconceptions... there is always a learning curve... and learning to walk in MBT's is one in itself!
You actually get a video with your sneakers. It is recommended that you start out with just an hour a day. Why? Because your butt will be sore, and so will your abs, and so will legs muscles you never knew you had! My back was sore, my neck was strained.
I thought, "ugly and uncomfortable, and I paid $245 for these!" Yes, they are pricy. But what is flying worth to you?
I've owned my MBT Shoes for only two weeks. And, I'm already soaring! About seven or eight days in, the day came when walking seemed effortless. My stride shortened, became quicker, and I naturally began walking with my back straight, chin up, and my stomach pulled in. I felt like a new prototype. Balanced, flowing, more insightful, perfectly aligned in body, mind and spirit. I'd pay $345, $445, more, no problem.
I have read that walking one mile in MBT sneakers is the equivalent workout of walking two miles in ordinary walking shoes. That may be true because I do get a bit sweaty even at a modest pace.
Some of the claims made about MBT sneakers include:
- They activate neglected muscles
- They improve posture and gait
- They tone and shape the body
- They can help with back, hip, leg, and foot problems
- They can help with joint, muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries
- They reduce stress on knee and hip joints
This is all true. But what they do not claim is that these homely little creatures will surely propel you on your soul's journey. That they will lift you, lighten your load, and make your walking meditations a spirit's flight. I'm not getting paid to say this, but I want you to know...
I love my new sneakers!
May you be blessed!