The minute we saw an ad for Kangoo at the 23rd Street New York Health and Racquet Club, we knew we had to try it. OK, so maybe we were sold by the claim "Burn Fat & Get Results" plastered alongside an image of footgear resembling a cross between moon shoes and Rollerblades. With Greatist’s fitness editor and community director as backup, we took an extended lunch break to follow the enthusiastic lead of Kangoo Master Trainer Mario Godiva, who may have just introduced us to our newest healthy obsession.
To the tune of a bass-pumping remix of everything you'll ever hear on American Top 40, we two-stepped, walked-it-out, cupid shuffled, shimmied, and booty-popped for a solid 45 minutes, sandwiched between a warm-up and cool down involving squats, mountain pose, and hip rolls. Wearing these the entire time.
All went smoothly for the duration of the class — save the last 10 minutes when fatigue started setting in. But the energetic music, the variety of moves, and Mario's exuberance were enough to withstand any flagging energy. And to our surprise, none of us left with any back, knee or ankle pain. This was a clutch, since a couple Greatist members have endured some serious injuries in these departments (think: herniated discs and runner’s knee… not fun). There were the beginnings of some blisters, and a little extra ankle pressure from the Kangoo boot — but nothing a pair of long, thick socks couldn’t prevent in the future. (Next time, BYO!)
The best part? Onlookers pressed against the studio's glass walls were just as engaged as we were. One woman flung open the door to fist pump and record us with her iPhone. Another bounced up and down for a good 25 minutes outside, barefoot. And a fair number of stationary male rowers couldn’t help gawking to the left of their machines for the duration of their own cardio sessions.
There’s even some science to support the Kangoo craze. One study found that three weekly Kangoo sessions improved participants’ average VO2 peak (a predictive measure of VO2 max, taken at less intense exertion levels) by about 18 percent after four months. Compare this to just a four percent increase for those who ran in regular shoes under the same conditions. And on the injury front: Almost half these runners limped away from the study with ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, IT-band friction syndrome, and shin splints, whereas Kangoo exercisers reported no injuries whatsoever. (Of course, like all forms of exercise, there’s always some risks involved.)
Still game for Kangoo? Remember to come bearing shin-high cotton socks, wear a very secure sports bra (ladies, this is key), and don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself.
Go ahead: Hop to it. We have a hunch you’ll have a blast.
Have you tried Kangoo? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!