Walking in the City

Traditional dutch wooden clogs.

Traditional dutch wooden clogs.

More often than not, row house dwellers live in the city. We’ve discovered that urban row house living can be totally environmentally friendly, thanks to public transportation, white roofs, and eco-friendly sharing programs. But can living in a city be a more healthy way of life as well?

On Monday, March 3rd, CNN (http://www.cnn.com) posted a story about Ms. Lois Fletcher, who walked her way to a lower weight. She simply started to take the train and walk one mile to her job and voila, she’s 30 pounds lighter and she feels great. Not that everyone is going to have such results but it doesn’t hurt to get yourself moving, especially if you have a job that pins you to a chair for eight hours, or more, a day. Read more about Ms. Fletcher and the CNN story at http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/diet.fitness/03/03/

hm.urban.fitness/index.html

Doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, a day. It seems like a lot until you consider that walking 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon, about one mile each way, is enough to be beneficial. Think you’re too busy and don’t have the time? Well, since you have to go to work anyway, you might as well combine your work-out with your commute.

If you decide you’re ready to start walking to work, at least part way, you might want to invest in a comfortable pair of shoes. Running shoes are great for brisk walking but there are other options just in case the Working Girl look is not for you. A short list includes, Born – http://www.bornshoes.com/, Rockport – http://www.rockport.com/, Merrell – http://www.merrell.com/, Dansko – http://www.dansko.com/flash.aspx, and Clarks – http://www.clarks.co.uk/. Regardless of what shoe you choose, you want to keep a few
things in mind. The sole should be flexible, your arch supported, the ball of your foot cushioned and no rubbing, which could cause blisters.

Love My Danskos

Although all these brands offer quality, comfortable shoes, I can offer a personal recommendation for Dansko. When I lived in Brooklyn, it seemed that everyone had a pair of Dansko clogs. I’d see them on doctors, cooks, waitresses, and anyone who worked on their feet. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors, ranging from demure black to wild bright blue, and even cheery floral patterns. They’re really fun but alas, a little expensive. I wasn’t walking enough to merit the cost especially since I needed to spend more on running shoes since I was running about 15 miles a week and needed good trainers. However, when I moved to Philadelphia, I found I wasn’t running that much due to my new work schedule. Instead, I was trekking to and from work, about two miles each way, while pushing a jogging stroller, almost daily. I decided to treat myself to a pair of Dansko clogs because the running shoe with business outfit look doesn’t work for me.

Dansko clogs have a rather stiff sole but the clog doesn’t fit tightly and your foot can pretty much move naturally. I’ve never gotten a blister, although I do wear socks and my high arches are well supported. I’ve had mine for a year and they still look brand new, even the sole, regardless of nearly daily wear. I love that the style, Marcelle, is casual enough to wear with jeans and yet dressy enough that if I get called in to an emergency meeting at work, before I’ve put my heels on, I don’t look too rediculous.

There are only two problems I’ve encountered. One, they’re not easy to drive in (standard transmission) so I have to keep a pair of sneakers in the car to drive in. It isn’t a big deal because I hardly ever drive and none of my shoes are really driving-friendly anyway. The other, is that I want another pair and it’s unlikely that they’re going to wear out anytime soon and need replacing, allowing me to stick to my one in, one out, closet rule. Perhaps rules are meant to be broken, after all.

September 2010 – A few months after writing this, the strap on my Dansko clogs broke. The great folks at Dansko read about my plight on my personal blog and contacted me. A few emails later and voila! They sent me a new pair of clogs which are still going strong after two years! Kudos to the great customer service at Dansko!

Additional Information

About.com: Walking Shoe Guide

The Walking Site

The Walking Company

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