The makers of these shoes say their product protects your joints by reducing ground impact by up to 80 percent. Because the boots are fairly heavy, you may burn more calories running in them than you would in sneakers.
When a friend suggested I try Kangoo Jumps to bust out of my running rut, their utter nuttiness made me hesitate. Developed in Switzerland in the 1990s, the contraptions look like ski boots on top of oval-shaped springs. Still, I pushed aside my vanity and headed to Central Park. Strapping on the padded plastic shoes took a bit of work, and I did feel wobbly for a few minutes. But once I found my stride, I couldn't stop smiling. At the end, I felt like an astronaut: One small step for me, one bouncy leap toward making running way more fun. (Kangoo-Jumps.com, from $229)
Fun scale: 9/10
—Emma Haak, assistant editor