Saturday, June 10, 2023

Walk a Mile in My Sketching Shoes

4/22/23 Maple Leaf

4/24/23 Green Lake

I began my walk/sketch fitness program at the end of 2019, when I wanted to motivate myself to walk more during the bad-weather months. The idea was that if I promised myself a sketch opportunity, I would be more likely to get off my duff and out the door. A few months later the pandemic began, and I couldn’t go to Jazzercise anymore. My walk/sketch program became my only form of exercise, so I increased it to five or six days a week. By the time gyms reopened, I had already decided that I enjoyed walking more than Jazzercise (especially the sketching incentive part), and I never went back.

4/26/23 Maple Leaf

Without giving it much thought, I used to try for about 10,000 steps a day, which is, admittedly, an arbitrary industry standard (apparently set by a Japanese pedometer company because that round number looks nice). Recently, however, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis, so regular, weight-bearing exercise has become more important than ever. Strolling along at a leisurely pace, even for 10,000 steps, doesn’t have the same benefits as walking briskly, which puts enough strain on bones that they are strengthened. Although my walking habit is already in place, I’ve restated my goal to be more about the walking duration and speed than the number of steps: Walk briskly for 45 to 60 minutes a day. (I like how my FitBit can track this. If I simply mosey from my studio to the bathroom and then the kitchen, it counts my steps, but that time won’t be included as brisk walking.)

4/28/23 Maple Leaf Park

Fortunately, the weight-bearing benefits of walking can still be reaped, even if the periods of exercise are broken up. So if I stop in the middle of the 45 minutes to sketch, it still counts as 45 minutes of walking. The walk/sketch fitness program happily continues (well, it continues regardless, but “happily” this time of year).

5/13/23 Green Lake

5/24/23 roofers, Maple Leaf

Merinos lace-ups in Berry.
All of this brings me to the main purpose of this post (other than the sketches, of course): My new shoes! To reinforce my daily walking habit (this is where a dog must come in handy – a consistent, daily demand to walk), I try to incorporate walking with errands and appointments whenever possible. On most fitness walks, I wear “serious” cross trainers. But sometimes when I’m walking to a specific destination – say, having coffee with a friend at Green Lake or walking a mile to the light rail station for an event downtown – I’d rather not look like I was on my way to the gym. I wanted to find some walking shoes that looked more presentable and less gym-y.

Instagram has an increasingly creepy yet admittedly useful knack for reading my mind. Suddenly ads for Merinos Shoes started appearing in my feed. Made of Australian Merino wool and claiming to be “the most comfortable shoes on Earth,” they looked cute and walkable but not gym-y, and they come in lots of colors. They can even be tossed into the washer like canvas sneakers. With a full-refund return policy, I decided to bite.

I don’t know if they are the most comfortable shoes on Earth, but they are super-comfortable! They already were when I bought them, but they are even more so now since I swapped out their regular insoles for the Sole foot beds I’ve been putting in my gym and walking shoes for many years (for better metatarsal support and to save wear on expensive cross trainers). I still wear my cross trainers most days, but when I have a walking destination where I want to look less athletic, I can easily walk a couple miles in the Merinos. I love these shoes! In fact, I’m going to get another pair in a different color. 

5/25/23 Maple Leaf

5/28/23 Green Lake

5/29/23 Green Lake

5/29/23 Green Lake

5/29/23 Maple Leaf

6/1/23 Maple Leaf


  1. I like the shoes!!! Great color and I'm glad they are so comfortable. I also have been trying to walk daily for the health benefits. I also have osteoporosis so the walking is great for that. It is great that you have incorporated sketching into your walks. It is a great motivator. Hope you get another great color!


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