12 December, 2013: 51-year-old Zhang Fuxing, of Tangshan, China, sets a daily example for tourists hiking in China by exercising in a pair of 400-kilogram iron shoes.
The factory worker devised the ungainly footwear himself by welding 30-centimetre long, 20-centimetre wide pieces of iron together into two solid 40-centimetre high blocks, which when combined weigh a total of 405kg. This equates to about seven times the body weight of their owner. For the past seven years, he has worn the two lumps under his feet every day in a voluntary ordeal which continues to startle onlookers who happen across him.
According to Fuxing, however, his peculiar pair of shoes is not at all an ordeal to him. Through training and perseverance the Chinese elder has managed to come up with a way to lift the massive blocks off the ground, which is a feat that would at first sight seem unlikely, if not outright impossible. He now claims to be able to walk a dozen metres in around twenty minutes. And while these may not be Olympic runner figures, the distance is certainly longer than what most people would be able to achieve in a similar situation.
Zhang Fuxing also states that he does not plan to leave his walking challenge where it is. He is planning to add even more weight to his iron shoes in 2014 and he also, at some point, wishes to contact the Guiness Book of Records to try and gauge whether they would include his amazing feat in their next edition.
When not using the shoes Zhang Fuxing keeps them in his front yard and when queried about the possibility of his creations getting stolen, the 51-year-old seemed nonchalant, claiming the shoes are so heavy that the risk of theft is minimal. Until the day when someone does take that risk, the Tangshan native is likely to continue in turn inspiring, impressing and startling both the people from his village and the foreigners who happen to meet him whilst hiking in China.
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