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Russia's great leap forward
Saturday 8 July 2000

Petrol-driven walking boots - originally designed by aviation specialists for the Soviet army - are set to be mass-produced as Russia's answer to rollerskates.

The boots, which look like futuristic platform shoes on pistons, are strapped to the calves of the walker, enabling him to take strides of up to four metres, and to accelerate to about 40kmh.

Their creators claim that wearing the shoes reduces the effort of walking by up to 75 per cent.

Conceived in the last years of the Cold War as a potent new addition to the Soviet Union's military might, the boots were designed to allow soldiers to cross large distances without becoming exhausted.

But the concept was never adopted and the designs lay dormant in defence archives for more than a decade, stamped "top secret".

It was only when the military files were declassified recently that the inventors were able to reclaim their creation for civilian use.

They say that the high-speed boot can be used on any surface, and can be mastered in five minutes.

They expect that most demand will come from rich, off-beat sports enthusiasts willing to meet the $A630 estimated price tag, but hope the concept may still find a useful civilian application.

"Postmen who have to deliver to places where there are no roads could use them, and we have also had some interest from the local police force," said Rustem Enikeyev, a professor at the Aviation Technical University in Ufa, southern Russia, who worked on the project.

Each shoe incorporates a piston, which fires downwards with each step, pushing a metal platform away from the bottom of the shoes and the wearer up into the air.


I know this is at first sight a silly post. Why would anyone want to strap on a motorized boot? On second thought this might lead somewhere. It's got potential. How about a new Olympic event? Any ideas out there?

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (, July 13, 2000


Pieter, your post is refeshing, Noticed it a few days ago. Here in the U.S, It would only be legal if the dogs that chased postmen had the first chance at this high tech stuff. After several millions of dollars are wasted in congress from the hundred studies on what it could do to the environment and the social impact, it just might work. Gawd, I hope I am Kidding

-- Bill (sticky@2sides.tape), July 14, 2000.

This is truly a hoax or a very bad idea for everyday use, but maybe a new sport.

-- richard (, July 14, 2000.

Wile E. Coyote tried jet-propelled tennis shoes. I think they did not work.

-- Unreel (, July 14, 2000.

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