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China’s heavy metal shoemaker

AFP-JIJI

A Chinese factory worker says walking in huge iron shoes weighing more than 200 kg each can cure back pain, but faces hefty competition in his bid to build the country’s heaviest footwear. “I’ve been walking with iron shoes for seven years,” said Zhang Fuxing, before strapping two crudely-welded iron blocks to his feet. “After they reached 400 kg, I felt very proud. Next spring I plan to add 50 kg.”

It takes him over a minute to take 10 paces, but he claims to walk up to 15 meters each day in the shoes, which he has gradually increased in weight, and touts them as a cure for back pain and hemorrhoids.

Zhang, 52, credits his ability to move the shoes — which he leaves outdoors, safe in the knowledge that they are close to impossible for most people to lift — to the Chinese system of physical exercises called qi gong, said to involve controlling the flow of supposed bodily energies.