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By GreaterSport | 03 September 2021 | TAGS: Research and learning, walking

#ActiveSoles - The Active Soles movement has shown that the small things are sometimes the big things, and changing the way we think, changes the way we feel and behave. Like the ‘expectation’ and cultural norm that professional, successful women wear high heels to work. It is a myth that we have collectively spread, as believers, over generations. 

How the movement started:

  • Vuja De Moment: A conversation between Hayley and Rachel, two Greater Manchester leaders on “why do we feel that we need to wear high heels and smart, but uncomfortable shoes to feel professional and be seen as credible leaders in the workplace?”
  • Get angry, frustrated. Articulate the frustration.
  • Use evidence, frustration and a picture of an alternative reality together, to kick against the cultural norm.
  • Use metaphor, stories and different language to explain it simply, and paint a picture of an alternative (more desirable) world.
  • Create a new version of the truth: wearing shoes you can move in is the aspirational culture for professionals.
  • Develop a new hierarchy of values: being able to build moving into the working day, is more important than what you look like.
  • Evidence it: active workplaces lead to happier, healthier people which in turn leads to greater creativity, better problem solving and improved productivity.
  • Share it, invite people to join in, grow a movement- this has been critical. The ‘believers’ of the new myth or narrative, sharing, influencing, spreading and inviting others to join in the movement.

What we’ve seen

  • More people wearing trainers and shoes they can move in to .
  • Hayley and Rachel bought Warren some trainers, and he became a senior role model for the new hierarchy of values.
  • Andy Burnham and other leaders talking about Active Soles at conferences.
  • Tim Hollingsworth (CEO Sport England) talking about Active Soles in a podcast with Public Health England.
  • Public statements of commitment in a wide range of places and bits of the system: within and beyond Greater Manchester.
  • HR policies have been changed.
  • People sharing their stories in visible ways through a hashtag and social media conversation #activesouls #activesoles.
  • Clarks conducted a study of how footwear impacts activity levels, with Salford and Nike launching a range of trainers for clinicians that are comfy and non slip. 
  • A new cultural norm is being born.






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