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Train like a Ninja in the Trail Glove 4

Mike Snow’s journey towards becoming a professional stuntman began with five years of competitive gymnastics training and break dancing, which led him to the discipline of parkour. His parkour training inspired him to pursue a career as a stuntman, where he has worked on a number of feature films such as The Dressmaker and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, countless TV productions and live stage shows such as King Kong. Mike has also competed in Australian Ninja Warrior.

 

In the work Mike does, it’s really important that his shoes offer him protection and traction with a barefoot feel and flexibility, enter the Merrell Trail Glove.

 

We caught up with Mike to hear how he uses the Merrell athletic range and how he fell into the world of stunts (you know, apart from all of the training!).

 

 

 

 

So Mike, tell us a bit about what you do for work.

 

I work in film and TV as a stuntman, although “I fall over and get beaten up by actors!” is often my go to response for that! Sometimes I leave out the “by actors” part just to be vague and confuse people because I find it funny.

 

My gigs can be on any type of production –  feature films, TV series and TV commercials, live shows and music videos. My stunts can range from jumping through windows to being pulled out of the ocean in a net, pretending to be a giant sea creature. It’s definitely not all car chases and getting set on fire!

 

 

 

Tell us about the projects you’ve been a part of. What was your role?

 

Some recent projects have included the supernatural horror film, Winchester, where I was a puppeteer (one of the many hats you wear in this business) – except rather than puppeteering creatures, we puppeteered props and objects. The best shot was smashing a huge gun cabinet into a wall as hard as we could!

 

I also worked on Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales, where I was playing a British Officer during a big battle on a ship. What’s funny in battle scenes like this is that you can get recycled in different shots and costumes, so the same performer can die a bunch of times in the one scene.

 

A recent commercial I shot was for a luggage company where I had to flip off a mini trampoline with a suitcase in my hands, spinning and rotating it to showcase the different features. I probably did the same flip for 50 takes with different bags and angles.

 

 

 

How to you prepare or train for the work you do? Tell us about a typical day in the life of Mike Snow.

 

There really is no typical day. Often the training I do is determined by what jobs I have coming up. But at the moment, my training routine tends to look like the following:

 

Monday: rest day or light training

 

Tuesday: acrobatics in the gym. We tend to keep things freestyle, there’s no instructor so everyone is free to work on their own training. For me, I’ll do a combination of rings, rope climbs, trampoline and floor acrobatics

 

Wednesday: stunt training – fight choreography and break falls/high falls, plus rigging and flying

 

Thursday: rock climbing

 

Friday: parkour

 

Saturday: skydiving. Sometimes I’ll fit in a few jumps earlier in the week, but Saturday tends to be when a group of us go out and jump. I’m up to 330 jumps, which is actually not many!

 

Sunday: teach parkour classes. I have been involved with Melbourne Parkour Association since 2008. It’s so great to see people of all ages, backgrounds and capabilities get involved

 

 

 

Tell us about parkour. What is it all about? 

 

Parkour is a French method of training to overcome obstacles in any environment, using just your body to run, jump, climb and vault in the fastest and most effective way. It’s training the flight part of the ‘fight or flight response’. There’s a really strong altruistic philosophy underpinning the physical discipline, that’s all about using the skills to help others, overcoming fear and progressing as a person.

 

 

Photo credit: Steve Tanner, Herald Sun

 

 

 

When did you start wearing Merrell and why?

 

I started wearing Merrell 8 years ago – when the Merrell Waterpro Ultra-Sport were around. These were then replaced by the Watepro Maipo, although my parkour mates and I found the sole of these a little too thick, so we tried to track down every single pair of the Waterpro Ultra-Sport!

 

And then Merrell introduced the Trail Glove range and we were all hooked! They are super durable – which is essential when you’re doing wall runs and sliding down rough surfaces. The Merrell Vapour Gloves are great for our technique too.

 

 

 

In the work you do, what are the most important features in a shoe?

 

Everything the Merrell Trail Glove offers! The Vibram® sole has a lot going for it. We like thin, flexible soles so we can feel the edges we land on. They also have rubber on the outside of the toes which is important because we’re constantly rolling on the outside of our feet – if it were mesh there, we’d destroy it.

 

It’s also important for the shoes we wear to protect the soles of our feet without absorbing the impact, as we need this to determine our technique, and adjust accordingly. Barefoot training is actually really beneficial to our technique so finding shoes as close to being barefoot is what we strive for.

 

The only time I do look for more support is when I’m doing big stuff like high impact jumps repeatedly on a stunt job – as this can become quite slappy on your feet. For this I look for a shoe with more support in the sole.

What’s also really great about the Trail Glove is that the tongue is attached on one side – so it doesn’t move around or get pinched on top of your foot. It’s also important that whilst it’s snug, there is also room in the front of the shoe for your toes.

 

 

 

What do you do for fun?

 

I am a big lover of cinema, rock/metal concerts and live shows. Some of my favourite bands are Australian and tour a lot so I get to watch them play live a few times a year. Other than that, as long as I’m training, I’m happy. This isn’t a Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm industry – which keeps things exciting! I have no idea what I’m doing a month from now!

 

 

 

What’s your next big project?

 

After completing 3/6 requirements of the UK Stunt Register (I have completed gymnastics, trampolining, scuba-dive master), up next is my brown belt in kick boxing, high diving (off a 10m platform) and a rock climbing instructor course.

 

We’re also hoping that there’ll be some big opportunities in the film industry in Melbourne around the middle of the year, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 


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