MBT, Reebok EasyTone, Skechers Shape Ups, Fit Flops. A Waste of Money?
Is it really any surprise that, according to recent research, the bevy of "toning shoes" don't deliver? No you won't suddenly achieve a muscular backside, burn extra calories, or "get into shape without setting foot in a gym."
And if you thought you would...well that is positive thinking. I should know! I'm on my fourth pair of MBTs! Yep, I'm a devotee of the "toning" shoe.
The research debunking shoe manufacturers' claims comes from the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. The study "found no evidence that the shoes help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone." Various media articles on the topic (USA Today being one of the most comprehensive) cite myriad researchers, podiatrists and sports' medicine experts. All concur that the shoes' sales mileage is a result of fad over fact.
Why do I wear the shoes? Like many other fans, they have helped my joints. I turned to the MBT (the pioneer in the category) because of hip pain. The marketing material suggested that joint pain could be eased. After 2 months in the shoes, I noticed a difference. Being sidelined from any running, I can now run -- albeit slowly. Along with the shoes, I then sought out chiropractic care (If you are in San Diego, Dr. Ken is your guy.) and just recently switched to a Tempur-Pedic mattress. My hip has NEVER been better.
I have other friends who wear the toning shoes, Skechers' version. They like the look and feel. It's not about burning calories or trying to build muscle. It's about wearing a shoe that works. Isn't that always the point?
While this blog post is an oldie; it's also a goodie: Shoe buying hints from a PRO!