Are Toning Shoes Effective? Skechers, Reebok, MBT – A Review

Are the toning shoes being sold by companies like Skechers, Reebok and MBT effective? Do they actually work? Are they as good as their adverts claim they are? A review by a non-profit group called the American Council on Exercise on the effectiveness of toning shoes yielded unfavorable results for this new shoe style.

According to the Council, there’s really no significant difference in the health exercise effect of your more expensive toning shoes vis-a-vis your cheaper regular shoes or to quote the Council, there is “simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”

More from the Council’s report (note: PDF File)

“Don’t buy these shoes because of the claims that you’re going to tone your butt more or burn more calories.
That’s absolutely wrong,” says Porcari.

Then how do researchers account for the anecdotal evidence (found on blogs, etc.) from those who wear the shoes and claim their muscles get sore, which must mean the shoes are working?

“Do you feel different when you’re wearing these shoes? Of course you do because you’re walking on probably an inch worth of cushioning,” explains Porcari. “They feel different, and that’s why when people first wear them they’re probably going to be sore because you’re using different muscles. But if you wear any sort of abnormal shoes that you’re not used to wearing, your muscles are going to get sore. Is that going to translate into toning your butt, hamstrings and calves? Nope. Your body is just going to get used to it.”

Bryant isn’t surprised by the findings: “When you think about it, it’s kind of the same old song and dance,” he says. “People will still fall prey in their search for the quick-and-easy fitness solution. These shoes are just another attempt to find that magic bullet.”

Bryant says he’s also concerned that extended wear of these toning shoes may alter the walking gait mechanics
of wearers and, in some cases, potentially cause problems for those who may already be at risk for lower-extremity
issues. But to evaluate that will require another longer-term study. And although the toning shoes don’t deliver on their
advertised claims, Porcari mentions there may be potential that these shoes could improve wearer’s balance over time,
but that too will require a long-term training study.

Not unexpectedly, Skechers is disputing these findings. Says its president according to NPR:

“Well, first of all, I would say that the study that they conducted is deeply flawed,” says Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group. He says the ACE studies are too limited. He says they’re contradicted by what he calls “more than a dozen larger and more rigorous studies” — and by customer response.

Are Toning Shoes Effective? Skechers, Reebok, MBT – A Review was last modified: August 8th, 2010 by boo