Does it Work? - Toning Shoes -- Do They Work?

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08-17-2010, 03:05 PM
Have you been tempted to spend a lot of money for a pair of shoes that promises to burn calories, tone your butt, build muscle, and improve your posture?

Read this American Council on Exercise (ACE) study first! Will Training Shoes Really Give You A Better Body? (

The conclusion, after studying Reebok EasyTone, Skechers Shape Ups, and MBT: Masai Barefoot Technology:

Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. 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.

It's an old, familiar story:

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.

08-17-2010, 03:24 PM
I will say, though, that for people who are on their feet all day, these shoes can alter their standing/walking pattern enough to prevent foot and back pain. I've never seen a positive review for these shoes for someone interested only in fitness...but I've seen a TON from people who normally have sore feet.

My wife works at a florist and stands/walks all day. She used to have terrible, horrible foot pain and huge calluses on the bottoms of her feet. Shape-Ups have made her workday tolerable. But I haven't noticed any difference in her weight or muscle tone.

Shannon in ATL
08-17-2010, 03:34 PM
I've seen the same thing as Amanda - one of my managers started wearing a non-slip version of the Nike ones in the restaurant and she says that her feet feel fantastic. She is on her feet 8-12 hours per day. No noticeable difference in weight or muscle tone with her, either.

08-17-2010, 05:00 PM
I've been wondering about these for a while - the neuroma in one foot can do with all the help it can get - but the cost is prohibitive for something I don't know would even be comfortable.

However, one of our low cost supermarkets is launching a pair on Thursday for about 30 (?$40?), so I may try them and see.

08-17-2010, 05:16 PM
I ended up buying a pair of Skechers shape-ups. To be honest, I really didn't expect them to help me lose weight or tone. I got them because I have severe back issues - arthritis of the spine, degenerative disk disease, herniated disk. Good days, I feel like my spine is full of ground glass. Bad days, it feels like large glass chunks. Makes walking extremely difficult for me.
My Skechers are extremely comfortable, very shock-absorbing so less impact on joints. Most importantly they have reduced my back pain and allow me to walk more.
Skechers shape-ups.... $90. Reduced pain.....priceless.

08-20-2010, 12:52 AM
I have been wanting to try these, but honestly I don't know if I'm willing to throw down $100 for something I don't think I would use all that often. I can't really wear them to work and I don't really see myself wearing them around the house. I have heard they're great for people who are on their feet all day, walking forward. They are hard to move side-to-side in, and you lose a lot of agility. I guess that's the whole point though, to throw off your balance a little to engage more muscles.

For everyone that has them- are the soles really thick? They look like they would add at least 3". I'm 6' tall and really self-conscious about adding on any additional height.

08-20-2010, 04:31 AM
For everyone that has them- are the soles really thick? They look like they would add at least 3". I'm 6' tall and really self-conscious about adding on any additional height.

I can't speak for the Skechers (why the **** would I pay $100 for their shoes when I can go to K-mart and get the Therashoe brand for $20!?!?!?) but the ones I have do have very thick soles and would probably add at least 2 - 3 inches.

08-20-2010, 09:41 AM
The Kmart ad has the toning shoes on sale for $19.99 with a buy one get one 50%off. I haven't been to my local kmart to see if they have them in. But I was thinking about it. My dh tried on a pair last week and said they were weird. I'm thinking "aren't they girls shoes? do they come in guy sizes?" But hey, I wasn't with him so he can try on any ol' pair of shoes he wants.

08-20-2010, 05:53 PM
The Kmart ad has the toning shoes on sale for $19.99 with a buy one get one 50%off. I haven't been to my local kmart to see if they have them in. But I was thinking about it. My dh tried on a pair last week and said they were weird. I'm thinking "aren't they girls shoes? do they come in guy sizes?" But hey, I wasn't with him so he can try on any ol' pair of shoes he wants.
LOL...come to think of it, I don't remember seeing any "men's shoes" like that...but maybe they do have them over in their department and I just haven't ventured over there.

08-20-2010, 08:12 PM
I did my best to get a pair from the cheapy supermarket: got there at 10 on the day they came in but the assistant told me they'd all gone. I'm sure she wasn't really gleeful but it felt like it. :blush:

I've written to head office - either they didn't get enough stock in or they've allowed customers to buy them by the sack load. I expect to see them any day now on ebay!

(Thank goodness sour grapes have no calories..... :) )

Mary from Maine
08-31-2010, 11:08 AM
Thanks for posting this, Meg!

09-01-2010, 07:17 AM
DH bought a pair last week. He got Sketchers non-slip, so they were a bit more expensive than the standard shape-ups, around $115. He manages a restaurant and is on his feet for ~15 hours a day, and no-slip soles are a requirement. I read a bunch of reviews for all of the shoes, and determined that you get what you pay for in terms of quality. His normal work shoes are around $100/year, so if the Sketchers last him a year we haven't really lost anything.

So far, he loves them. He says his feet, legs, butt, and back hurt less. And he's not even wearing them a full day yet, since he's still getting used to them. They do have thick soles, they added about 3 inches to his already tall body. But the men's styles are very unobtrusive, they actually look like casual dress shoes instead of tennis shoes.

10-12-2010, 09:14 PM
I know I'm late coming into this thread, but I just wanted to add that I bought the Reebok Easytone flip flops and have been wearing them for over a month now with no noticeable difference in my buns, hamstrings or calves (the 3 areas these claim to target). But they are really comfy, so I'm still glad I got them.

12-27-2010, 10:27 AM
Same thing here. I got the shape ups, and while my butt and thighs know no difference, my heels love them! I have a habit of standing with all the weight on my heels. Not in these shoes, I'd fall on my butt! LOL. It makes walking/standing MUCH more comfortable! :D My fiance likes his too!

Jesse Taylor
12-29-2010, 11:04 PM
I bought a pair of Sketchers Sandals in May and they broke by November. I was so mad. I have never paid that much for a pair of shoes in my life. I loved the shoes but there's no way they should have broken that quickly even if I lived in them for 6 months. I do not recommend those shoes.

12-30-2010, 09:54 AM
I swear by "Mozo Shoes" for daily wear. They are marketed to people who stand all day, (I don't) but I love that they're laceless. Just pop them on, pop them off. I've had people meet me in an elevator, look at my feet and say "Those look comfortable". Yeah, they are! :D

01-05-2011, 02:40 PM
(Thank goodness sour grapes have no calories..... :) )


01-06-2011, 11:45 AM
I bought a pair of these and they threw my pelvis out of alignment. The way they work is to create instability so your muscles have to work harder to compensate. I have pelvic stability issues so that's probably why they were disasterous for me.

01-09-2011, 12:42 PM
I bought a pair of the Shape-Ups and they are so comfortable they make me want to walk everywhere. I've started walking back and forth to the office (about 45 minutes each way). I'm walking more because of them, so yes, they work!

01-10-2011, 01:45 PM
Dar- I am going to have to look up those Mozo shoes. I have never heard of them.

I have tried the Reebok toning shoes as the don't have that big sole like the other brands, but honestly, I am happier, and have more shapely calves from wearing just plain Nike Shox running shoes and focus on having a heavier heel strike when I walk in them.

This summer, I may try the Sketchers flip flops as I love getting shoes!

01-10-2011, 02:24 PM
I just bought a pair of the reebok easytone. Ive only worn them a few times so far but they are the most comfortable pair of tennis shoes i have ever worn right out of the box. I like this brand as it does not have a super high sole like sketchers. I just think they look funny. The easytone are very cute and very comfy!

01-10-2011, 11:53 PM
I have the sketchers and like other people in this thread I love them for their comfortability!

I also like the kind of "moon shoe" look they have (I own those horribly obvious early versions that practically scream at everyone to notice them).

Sometimes I think I feel the burn in my legs but I suppose it could just be placebo, or my walking more bc they are comfortable.

Nevertheless, I am a mild endorser.

01-12-2011, 05:41 PM
I noticed Zappos had some skechers shape-ups for under $50. I don't stand on my feet all day though but if you do, might be worth looking at.

01-14-2011, 07:09 AM
I couldn't do the Skechers.... too much money right now, but a couple of months ago I got a pair of Bass Earth. They were around 40.00.
I get the idea that they put you slightly out of balance, so that your legs work a little more, but I haven't noticed any real difference, and when I am actually working out, I use my new balance running shoes. I am okay with the ones I have.
My sister got some skechers for Christmas though and I have been meaning to get a report.

01-18-2011, 03:49 AM
I bought a pair of MBT's a few years ago. I stepped down on them wrong and severely sprained my ankle! They have not come out of the closet since. Which is fine with me really, as they are not the most attractive shoes.


01-18-2011, 11:34 AM
I bought fit flops two years ago not to tone, but because a friend told me they really helped her aching feet. I buy a new pair each year, and love them - they have great cushioning. My MIL still thinks it's a hype I'm following, but I never thought they would help me get in better shape. Just perspective, I guess.

01-21-2011, 05:27 PM
I work at a shoe store and I always feel so guilty selling the fitness shoes to customers because I don't believe they work. It is good to know they are comfortable though at least that is a plus.

01-23-2011, 12:12 PM
I had a friend who's brother in law is a ciropractor and he says those shoes are horrible for your back. other than that, I dont know.

01-23-2011, 12:53 PM
Im actually a health promotion/pre pt major and we did an experiment on these shoes for a research project. Theres a ton of stuff out there on it but this is what we found.
The shoes are great for join pain and balance (but can throw you off balance/cause injury)
As for do they were tone? Not really. There was no more muscle activity while wearing the shoes than without BUT the shoes work as almost motivation to get up and move. Some people may be looking for a quick fix but 99% know that simply wearing these shoes on the couch isnt going to help. The idea that if walking about in these shoes will help tone the legs and gluts gets people to walk around more, which is turn does aid in fitness. Our study found that it wasnt the shoes, though.

01-23-2011, 10:00 PM
KellyMarie, that's a valid point that I never thought about before. Nice research!!!

NickyJ - I have back problems and the shoes have not helped or hurt my back in anyway. Not to nitpick, but a fourth person complaint doesn't hold much weight in my mind, LOL

01-25-2011, 03:29 AM
I remember seeing this type of shoes sold as walking shoes in an orthopedic shoe store in 2007 (I think they were MBTs?). At that time they were marketed to reduce joint pain rather than tone one's legs. Funny that the concept turned into this fad.

Regardless, I did buy a pair of Avia toning shoes last week for a specific purpose and I love them. I thought they might spice up my elliptical workout, and they do intensify the leg workout on the machine. I also wear them around the house because they are so comfortable.

01-25-2011, 08:30 AM
I bought some and they seem to have helped my bum, but I dont know if thats just because Ive been walking more?

02-06-2011, 05:21 AM
I bought 2 pairs of sketchers toning shoes on sale. One for work and the other for home. I've noticed NO difference in my body tone, BUT I no longer have lower back, knee and foot pain from standing on my feet at work constantly everyday. This makes them worth it to me

11-16-2012, 07:30 PM
toning shoes are horrible with arthritis. your balance is compromised completely