Toning Shoes: Do They Really Work?
Do Toning Shoes Work?
You might have seen them at the local department store or in a magazine ad - funny looking shoes with thick, slightly rounded soles that promise to tone your legs, lift your buttocks and help you lose weight.
Celebrities from Oprah to Joe Montana have given their endorsement to these miraculous shoes. Their uneven soles are designed to mimic walking on sand. With an uneven base, the theory is that all leg muscles will be more actively engaged to ensure balance and that -- as as result -- additional calories will be burned and muscles will be toned. Perhaps even stubborn cellulite will vanish!
Sounds good, doesn't it?
Most of the toning shoes are designed in athletic shoe-style. But there are also flip flop versions (cutely called "fit flops) and strappy "Mary Jane" options, as well. Trust me that none of them are are particularly stylish however.....
American Council on Exercise Reviews Toning Shoes
Despite the industry claims that muscle tone is increased 11-41%, there are plenty of medical professionals who do not agree with the hype about toning shoes.
In 2010, the American Council on Exercise conducted a study using researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse, to determine whether the special shoes really did engage muscles to a greater extent than regular walking or running shoes.
The results of the study? Well, it may be nothing more than marketing hype! In other words, your money may be better spent on regular walking or running shoes.
Dr. John Porcari asked 12 women to test toning shoes by walking on a treadmill at speeds of up to 3.5 miles per hour. The study showed that there was no difference in oxygen consumption, heart rate, perceived exertion or calories burned between the women wearing toning shoes and those wearing other, regular trainers.
According to the researchers' results:
"Our finding demonstrates that toning shoes are not the magic solution consumers were hoping they would be, and simply do not offer any benefit that people cannot reap through walking, running or exercising in traditional athletic shoes."
So now what?
The Today Show Asks the Question Whether Toning Shoes Work
Real Life People Endorse Toning Shoes
Certainly, you are a savvy enough consumer to know that you cannot believe paid endorsements - even if its Joe Montana or Oprah Winfrey! But to counter the findings of the American Council on Exercise, many "real life" people are endorsing toning shoes based on their own experience. At the same time, studies like the one conducted by the American Council on Exercise probably is not based on a large enough sample to result in relevant statistical evidence.
As shown in the video above, random women that were given the opportunity to try out toning shoes positively rated them as effective. On a scale of 1-10, the three women above gave the shoes at least an 8, if not a 9!
The Today Show video did not elaborate, however, on what their testers were considering with respect to the shoes: (1) weight loss, (2) muscle tone, (3) comfort, or (4) style.
So, how do you decide whether or not toning shoes are worth the investment? Bottom line - you might have to try the shoes yourself to see what you think.
Reebok's EasyTone Shoes
Purchase Toning Shoes
Benefits and Drawbacks to Toning Shoes
Before you run out to your local shoe store to try out toning shoes, consider this list of pros and cons:
Toning Shoes Benefits:
- May improve posture
- Could encourage owners to walk or exercise more
- Part of an overall health regime
- Consumers are generally favorable as to the feeling of increased muscle use as a result
Toning Shoes Drawbacks:
- Not particularly stylish - clunky and heavy looking
- Expensive - regular walking or running shoes cost 20-40% less
- Not necessarily helpful - other, less expensive athletic shoes may provide the same result for calorie burn and weight loss
Considering the pros and cons, you'll have to decide whether its worth the calculated risk to purchase and use toning shoes. Certainly, it cannot hurt to try new equipment like these shoes. Some people that buy them do so as part of a new health/exercise regime. They are likely to report positive results.
Others that believe in miracle weight loss "cures" may be disappointed that the shoes are not the magic bullet they might have been led to believe.
Unfortunately, it will take more than just a pair of shoes to lose weight and tone up. In other words, you need to consider diet and exercise as part of a regular routine to see a real difference.
Where to Buy Toning Shoes
Several major shoe manufacturers have their own toning shoes. Sketchers has "Shape-Ups," Reebok makes EasyTone, and New Balance sells a series of their own toning shoes. They're not the only companies that market these shoes, either.
You can buy toning shoes online at major sites like Amazon.com and eBay.com. Or, just do a search for toning shoes in general and you'll get many results! Retailers including Macy's, Nordstrom, Target and Fred Meyer also sell toning shoes. You could get lucky finding coupons to reduce your out-of-pocket investment for these training shoes.
For those of us that like to save money, consider getting a used pair at a garage sale or through Craig's List. You can at least try out the toning shoes for less than the $100-250 retail price for a new pair....
Make Your Own Magic with Toning Shoes
Simply buying a pair of toning shoes won't help you lose weight. You'll have to actually use them! Each and every day, you need to put on the toning shoes and walk a significant distance.
Medical professionals recommend walking at least 10,000 steps every day (about 6 miles overall) for good health. This means parking a bit farther away from the store entrance, taking the stairs, walking the dog, and hoofing it to and from the bus stop. If you sneak in extra steps each day, you may not even realize that you are exercising.
With special toning shoes, you could see improved results over regular shoes, but there is no guarantee!
My recommendation? Buy a relatively cheap pedometer and use regular walking shoes. Track the steps you take each day and see if you can increase them over a week or month.
Step by step, you'll soon be on the way to fitness and better health!
Sketcher's Shape-Ups Toning Shoe Review
© 2010 Stephanie Hicks
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