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MBT - Masai Barefoot Technology - Shoes

Updated on March 7, 2013

Masai Barefoot Technology Shoes - What Are They?

MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) shoes are the brainchild of a Swiss engineer, Karl Müller. During a trip to Korea, he noticed that walking barefoot across a paddy field seemed to alleviate his back, knee and Achilles tendon pains. He later discovered that the Kenyan Masai tribe don’t suffer from back pain and are famous for their excellent posture.

Müller put these two pieces of information together and concluded that the Masai posture and lack of back pain was due to the fact that they walk barefoot on ground which yields slightly. Hard surfaces, such as sidewalks, have no give in them and have, according to Müller’s theory, caused us to have problems with our backs, knees and ankles.

Müller decided that the fix for this was to produce a shoe which would mimic the effect of walking barefoot on soft ground. What he came up with was the MBT range of shoes – which feature a specially designed curved sole.

The Benefits Of MBT Footwear

According to MBT, the curved sole provides the wearer with a smooth rolling action which delivers a number of benefits:

  1. It helps to solve knee and back problems.
  2. It relieves tension in the neck.
  3. It eases joint pains.
  4. It helps to tone and shape the buttocks and thighs.

It helps to burn more calories when standing or walking compared to the calories burned when doing the same activities wearing normal shoes.

There have been a number of independent studies on the claimed benefits. A test at Sheffield University in the UK concluded that not only would there be a reduction in strain on the body, but that MBT wearers, if they walked properly, would tend to take shorter strides – which would increase the work done and tone the legs and buttocks.

Additional to the manufacturer’s claimed and tested benefits, some users have reported that wearing MBTs can be an effective treatment for cellulite.

MBT Reviewed On Test It Tuesday

MBT Success

MBT footwear is possibly not the most elegant available on the market. Some have gone so far as to describe the shoes as downright ugly. They are also somewhate pricey.

Nevertheless, they have been hugely successful and many celebrities have adopted them including Sadie Frost, Jodie Kidd and Jemima Khan. They are very popular amongst women - who make up the bulk of their customers. However, styles are available for both men and women.

Other toning shoes with curved soles - such as Fitflops and Skechers Shape Ups - have now become available on the marketplace, and these have also been subjected to independent scientific testing which does seem to bear out some of the claimed benefits.

Whether you want to relieve your back pain or just tone your legs and buttocks, they are probably worth looking into. If you can find a pair that you like that is.


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