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MBT Shoes: Good For Back Pain but Don't Expect to Lose Weight

Updated on October 8, 2010

I had been experiencing lower back pain for several months when I quite by accident found out about MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) shoes.

Actually, when I first heard about them, they were described to me as shoes with curved bottoms that help tone muscles and contribute to weight loss. The idea here is that even just standing in the shoes creates a slight instability because of the curved bottoms and that one must use stabilizer muscles (in the back, hips, abs and legs) in order to keep from falling over. It seemed like a bit of a gimmick to me but I was nontheless intrigued and started reading about what people had to say about MBT shoes online.

Based on what I read, I decided even before I bought the shoes that they probably weren't going to help me lose weight but that worse case scenario, they might help my back which was very promising. I was sort of willing to try anything at this point because my back just wasn't getting better on its own. I'd already been to the Doctor and my pain and stiffness was just described as Mechanical Lower Back Injury due to strain and awkward positions at work (I'm a Medical Lab Technologist).

Buy MBT Shoes Online here for cheaper than in the stores

So I decided that I wanted a pair of these shoes and just had to figure out where I was going to buy them. I thought about ordering a pair online but wanted to at least try them on in a store first to see how they fit. Finding a store that sells these shoes in the area I live wasn't easy! I finally found a place called Foot Solutions in Halifax, Nova Scotia that carries a small selection of MBT shoes. I was so excited when I saw them on the shelf - they look pretty big and clunky at least on first glance and remind me of moon shoes or of the type of footwear the Spice Girls would have worn - not exactly stylish but not bad either!

I couldn't wait to try a pair on but the store was busy with three other people who also wanted to buy a pair of MBT shoes! I couldn't believe the hype and that I'd only just recently heard of them. A nice lady who was sitting beside me waiting to try on shoes was telling me all about how they are the best pair of sneakers she has ever owned and that she was scheduled to have knee surgery but after wearing the shoes for a few months, her knees felt so much better that she cancelled the surgery. Incredible! She obviously had no vested interest in getting me to buy a pair of MBT shoes and was only sharing her positive experience with me.

A great selection of MBT shoes for cheaper than you will find in stores

I tried on a pair of the Sport2 White model MBTs (see picture at beginning of article). I started walking around the store to give them a test drive and couldn't believe how comfortable they were! It was really like walking on clouds and I just felt no joint impact at all.

The salesperson instructed me to walk in a heel-to-toe fashion, taking advantage of the curvature of the bottom of the shoes. He said to only wear them for 20 minutes the first day and to gradually work up to full-time wear. Since the shoes are supposed to engaged muscles that you're not used to using, apparently you can really overdo it by wearing them too much at first. Anyway, I bought the shoes and I didn't listen to him! I started wearing them everyday, all day, even in the house. Especially at first, I could tell that they were forcing me to use muscles that I don't normally use but I sure haven't lost any weight as a result of it.

A few months later, my back is feeling better but not all better. I can't say for sure that the MBT shoes helped some of my back pain go away but I'm pretty sure that they did. At they very least, they are by far the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever owned and for that reason alone, I think they are worth the $260 that I paid for them. When I buy my next pair of MBT shoes, I think I will buy them online to save money now that I know what size I take.


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      ted 7 years ago

      I have worn a pair of MBT’s constantly for the past 6 months and I am on my feet walking around all day at work 6 days a week. In the beginning they were great after a week of adjustment and soreness. Then after about the 3rd month of constant wear I had constant pain in my lower back and achey knees like never before. I plodded through the ordeal compensating with a medical back support and knee braces under my clothing, but still not giving up on wearing the shoes.

      Then I realized that the reason for the pain was probably the instability the shoes created working out my stabilizer muscles all the time, every single day. So by the 6th month I decided to take some time off and go without the shoes for a week. Low and behold. my lower back muscles finally had the time they needed to recuperate and repair all the micro damage that had been done. After which my muscles were amazingly strong and my posture as straight as it had been all the time I was wearing the shoes.

      Years ago I used to be a competitive body builder so I just thought taking some time away from the shoes would give the affected areas time to recover. It did.

      TO reiterate: There seemed to be a period of soreness and adjustment in the beginning, followed by improvement, comfort, well-being strength etc... the graduated after 4 months of constant wear to pain in the lower back and knees. I don't think these shoes were meant to be worn day in and day out on your feet 8 hours or more per day like I was doing (pretty intense).

      They are still Awesome but moderation is the key. Treat them like a trip to the gym only do it every other day or every two days or just a tiny bit each day. Not all day every day, even on your day off.

    • Pure Chiropractic profile image

      Pure Chiropractic 7 years ago from Nanaimo

      They make your muscles work differently but they are not big calorie burners. I've had alot of my patients rave about them I've not tried them but they do make sense. You certainly want to gradually increase your time using them!

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      Jason 7 years ago

      Burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight. If these shoes reduce your pain so you are able to walk (burn calories) then they have worked. I get the concept (the animation) of how they work. Your muscles are unbalanced from years of being in improper position when walking and performing daily activities. Muscle imbalances have developed and until corrected and "balanced" these muscles will continue to compensate for the weaker muscles. Start from the ground up. Proper footwear, core stability exercises, and paying attention to proper posture (standing and sitting up straight) can greatly improve your lifestyle.

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      Ben 7 years ago

      Thank you, oh purple one :)

    • PurpleOne profile image

      PurpleOne 7 years ago from Canada

      Ben: I ended up buying my regular size but actually wish I would have gone down about a half a size because they're not actually a nice snug fit the way I would have liked. I should have gone with my gut instinct instead of listening to the sales guy on the size thing!

    • profile image

      Ben 7 years ago

      How do/did your shoes come up, size-wise? When you tried them on, did your 'normal' size fit perfectly or did you have to go a half/full size up or down? Thanks :)

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      chang tana 8 years ago

      Yes, don't expect that this shoes alone will lose your weight. But since I have MBTs, I love walking much more and my weight normally reduce. I lose weight because of myself. This shoes only help me.