What Are Toning Shoes And What Can They Do For You?
The best way to get in shape and to boost your fitness level is to eat healthily and get regular exercise. All the same, it’s just human nature to look for shortcuts and efficiency improvements – and it’s no wonder when you think how short of time so many people seem to be these days.
So, the fact that a number of footwear manufacturers have developed “toning shoes”, which claim to be able to help you tone and trim your lower body ,as well as improving your posture, just by wearing them as you walk around during the course of your daily business, will be welcome news for many people. It’s a tantalising prospect – but how do they work? For that matter, do they really work?
There are plenty of different styles and brands for potential customers to choose from. The common thread linking all of the major toning shoe brands seems to be a special design of sole. The design of the sole varies from one brand to another, but most of them seem to operate on the principle of generating a small element of instability in the walking process. The muscles in the legs and bottom react by trying to regain the natural balance of the body. That means that they do a little more work than during normal walking, and that’s how the toning effect is achieved. Some toning shoes also claim to modify gait and/or posture – but it’s the generation of instability which seems to be the important factor.
Different Types And Styles Of Toning Shoes
Skechers Shape Ups are the current best selling toning shoes. Shapes Ups have a very distinctive, thick, rocker type sole, which includes a kinetic insert. This is intended to reproduce the sensation of walking barefoot over soft, yielding sand and to produce a gentle rolling motion in addition to producing the required amount of instability.
MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) Shoes, also use a rocker type sole which is quite similar, in appearance at least, to that used in Skechers Shape Ups. MBT shoes were conceived by a Swiss engineer, Karl Muller, who was walking barefoot across a rice field in Korea when he noticed that his back pain, a recurring problem for him, was considerably better than normal. He discovered, after a little more research, that the Masai tribesmen of Africa, who mainly walk barefoot, are well known for their excellent posture and, unlike Europeans and Americans, hardly ever suffer from lower back pain. And that’s how MBTs came into being.
Reebok EasyTones are a fairly recent entrant to the market and they have quite a different design. EasyTones use special air pads in their soles to produce the necessary imbalance. The system was designed by an ex-NASA engineer, so there is certainly some science behind it. They are turning out to be extremely popular and are currently in second place in the toning shoe market notwithstanding their late appearance.
FitFlops could be considered to be the joker in the toning shoes pack. They are colorful, chic and fun! FitFlops originated in the UK as a range of flip flop type sandals with a specially designed sole which uses different densities of material in different areas. This generates instability thanks to what FitFlops call the “microwobbleboard” effect. The FitFlops range has now expanded to include sneakers, slippers, clogs and boots in order to meet customer demand.
FitFlops look nothing like exercise footwear – which means that they can be worn in situations, and with outfits, where fitness footwear might not work so well. FitFlop wearers can therefore make use of them more often and get great value for money using their funky toning shoes. It’s probably worth mentioning that, in addition to their toning abilities, FitFlops are well known for their high level of comfort. The toning sole provides additional support and reduces the pressure on the sole of the foot, making them wonderfully comfortable to wear and to walk in.
Do Toning Shoes Work?
The footwear companies have performed or commissioned a host of studies, trials and tests to show that toning shoes are effective. There is also a host of user feedback from satisfied customers happy to testify that toning shoes are the real deal. Of course, there are those – and the American Council for Exercise (ACE) are in this number – who dismiss the study results and say that toning shoe claims are no more than hype.
However, soccer moms and busy career women everywhere have ensured that toning shoes have been one of the footwear success stories of the last year or two. Even assuming that toning shoes do all that they claim, there’s no way that they can be considered as a replacement for a well balanced healthy diet combined with regular exercise. However, they could very well prove to be a useful way of boosting the effectiveness of an existing exercise routine – and, if they encourage people to walk a little more often than normal, then that’s a good result in itself.