Shaper Shoes: Worth the price tag?

There was a time when everyone I knew was purchasing these “shaping” shoes, saying that they were going to have amazing shaped booties and calves, without a hard workout, just from walking around. I never joined the trend but I didn’t buy into it either.  Some interesting new information from independent studies is coming out about these shoes, and it really questions not only if the shoes help to build muscles and burn more calories, but can they actually cause harm?? Yikes!

What’s the Claim?
The shoes are basically created so that they are unsteady, thus requiring you to use more energy and different muscles when walking, doing everyday chores, this shaping and toning your abs, glutes, calves, quads, etc (basically from toes to tummies, they claim every muscle will tone up).  The companies have said that basically, they created shoes to emulate when you are walking on sand and each step you take, is harder than if you were walking on a flat surface. So, the companies claim that by wearing their unstable shoes, the muscles you will use to stabilize yourself and propel yourself forward will help to use new muscles and tone the ones you have.

What have the studies shown?
Most recently, there was a study performed by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) comparing people working out on treadmills at various inclines and rates, and measuring blood pressures, heart rates, respiratory rates, etc. on people who were wearing the shape up shoes versus those wearing regular athletic shoes. They found absolutely no difference, in that the people wearing the shape changing shoes, were not working any harder than those not wearing them. This means, they were not burning more calories, and most likely not toning up or building any other muscles, they would have a physical reaction and be working harder than those who weren’t making those muscles.  Huh, right?  And, there have been a few lawsuits against these companies (Reebok, Sketchers, and Masai Barefoot Technology are the three largest companies) that gross over $1.5 Billion a year!  People are suing claiming that they saw no results, and that the companies are boasting false advertising….in other words, they saw no booty tightening or calf toning seen after months of use!  And, some people are even claiming they have been injured.

So, CAN you get hurt?
The bottom line is that these shoes are created to be unstable, so that you can use your muscles to strengthen your muscles by stabilizing yourself and allowing your body to walk normally.  Thus, anyone with ANY form of muscle or joint issues that can cause difficulty walking, can actually get HURT from these shoes, or worsen problems that they have had.  Plus, anyone with balance issues probably should steer clear of these shoes, they don’t need their shoes causing instability.  Also, if women with low bone density trip due to these shoes, break a leg bone or hip, they can have lifelong mobility issues.

Is a possibly tighter butt and calves worth a lifetime of mobility issues?  I would rather wear regular shoes and weight train at the gym a few times a week- better results and less chance of tripping and breaking a hip!  Plus, the studies have not shown that these shoes help you one bit.  It’s another one of those magic beans kind of situation, and I am all for something that would help you strengthen muscles without even realizing it, so you can spend the cash and wear them if you want, but you might want to invest in some weights…’ll be better off in the long run!

Yours in Good Health

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