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Shape Up or Ship Out-The Truth About Toning Shoes

Shape Up or Ship Out? The Truth About Toning Shoes

Just once, can a “quick fix” please win? I mean seriously, is it too much to ask that I burn more calories, sculpt a leaner butt, and reduce stress on my joints simply by wearing a special pair of sneakers?

The party-poopers at the American Council on Exercise (ACE) decided to put to test the claims of the body-toning shoes, Sketchers Shape Ups, Reebok Easy Tone, and MBT: Masai Barefoot. They commissioned a study to be conducted by the University of Wisconsin to study the shoes, which all feature an unstable sole design that is intended to cause additional muscle activation to keep you balanced.

The folks at Sketchers Shape-Ups claim, “Four clinical studies in the US and Japan show that Shape-Ups increase muscle activity and energy consumption over standard fitness shoes!” And the claims at Reebok Easy Tone are similar. “It’s the shoe proven to work your hamstrings and calves up to 11% harder. And tones your butt up to 28% more than regular sneakers just by walking.” MBT: Masai Barefoot Technology take it even further by claiming it’ll improve tension and pain throughout the body, “Helping solve knee and back problems relieve tension in the neck, ease joint pains—and more or less in passing help to tone and shape firm buttocks and thighs. And burning more calories when standing and slow running compared to ordinary shoes.”

Amazing! With promises like those (coupled with endorsements from Kim Kardashian and Steve Madden), it’s no wonder the shoes are hot sellers despite a hefty price tag. However, the results are in, and they’re not good.

According the research, “Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone” (Porcari, 2011).

Save yourself the 100 to 250 dollars it would cost to by these shoes and instead invest it in the Shake-Weight or the Hawaii Chair. I hear they can give you toned muscles without even breaking a sweat.



Porcari, J., et al. (2011). Will Toning shoes really give you a better body?” American Council on Exercise.


By Darla Murray