Toning shoes? Fact or fiction

Lately I’ve been seeing tons of commercials for toning shoes.  What the heck are these things?  Whether it’s the moon boots that Sketchers is selling, or commercials of various women’s butts (attached to a faceless body) dancing around for Reebok, this seems to be the newest fitness trend.  Do toning shoes work?  Will they make my butt perkier?  Or are they just another stupid fad to waste your money on (aka the “shake weight” fad of 2009).

Basically, these toning shoes claim that they can chisel your butt and thighs just by walking.  How?  While designs vary from shoe to shoe, most of the shoes have pods or curves in the bottom that create instability.  The shoemakers state that this instability will cause the wearer to use and challenge different muscles in your thighs and calves.  While instability may work your core when you’re standing on a balance ball, does it work when you’re standing on the pavement?

According to most medical professionals – the shoes are a total and complete waste of money.  According to Dr. Paul Langer, a podiatrist who tried the shoes as an experiment, “I can say after a day in the clinic that my legs feel tired and the shoes are heavy (they are much heavier than conventional shoes).  Because the shoes are unstable, muscles must [work] harder to stabilize the foot and leg.  I would never propose that these shoes would replace a conventional fitness routine.”

While these shoes may help previously sedentary people to start walking again (any physical activity is ALWAYS a good thing), the bottom line for the average active person: Don’t waste your money on this crap.

And for those looking to tone up their bums and thighs….I would suggest some good, old-fashioned squats and lunges.

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