T is for Toning Shoes

November 7, 2012

Toning shoes are those shoes that are deliberately made unstable so that they change the posture and make the muscles work harder. This is claimed to have some health benefit. Unfortunatly those claims have got some of the companies in ‘hot water’. There different brands on the market include: MBT, Skechers Shape Ups, Reebok Easy Tone and Avia iBurn. The market for toning shoes has declined somewhat in recent years, mainly due to the litigation and the reality not living up to the height of the claims that were made for the shoes. they still are useful for some postural and clinical problems and there is still are hardcore of supporters who swear by the useful of the shoes in testimonials.

Toning Shoes

Toning shoes, also known as “toners” or “shape-up” shoes, gained popularity in the early 2000s. These shoes were marketed as footwear that could help tone and strengthen muscles, particularly in the legs and buttocks, simply by wearing them during daily activities.

Toning shoes were designed with a unique sole construction that created an unstable or rocker-bottom effect. The idea behind this design was that the wearer would need to use more muscle activation and effort to maintain balance and stability while walking. The increased muscle activation was believed to provide additional toning benefits to the lower body.

However, the claims made by toning shoe manufacturers regarding the effectiveness of their products were not supported by scientific evidence. Several studies conducted by independent researchers found no significant differences in muscle activation or muscle strength when comparing toning shoes to regular athletic shoes.

In addition, there were concerns about the potential risks and side effects associated with toning shoes. Some individuals reported experiencing discomfort, foot pain, and even injuries such as ankle sprains due to the unstable nature of the shoe design. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) issued a statement cautioning against the use of toning shoes due to their lack of scientific evidence and potential for injury.

As a result, the popularity of toning shoes declined significantly over time. Many of the major manufacturers discontinued their toning shoe lines, and the market for these types of shoes has significantly diminished. Nowadays, the focus in athletic footwear has shifted towards providing proper support, cushioning, and stability based on sound biomechanical principles, rather than relying on gimmicks or exaggerated claims of muscle toning.

It’s worth noting that engaging in regular physical activity, including exercises that target specific muscle groups, is a more effective and evidence-based approach for muscle toning and overall fitness. It is always recommended to consult with healthcare professionals, such as a physical therapist or exercise specialist, for personalized advice and guidance on appropriate exercise programs and footwear choices.


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