Monday, July 26, 2010

Will Toning Shoes Really Give You A Better Body?

“The basic theory behind how the [toning shoes] are supposed to work makes sense to consumers, so it’s easy to see why many are quick to embrace—and purchase—the shoes, which range in price from $100 to $245. The common denominator is that they all have an unstable sole design, which forces the wearer’s body to constantly struggle to find an equilibrium or balance point. To make the shoes even more enticing to consumers, Skechers, MBT and Reebok each cite their own studies ‘proving’ the results one can expect from wearing their shoes. What they fail to mention, however, is that these studies are not peer-reviewed, and most are of questionable design. To test the effectiveness of the shoes and evaluate their claims, a team led by Porcari, John Greany, Ph.D., Stephanie Tepper, M.S., Brian Edmonson, B.S., and Carl Foster, Ph.D., designed a pair of studies, one evaluating exercise responses to walking in traditional athletic shoes (a New Balance running shoe) versus the popular toning shoes. The second study evaluated muscle activation when walking in regular athletic shoes compared to toning shoes. 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. ‘Don’t buy these shoes because of the claims that you’re going to tone your butt more or burn more calories. That’s absolutely wrong,’ says Porcari. ‘These shoes may be encouraging a fair number of people who probably wouldn’t put on a normal pair of walking shoes and go out and walk, to do so because they think they’re getting some super toning effect,’ says Bryant. ‘So if you want to look at a positive, it’s probably serving as a bit of a motivator to get a group of inactive individuals to at least get up and get moving.’”

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