Toning shoes are said to help you lose weight by forcing you to use specific muscles - leg, butt, abs muscles - that you wouldn't otherwise put to practise. Promoted by brands like MBT (Massai Barefoot Technology), Skechers and Reebok, toning shoes - be they sneakers or sandals - have stirred controversy.
On the one hand, toning shoes advocates claim they really work. Citing studies in their advertising campaigns, toning shoes producers assess that they actually provide calorie loss and body firming, and they are therefore perfect for every person leading a sedentary lifestyle.
On the other hand, specialists and some of the users, as well, seem to have a different opinion. Here's the truth about toning shoes.
Do Toning Shoes Work? Experts Say They Don't!
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have recently conducted a study that involved 12 women that were asked to perform exercises wearing toning shoes.
All the female participants were leading active lifestyles and were aged 19 to 24. The toning shoes used were labelled MBT, Reebok EasyTone Reeinspire and Skechers Shape-Ups.
In parallel, other 12 women were also asked to perform the same routines on a treadmill, but with normal sports' shoes. Scientists monitored the muscle usage in key areas of the body such as abs, butt, calves and back in both groups.
What they found out, after analyzing the results, was that there were no significant differences between the two groups, when it came to muscle usage or amount of calories burned.
Toning Shoes Reviews: What Users Say
But what about the people who actually tried toning sandals or toning sneakers? The general opinion is that "they seem to work". The conclusion is based on the following reasoning: after wearing them, users experience leg soreness, therefore the toning shoes must be effective!
"I can feel them working my muscles more because I'm unstable", states John Porcari, Ph.D.
Not so fast, say the experts. It's true that the curved sole activates temporarily new sets of muscles, hence the soreness. But once the feet adjust to the new shoes, all pain is gone. As a result, the claimed benefits - "better legs and better bum with every step" - are just a myth.
Toning shoes, be they toning sandals or sneakers, may prove to be effective only if you use them to perform training exercises on a regular basis. Producers' claims may even work as an incentive to start exercising, in which case feel free to buy yourself a cool-looking pair of toning shoes right away!