October 25, 2011

Toning Shoes for Exercise Gets a Black Eye

And rightly so, attention is deserved in this case. Greed, the rule rather than exercise safety seem rampant in the shoe industry. Because everyone is being encouraged to exercise, shoe companies decided to cash in with less than safety in mind and are turning out shoes that have brought them to the attention of the Federal Drug Administration because of unproven health claims.

While denying any wrong doing, September 28, 2011, Reebok settled with the FDA over claims of health benefits from use of their shoes. Reebok has also stated the shoes will remain on the market. Other shoe companies are also being investigated though apparently no charges have yet been filed.

“Can a pair of shoes help you burn more calories, tone your butt, banish cottage cheese thighs, and curb joint pain?” This is the nature of claims by exercise shoe companies.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse tested the claims and found that there was no significant value to the claims. The shoes have an unstable sole and walking in them feels like walking on a balance beam or barefoot along a sandy beach. This forces you to use muscles commonly not used, but the damage is they can change your posture and gait.

Several spokespeople for the shoe industry are saying this is no more than a turf war and the studies have nothing of any value. What else can we expect from the shoe industry – they have the most to lose.

Shoes for walking or jogging should be comfortable and give proper foot support. I urge you to talk with a podiatrist or food specialist for recommendations of proper footwear for the type of exercise you wish to do. Read this article in WebMd about this and consider what they discuss.


Gretchen said...

I tried some of these shoes, and although I don't believe they make one lose weight faster, they *do* make me stand up straighter.

I compared how I walk barefoot with how I walk in regular shoes and how I walk in these shoes, and the rocker soles make one walk the same way as barefoot, with heel first.

With regular shoes, I tend to put the foot down flat, and this makes me bend over a bit. One can walk heel first in regular shoes if one pays attention to it, however.

The rocker shoes are not for walking in uneven terrain, where they could be dangerous, and they are not worth Big Bucks.

But they do exercise different muscles. After a summer using rocker shoes, I went back to my hiking boots for winter walking, and my calves ached for a couple of days. Different muscles.

Bob Fenton said...

I am happy you have something positive to report. Prior to this, My wife and several others have all had problems of sprained ankles from running in these shoes. A few have said they were having success until the ankle problem. The problem existed across three brands.

Gretchen said...

I'm sorry your wife and the others sprained ankles. I can understand why. I wouldn't use them in rough terrain either.