Thoughts — Toning Shoes

Toning Shoes have been very popular lately, and I just came across a study on their effectiveness that I wanted to share.

There are many different brands and models of toning shoes, but they all have some things in common. Most often, they have a thick, rounded sole shaped like a rocker, not flat on the bottom. I suppose the thinking behind the design is that wearing shoes that make you less stable will force you to work harder (burn more calories!) just to stay upright or walk normally. When I first came across “toning shoes” years ago, they were advertised for cellulite reduction.

Over time many patients have asked me about toning shoes, so I bought a pair to try out in the office. They made me taller. I didn’t notice any improvement in fitness or leg strength, but I’m a workout fanatic and didn’t expect to see a difference from just walking around the office in different shoes.

Recently, the New York Times published an article reporting the results of a years-long study of various toning shoes. They came up with the same (non) results I did:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/can-shoes-really-tone-the-body/?emc=eta1

The bottom line: Toning shoes do not tone your legs.

To be fair, I should mention that I have patients who swear by them for reducing foot and low back pain. But I have also treated patients with foot and low back pain as a result of wearing them.

What to do?

If you want to buy shoes to “automatically, effortlessly” tone up your legs, forget it.

Toning shoes might be useful in the treatment of some injuries – have a discussion with your doctor first. Or you may just like the way they feel –just be careful.

We all hear of a lot of products that take the place of regular exercise. Nothing you can buy really does, though. Including shoes.