Toning shoes are a fairly recent – and somewhat controversial – development in the world of fitness footwear. They work on the premise that, if you walk around in them, you will get a lower body workout thanks to a special design of sole. According to the various manufacturers, just by putting one foot in front of the other throughout the course of your normal daily routine, you will tone up your legs and trim down your bottom. It’s not hard to see the appeal.
There are a number of different brands available on the market, and the exact design varies from one to another, but the basic principle centers around a special design of sole. The specially engineered sole introduces an element of imbalance into the walking process – and this prompts the muscles in the lower body to react by trying to restore the body’s natural equilibrium.
This means that the muscles in the wearer’s legs and bottom do a little bit of extra work – and that’s how the lower body toning workout is delivered. In principle, you can tone up your lower body just by walking around as you do normally every day. No need to visit the gym or go jogging around the park – just pull on a different pair of shoes before you leave the house in the morning.
It sounds too good to be true – and you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true. The various footwear manufacturers have conducted or commissioned a variety of scientific tests which they say prove the efficacy of their product. Critics point out that tests and trials which have been funded by the footwear firms cannot be considered to be impartial – and some independent trials have failed to find any significant benefits associated with toning shoes.
Both Skechers and Reebok, two of the main toning shoe manufacturers, have been fined by the FTC. This was for misleading advertising which could not be substantiated. Both Skechers and Reebok continue to market their product and stand by their claims – they have simply modified their advertising.
There is certainly no shortage of glowing testimonials from satisfied users – both on-line and offline. Many happy toning shoe wearers – mostly women – will be happy to tell you (at some length more often than not) of the many benefits that they have derived as a result of wearing toning shoes. Regardless of what the FTC may say, it would take a brave man to separate his wife or girlfriend from her Skechers or FitFlops!
Once again, there are skeptics. Some people suggest that the main benefit of toning shoe ownership is the fact that the toning shoes wearer is motivated to walk a little further than normal – whether consciously or subconsciously. You can see the logic. It would only be natural to try to maximize the benefits of your new toning shoes by wearing them, and walking in them, as much as possible wouldn’t it?
Even so, that’s not a bad thing. Walking is a great way to take exercise and anything that encourages people to walk further would need to be considered in a positive light. Even if that were the only benefit of toning shoes, that might, in itself, justify their existence.