Thursday, September 9, 2010

Toning Shoes...Fad or Bad?

There has been an increase lately in the number of shoe companies that are producing these toning shoes. Some of the common ones that are out are the Skechers Shapeups, Reebok EasyTone, New Balance and the MBT's. There are also making these in sandals now. These shoes are claiming to help solve knee and back problems, tone your legs, relieve tension in the neck and ease joint pain. What are all the thoughts on this? Since some of these products are fairly new, we dont have long term studies on them. Once more long term data is out on these we will get a better idea on how these products work over the long term.

I would not recommend these shoes/sneakers to run in. I am going to post a link to a study that was done on them. A team of exercise scientists from the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin had studied the 3 shoes above.  They evaluated muscle activation in the toning shoes vs a New Balance Running shoe as well as exercise responses.

For the exercise response the researchers had 12 patients complete 12, 5-minute exercises on a treadmill that with different speeds and gradients(inclines) with the toning shoes and a running sneaker.  For the muscle activation response, 12 patients rotated shoes at random while having electrodes tied to different muscles on the body while doing similar exercises on the treadmill.

The results showed that none of the toning shoes showed a statistically significant increase in exercise response or muscle activation on the treadmill.

As of now, I think there needs to be even more research on these toning shoes. I like how this study was performed and how it showed that there was no difference in muscle activation or exercise response on a treadmill.
Here is the link for further reading.

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