The latest in fitness marketing is the toning shoe. Nearly all major shoe companies are offering a toning shoe, one that promises to firm up the thighs and buns as you simply walk. The question is, are the shoes living up to their promises or are they just a marketing tool?
Several of the brands are effective, but you need to know what you're getting into. Most of the styles are rocker shoes meaning they have a negative heel, or one that is lower than the toe, and they have a curved base. The companies claim that this unstable base causes improved posture and forces the buttocks and thighs to work harder. One such brand, MBT, has undergone nearly 2 dozen studies that have found that the shoes ease knee, back, and join problems, boost calorie burn, and firm muscles.
However, podiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Ross tells health.msn.com warns that those who aren't very flexible may have trouble. "They work, but what you have to remember, because they have a rocker bottom and negative heel, if you have a tight heel cord or Achilles tendon, it can put tremendous strain on muscles," explains Dr. Ross. "You have to be really flexible, or do stretching, when you wear these types of shoes." If you wear high heels, especially stilettos, you don't want to switch to the other extreme. The high heels shorten the heel cord while the toning shoes stretch it. You can do real damage if you switch back and forth often.
Also, don't expect to get out of the shoe store for cheap. Most styles from the brand MBT run around $240 and other brands are at around $100. There are cheaper knock offs, but as with most things, you get what you pay for. The answer is yes, if you buy the proper brand, you can get the added muscle toning they promise. However, there are many other exercises you can do to firm up your thighs and buns and save yourself the money. It's a simple choice of paying the extra money or spending the extra time.