Do Toning Shoes Work?

Skechers' unfounded claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health got them trouble with the FTC, but is there any truth to the claim that they help shape your legs?

June 23, 2015
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Fitness trends come and go. One of those trends is the tennis shoe which claims to tone your legs and buttocks, referred to as a “toning shoe”. While a toning shoe design does force the legs to work a little more than a shoe with increased stability, toning shoes are often misused and misunderstood.

The main principle behind the design of a toning shoe is to create a shoe that is unstable, forcing you to use your leg muscles to stabilize your body. The action is not extreme, but can strengthen stabilization muscles in the legs and improve balance over time.

Most brands will conduct studies to prove their theory and use the data for advertising. While the data may indeed show increased muscle action while wearing the shoe, it is unrealistic to rely solely on changing your tennis shoes to change your physique. What a toning shoe can do for the body pales in comparison to traditional exercise and diet.

Since the shoes are specifically designed to be unstable, the chance of rolling your ankle, or falling, is much greater. If you plan on wearing toning shoes to your favorite aerobics class you may actually risk injury.

Toning shoes shouldn’t replace exercise. When it comes to relying on the shoe to tone your legs, you really cannot compare a toning shoe with traditional leg exercises. If you planned on trading leg machines for toning shoes you will be very disappointed. For best results, continue lower body exercises and wear toning shoes during regular daily activity.

Changing shoes will not reshape your legs.

Yet, while wearing a toning shoe alone may not reshape your legs, the trendy shoe may inspire more people to increase their activity. Toning shoes can improve physical awareness and give some people the mental boost they need to become more active. No matter what the shoes claim, if the shoes spark activity then they have made a positive impact.

There will always be a new fitness trend or fad. The key is to have realistic expectations. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are plenty of fantastic products on the market, but know how to use them to enhance your workouts, not replace them. Remember, there is no great result that comes from little effort. Minor changes normally do not bring about major results.

Although each brand of toning shoe may be shaped differently, their message is similar and many times their claims are exaggerated. Due to these embellished claims, toning shoes are often purchased with high hopes and little understanding of what they actually can and cannot do.

As a result, optimistic consumers either rely too heavily on simply wearing the toning shoes to magically tone their body without exercise, or they use the shoes for the wrong types of exercises when they do workout. While toning shoes do have some benefits, consumers should have more realistic expectations and know how to use them properly.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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