Toning shoes are a step in the wrong direction, researchers say

Published: 2011-06-16 15:37:55
Author: Anne Aurand

  Manufacturers of toning shoes, which can sell from $100 to $245, claim they'll help runners and walkers burn more calories and more beautifully shape their buttocks and thighs than regular shoes. But a team of researchers says the claim is false, and a Consumer Reports Health analysis of a consumer complaint database suggests the shoes can be downright dangerous.

A podiatrist told attendees at a recent American College of Sports Medicine health exposition that toning shoes were among the hottest trends in footwear . And it's no wonder; who wouldn't want a better body with no additional effort?

“Shoe manufacturers claim the unstable and highly curved outsole of these shoes activates more leg muscles than flat-soled shoes,” according to a news release from the ACSM. “The shoes' instability may encourage more muscle expenditure, but they could also be harmful to those without adequate feeling in their feet, such as diabetics with neuropathy.”

Last year, the American Council on Exercise published its independent research on toning shoes' effectiveness and concluded that “toning shoes are not the magic solution consumers were hoping they would be, and simply do not offer any benefits that people cannot reap through walking, running or exercising in traditional athletic shoes.”