What’s the difference between a fad and a trend? By definition, a fad is a short-term event, a “flash-in-the-pan” so to speak. A trend has the potential of becoming a long-term influence on the future of a market. Where do toning shoes fit in? Toning shoes have become one of the fastest growing types of footwear, with four out of every ten athletic shoes sold being toning shoes for women. They come with claims of slimming your waistline, burning more oxygen, improving posture, and toning your muscles, but are these claims legitimate? Are these shoes worth the price? The cost ranges from $100-$250. MBT’s are the most researched of the toning shoes with at least 22 published articles. They are probably the best toning shoe but come with a price tag of $250. Many other shoe manufacturers make toning shoes, but with a lower price tag.
The basis behind toning shoes is that they incorporate the function of muscles that aren’t normally exercised during the gait cycle. What this means is that the small muscles that control balance are working harder thus toning the muscles. Rocker bottom soles are used and these create instability, and the theory is this imbalance increases muscle activity. Does this replace the need for a fitness routine? I would say not. As great as this all sounds, there are some painful
drawbacks resulting in strained Achilles tendons, back pain, and even broken ankles. Toning shoes can also alter one’s gait leading to other aches and pains. Recently, the American Council on Exercise found that toning shoes were no better than a regular walking shoe.
When deciding to purchase a pair of toning shoes, take into consideration the price, and the fact that toning shoes have not been found to be better than regular shoes. If you suffer from back pain, I’d be reluctant to wear these as they could increase the pain. Don’t believe for a second that they do what the companies claim to do. For now, I’m sticking to my regular, cost-efficient walking shoes. I think they are a fad.