The toning footwear trend that fell flat
Fitness products that offer a quick fix have always been real vote winners. So when shoes designed to tone the posterior as you walk came on the marketed it sounded like a dream come true. The fundamental principle behind these shoes it to slightly destabilise the foot while walking, creating continued tension in the foot and leg muscles. Others also added weight making walking more of an effort thereby burning more calories.
However studies by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), revealed that toning shoes in fact did not help to exercise more intensely, burn more calories, or improve your muscle strength and tone.
ACE chief science officer Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, said:
In 2012 Reebok agreed to pay $25 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint over the once-popular toning shoes, which regulators said were falsely promoted to consumers. The shoes were also widely condemned in the field of chiropractic medicine as the instability created by the shoes could also lead to back problems.
Whilst the trend in shoes that force instability may have fallen flat, some instability is not necessarily a bad thing. Feet and lower leg muscles have evolved walking on uneven terrain (i.e not paved sidewalks). New virtually barefoot shoes including the Vivobarefoot, Merrell’s M-Connect and the Vibram Five Fingers range allow for a more sensitive connection, providing a unique workout and strengthen these muscle groups.