Strap on a pair of weird-looking shoes and forget the gym, but get in shape anyway! That promise, along with those firm butts in the ads for toning shoes, is working: Americans spent more than $1 billion last year on the specialty sneakers. But here’s a shocker: People have logged more complaints in the new Consumer Product Safety Commission database (saferproducts.gov) for those shoes than for any other product so fat. Problems include foot, leg, and hip pain, and more serious reports of broken bones and surgery.
What’s the deal with all of the injuries? The shoes with rocker-style bottoms are designed to force your muscles to work harder while you’re walking by causing instability. But that instability can be dangerous.
A patient recently cancelled her vacation because she broke a bone in her foot after just 45 minutes of wring her new shoes. When doctor checked out a pair of rocker-style toning shoes, she said it was like walking on a flimsy suspension bridge. “I definitely don’t’ recommend toning shoes for anyone with balance issues or nerve damage in their feet”, doctor says.
Skechers has this advice: “Because Shape-ups operate on the principle of an unstable platform, users are advised to stand up straight, keep their weight centered, place their feet parallel and hip-distance apart, and walk at a comfortable pace, being sure to plant each heel firmly and roll forward onto the toes”. Did you get all that? There are similar instructions in a 15-page owner’s manual that comes with the sneakers.
As the saying goes, “no pain, no gain”, but in this case, we’re not sure any potential pain is worth it. The jury is still out on toning shoes’ benfits.