The Personal Trainer: The dangerous truth about toning shoes
by Ann Angell
Special to The Star
Nov 06, 2011 | 4101 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I know you have heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

I know for sure in the fitness world that many have tried the easy way out — from pills, to the shake weight, to exercising in a rubber suit.

Listen folks, there is nothing that replaces just working up a sweat and raising your heart rate.

An example in the news is Reebok Easy Tone shoes.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that Reebok may have gotten a little loose in its advertising claims for the Easy Tone shoe. The company claimed that wearing the shoe could lead to “a 28 percent improvement in buttock muscles, 11 percent improvement in hamstrings and 11 percent improvement in calves, as compared to regular walking shoes.” 

The FTC wasn’t convinced. And now Reebok will be paying back $25 million to customers who believed. It turns out you cannot make these kind of claims without some sort of sound scientific evidence.

USA Today reports that the FTC is also investigating Skechers toning shoes, and a class-action lawsuit has been filed against New Balance toning shoes.

These shoes have been very popular — so popular that they are a billion-dollar industry. The whole theory behind these types of “shaping” shoes is that they make walking more challenging, therefore you use more muscle and burn more calories.

Think about this. Do we really want walking to be more challenging? If you were going to walk in a straight line all day and not turn or step sideways, maybe these shoes would be safe.

But if you try to go to a fitness class where you typically move sideways, or if you play tennis in these kinds of shoes, you are pushing your luck.

Lateral movement on a rounded sole is just plain crazy.

Sure, the shoes are very comfortable. No one denies that. They are just not very safe. The problem could be twisted ankles or twisted knees.

I recently saw someone hiking in the woods while wearing toning shoes. I was hoping she wouldn’t step on a root or a rock and be faced with a fall. It sort of seems obvious to me that hiking is not a good place to wear these shoes. The “micro imbalance” that the shoe supposedly provides could cause a major injury.

Why not tone your backside in a way that actually works? Try a few squats and lunges — just not in your easy tone shoes.

Seriously, nothing replaces hard work for getting in shape, no matter which area of the body you want to target.

People who have purchased Reebok toning shoes can go to www.reeboksettlement.com/ftc for information on refunds. Maybe this FTC ruling will make manufacturers think twice about fluffing up their claims of magical results.

In fitness, no results are ever gotten magically. You will get the results that you work for, plain and simple.
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