Now, everyone has heard of the new craze sweeping the ‘casual fitness’ market: Shoes that help tone your legs while you walk. Sketchers is on board, with the hideous Shape-up Shoe , as is Reebok, and according to my boyfriend (who works as a tech in a sports store), these are flying off the shelves. He sees anywhere from 5-25 requests every day. (By the way, to save him some hassle, SportMart does not carry them. Go to SportChek.) So when he saw the huge market for them (from athletes and regular Janes alike) he jumped the gun and pre-ordered a pair of the Reebok EasyTone for me to try out.
How do these shoes claim to work? The Sketchers, as it is my understanding and can be seen with their boat bottoms, are relying on utilizing the entire foot from toe to heel with every step, and therefore stimulating the muscles of the legs as they get used to this unusual stance. The Reeboks, on the other hand, employ balance-ball technology: effectively, at the ball and heel of your foot, you have a small little yoga-ball-esque surface, that (much like ‘active sitting’ on a yoga ball) stimulates the muscles by actively requiring them to keep you balanced.
So what is my verdict?
I have been wearing the shoes now since before Christmas and I have to say…. they really do work! I love these shoes. When I first started to wear them, I became increasingly aware of my lower body as I walked, and more specifically, when I scaled or descended a staircase. They are an incredibly comfortable shoe you do not FEEL as if your feet or legs are off balance, you do not need to overcompensate for anything, your muscles are already doing that. But if you wear them for a long walk, I guarantee, you will start to feel them working, right away.
It has been a few months now, and I am noticing the results. My hamstrings are becoming more defined, my butt is getting tighter, my calves are much more noticeable – more than they would be with just the exercise alone! The boyfriend has also noticed it, and deigns to point it out often. So my verdict: YES, they do work!
I think that it does need to be stated however, that you can only expect a proportionate result based on what you are doing with these shoes. If you walk around the store a little, they’re going to help, but the results are obviously not going to be dramatic. I work out for an hour 6 days a week, wear them when I go out walking, and generally about my day, so the shoes are getting great usage. This is why I am seeing great results. The shoes are there as an enhancement, not a primary fitness tool.
Overall, I would wear these (I am, as a matter of fact), I would buy another pair, and I would recommend these to anyone looking for a little something extra. I really, really love them.