Toning Shoes: Too Good To Be True?


Toning shoes: commercials promise that they'll get you in shape fast, just by walking in them. But is the claim true?

Consumer Reports found some different results.

The commercials for a variety of toning shoes make it look so easy to get in shape. But, as more people buy them, Consumer Reports medical adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur is hearing more frequently about injuries.

"One patient was breaking in a pair of toning sneakers, and less than 45 minutes after putting them on felt her ankle turn and her bone break."

Dr. Joel Buchalter, an orthopedic surgeon, says that's not a surprise. He says toning shoes are intentionally designed to create instability.

"If you take a patient who is elderly, or someone who has a balance issue, and you put that shoe on them, you're looking for disaster," Buchalter said.

Even younger people complain of problems, including the physician's assistant in Buchalter's office, who bought some Sketchers Shape-Ups. She said the shoes caused her back pain for three or four days.

Sketchers instructs people to wear the shoes for short periods of time at first to give the body time to adjust.

As for the health benefits, the company says two studies it sponsored showed fitness gains. But an independent study by the American Council on Exercise told a different story, finding no significant difference between toning shoes and regular sneakers.

Consumer Reports Health says that if you have any balance or medical problems in your legs and feet, avoid toning shoes altogether.

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