Effortless Fitness or Fit-less Effort?

Do these new fangled shoes help you lose weight?

Americans are all about the easy fix. A quick sampling of what can be deemed “only in America” proves we want instant gratification: 24 hour stores, fast food chains, iphones, thirty-second coffee makers—the list could go on. Even our youngest Americans are being dubbed the Instant Gratification Generation. It should come as no surprise that as a society when we face dieting problems, we want an immediate fix. Television is cluttered with vitamins and machinery that supposedly will tone your body and slim you down in a matter of days. More often than not, people don’t fall for these gimmicks, but there is one fitness campaign that seems to have gained indisputable credibility: toning shoes.

The concept of wearing a unique shoe that will easily and effortlessly tone your legs as you go about your daily tasks is phenomenal to say the least. This even sprouted into compression clothing that can assist in the other areas of your body. People who have used toning shoes claim to feel the footwear toning muscle and finding themselves sore days later, but are they really working? With the endless celebrity endorsements and competing brands, they must, right?

The Appeal of Toning Shoes: easy exercise, great value, unique appearance, comfort and versatility.

According to the Ace Fitness study (which tested an age range of women with different body shapes), there is a lot the advertisements don’t tell you:

That instant proof of the shoe’s toning abilities is really because: “When people first wear them they’re probably going to be sore because you’re using different muscles,” (Porcari 4), not because the shoes are giving you a work-out.

Those statements of lab-proven effectiveness: “Depending on how they conduct the study, they can prove anything they want to prove,” (2), making their assertion of a miracle work-out shoe easy to fabricate.

Insisting that toning shoes are better than regular shoes: “Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation,” (4) settling this claim once and for all. Shoes are shoes. The way to get a work-out in them is to actually work your body in a variety of exercises without relying on your footwear to solve your problems.

As Porcari mentions in his study, echoing exactly what I stated before, “These shoes are just another attempt to find that magic bullet,” (4) and the American people will continue to look for these easy-fix fads.

The next thing you know, we’ll be buying video games about exercise and calling it fitness. Oh wait…

If you’d like to read the entire study, visit here: http://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/toningshoes072010.pdf

By: Rachel Horwitz