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Toning Shoes: Fitness or Fiction?

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

I won’t lie, I’m ready to jump on the toning shoe bandwagon. Not the chunky ones that look mildly corrective, but the ones that get the hot guy to check you out because he’s not distracted by your ugly shoes. Yeah, those.  The ads are persuasive: get in shape without going to gym,  get a workout while you walk, get the butt of your dreams. So, do they work at all? A  study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) says maybe not:

(The) American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned a study at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Researchers compared people walking on a treadmill wearing a regular running shoe by New Balance and three brands of toning shoes: Skechers Shape-ups, Rebook EasyTone and MBT shoes from Masai Barefoot Technology.

The test subjects walked for 5 minutes wearing each of the shoes at 3 mph, 3.5 mph and 3.5 mph with a 5 percent grade. While they walked, the researchers monitored their heart rate, oxygen consumption and muscle usage (abdominals, butt, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves).

“Based on our research, we saw absolutely nothing,” says John Porcari, Ph.D, director of the University’s clinical exercise physiology program. “There was not even a hint of something going on.”

The study found there was no difference between the regular running shoe and any of the toning shoes when it came to heart rate, oxygen consumption, calories burned or muscle activity.

“This doesn’t make the shoes bad or a total waste of money,” says Cedric Bryant, ACE’s chief science officer. “But you could achieve the same things with normal running shoes.”


What do you think? Have you tried toning shoes? How’s your butt look?  To buy or not to buy…

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