Friday, 22 October 2010

What Are Toning Shoes and How Do They Work?

Toning shoes are the latest development in fitness footwear and are proving very popular. Which is hardly surprising really - after all, who wouldn't want to be able to tone their legs and trim their butt just by
pulling on a different pair of shoes? There is a variety of different brands available on the market. Most of them work on the principle of introducing a small element of instability when walking in them.

It doesn't sound like a great idea - but the theory is that the wearer's muscles will naturally react to the instability by trying to re-establish balance, which makes them do a little more work. The extra work performed by the muscles in the lower body has the effect of trimming your butt and toning your legs more effectively than standard walking. What you get in effect is a lower body workout, without having to pay a visit to the gym and without any expensive gym membership fees.

MBT shoes - Masai Barefoot Technology - were among the first to appear. They were not originally designed to be toning shoes. They were aimed at people who needed to improve posture, reduce stress on joints and reduce lower back pain. They use a specially engineered curved sole which encourages a gentle rolling motion whenever your foot comes into contact with the ground. This is intended to replicate the sensation of walking on soft sand in your bare feet. The sole is pretty thick and quite chunky and not everyone will find it aesthetically pleasing. They are fairly expensive - but if they relieved your back pain, or toned up your lower body, you would probably consider them to be a worthwhile investment.
Skechers Shape Ups shoes also make use of a thick, curved sole - which incorporates a special kinetic foam insert - to replicate the sensation of walking barefoot across soft sand. These are also fairly chunky and look much more like traditional trainer shoes than the MBT range.

Fit flops sandals, boots and clogs were originally developed in the United Kingdom and are now on sale worldwide. Although they don't look anything like conventional fitness footwear they deliver exactly the same benefits as other toning shoes - again by using a special sole which is thicker than a standard flip flop and which promotes a small degree of instability whilst walking. They cost less than most of the other toning shoes available on the market and - just as importantly - there's a massive selection of styles and colors to choose from. Originally, they started life as a range of sandals - but boots, clogs and even slippers were added to the range in response to customer demand.
Reebok recently launched Easy Tones - their own toning shoe range. This is slightly different from the other toning shoes insofar as it uses air pods built into the sole of the shoe to create instability rather than a specially shaped sole.
All of the manufacturers above have commissioned independent trials which support their claims that wearing their shoes will give you a lower body workout just by walking about. Neither is there any shortage of very positive customer testimonials. Needless to say there are sceptics as well.

It's a very attractive proposition - just put on a different pair of shoes before you leave the house in the morning and tone your lower body just by walking around as you would be doing anyway. Maybe it's too good to be true? Maybe it doesn't matter all that much. Most of these shoes are priced about the same as normal exercise shoes - some of them are even cheaper. The next time you fancy a new pair of shoes why not try a pair of these toning shoes. If the only improvement that toning shoes provide is to encourage the wearer to walk more often, then that's a worthwhile benefit in itself.

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