What About Toning Shoes?

by admin on January 12, 2013

This might be an odd thing to write about on a site about barefoot or minimalist running shoes, but these shoes have always intrigued me. They where trendy before barefoot running became fashionable. The first toning shoe on the market was the MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) and was marketed as the anti-shoe or “barefoot” shoe. Strange how such a bulky big shoe was considered to be a barefoot shoe. The logic was that wearing the shoe with its rocker bottom sole caused the user to adopt a gait pattern that closely mimicked the gait pattern of the Masai people from Africa who had a very upright barefoot gait and never developed any back or postural problems. Since true barefoot running became popular, hey seemed to have backed away from calling these “barefoot” shoes.

Toning shoes are shoes that have one of several different designs such as a ‘wobble’ board or a rocker bottom shoe to make the foot unstable. This instability is supposed to make the muscles work harder, giving the wearer and extra ‘tone up’ when using them. There have been plenty of health gains hyped up in the marketing as to the benefit of this additionally ‘tone up’. As to if this actually happens or not has certainly been the subject of a lot of litigation and lack of scientific research to support it.

The shoes do have their benefits of you are into that sort of thing. They do make the muscles work different; they do help use the muscles in a different way; and they do alter the gait. For many runners, these temporary changes for short period of time should have advantages in conditioning muscles and joints differently.

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