What Are FitFlops?
FitFlops started life in the UK when the founder of the company, Marcia Kilgore, found that she didn't have enough time to visit the gym as much as she would have liked. I guess we've all said that we would exercise more if we had more spare time at some point - but given that Marcia Kilgore is an ex-personal fitness trainer, you would have to suppose that she knows the value of regular exercise and wasn't just making excuses.
Rather than just accepting the situation, Ms Kilgore worked in partnership with the London South Bank University (LSBU) to develop FitFlops - a range of toning sandals which feature a specially designed "microwobbleboard" sole. The sole generates a small amount of imbalance when you walk in FitFlops and this makes the muscles of the lower body - your legs and backside in other words - work a little bit harder as they try to maintain the natural balance of the body.
As the muscles in your lower body are doing a little extra work, you get the benefit of a "workout while you walk" with every step that you take. Studies at LSBU and Salford University in the UK have shown that the muscles in the legs and butts work harder when walking in FitFlops when compared to walking in normal exercise or leisure shoes.
Unsurprisingly, FitFlops have proven to be extremely popular with women everywhere (men's styles are also available). After all, who wouldn't want a free workout just by pulling on a different pair of shoes before leaving the house in the morning?
Another good thing about FitFlops - as if a free workout wasn't enough - is the fact that they look nothing like toning shoes. The range has now been expanded from the original sandals to include sneakers, boots, slippers and clogs - which is good because it means that you can now get your walking workout even in the winter.
As you can see from the FitFlop Gogh clog above, the FitFlops range includes some funky, fun and fashionable styles.
FitFlop Happy Gogh Clogs
Amazon Price: $89.95 $32.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 30, 2013)
How Comfortable Are FitFlops?
Because FitFlops are so popular, there's no shortage of reviews on them online. They also get a fair bit of coverage in the press. Most of these reviews tend to focus on the toning aspects of FitFlops, which is hardly surprising. After all, a shoe that helps you to get into better shape is a pretty big deal. For a lot of busy women, FitFlops must seem like a dream come true.
However, if you talk to someone who actually owns a pair of FitFlops, don't be surprised if they don't mention the toning benefits. They're more likely to tell you - at some length more often than not - about how incredibly comfortable FitFlops are to wear and to walk in. It's almost as if the toning is just a (very nice) additional benefit for some people.
Once again, this is down to the specially designed sole. It's made from three different densities of material and provides more support for the wearer's foot than a standard leisure shoe. It also maximises the contact area between the sole of the foot and the inner sole of the shoe. This has the effect of reducing the average pressure which the weight of the body exerts upon the feet - and that's what makes FitFlops so incredibly comfortable to wear.
The diagram below shows a pressure chart which is the result of a study on 20 test subjects at Salford University. The red zones indicate areas of high pressure and the blue zones indicate areas of low pressure.
As you can see, the FitFlop shoe on the right has a larger contact area with the foot. It's especially noticeable in the area of the arch. It's also clear that there is a lot less red and a lot more blue in the FitFlop shoe in comparison with the control shoes.
That's why FitFlops are so amazingly comfortable and that's why - as incredible as it seems - FitFlop wearers might just be more inclined to talk about the comfort of their shoes rather than any toning they've achieved.
Don't be surprised if, having gone on about how comfortable FitFlops are, you then learn that your informant/lecturer has more than one pair (and possibly multiple pairs) of FitFlops. They are that comfortable.
Check out the short video below for a brief explanation on how FitFlops work and some actual user feedback.
What Do Users Say About FitFlop comfort?
No Really - How Comfortable Are FitFlops?
The latest addition to the FitFlops range if the Gogh Pro clog. It is specifically intended for doctors, nurses, hospital workers and other shift worker who spend a good part of their working day/night on their feet and therefore want a very comfortable shoe.
The Gogh Pro has been released in the UK and will probably start selling in the States anytime now. According to the company website, founder Marcia Kilgore was repeatedly lobbied to provide this type of shoe by hospital workers who had experienced the normal shoes in the FitFlops range.
It is available in black and white only at this time and has a pivoting heel/ankle strap for a secure fit, but with the ease and convenience of a slip-on style. It has a non-slip, non-marking sole which is otherwise the same as the other shoes in the FitFlops range. Now you can workout while you work!
FitFlop Walkstar 3 Sandals
Amazon Price: $70.00 $59.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 30, 2013)