Shoes.com and Journeys are no secret to the current fad in foot fashion. These days, it's all about shoes that help you loose weight while you wear them. Advertisements say you'll firm your bottom thighs and calf muscles simply by replacing your old kicks with this new thick soled version. There is no mention of diet or exercise changes at all. Even celebrities are signing on to endorse these wonder shoes. But, at close to or just over $100 per pop, are these shoes worth the money? Let's take a look.
The leaders of the pack are the Reebok Retone and the Skechers Shape Ups. Lesser known shape enhancing shoes are out there though, including a pair of weight loss flip flops that claim to burn up to 300 calories in just 30 minutes of beach wandering. Be prepared for sticker shock, however, as a pair of these cellulite busting shoes will run you between $150-$250 easily.
What's the Difference?
These shoes have a very fat sole. The sole of the shoe is weighted heavily. This is like wearing five pound ankle weights on your ankles while you walk. Frankly, you can turn any pair of shoes into weight loss shoes simply by wearing ankle weights. Of courses, makers point to the rounded sole as creating an in-stable walking experience that forces your muscles to re balance and flex with each step you take. So, in other words, you're paying $150-$250 to wear an ankle weight and feel wobbly with each step.
Do They Work?
You can find evidence to support that yes, these shoes do work, just as easily as you can find reports stating that they do not. Doctors do seem worried that while stressing some unused muscles in your leg to give the appearance of a work out, other important foot muscles will not be used properly and can lead to foot problems later. In reality, walking in any pair of shoes will cause you to tone your legs and loose weight.
The secret seems to be in the motivation factor. USA Today Newspaper interviewed doctors who said that the toning effects of these shoes versus regular shoes seemed to be "negligible". However, people were more motivated to walk after spending the money on these shoes. The answer seems to be that yes, walking in these shoes can help you tone your bottom half, but walking in any shoes will do the same thing.
What's the Bottom Line?
Combining a healthy diet with regular visits to the local gym will guarantee better fitness and weight loss goals when used properly, whereas these shoes can only promise the potential for some toning. That said, any movement is better than no movement. If a special weight loss shoe will motivate you to start moving and get on your way to a healthier lifestyle, then it is worth it's purchase price. But, these shoes aren't Cinderella's magic slippers; you won't get thin just by putting them on. You'll need to increase your physical output and make smart food decisions.