If you are looking for pure comfort for the feet, and would like to do a little bit more to get your body in shape, you can't go far wrong with a pair of toning sandals. Whilst some doubt the effectiveness of toning shoes and sandals for getting into shape in the fastest possible timeframe, women the world over claim that the sandals really do get the muscles working more in the lower body and help you to stay in shape throughout the summer.

The trend for getting more out of everyday activity started back in 1959, with the footcare experts, Scholl. The Pescura heel was the original toning shoe which increased the range of muscles activated when walking, helping to keep the feet moving naturally and the muscles of the lower body working at their full potential. The beech wood construction is highly comfortable and has proved to be incredibly successful, giving the shoe a production run of over 50 years, which remains to this day the only toning sandal with a proper heel.

Scholl toning sandals (23794)

However it was in May 2007 when the trend for toning whilst walking really kicked off, with the arrival of the FitFlop. The brainchild of Marcia Kilgore rapidly became the summer sandal of choice, with women the world over hailing the shoe as a miracle, offering the opportunity to turn everyday activity into a butt crunching, thigh firming workout routine. Rather than use a hard wooden sole, FitFlop chose the soft route, adding soft shock absorbing EVA foam to achieve the extra burn. By utilising triple density EVA foam, the heel is well cushioned eliminating the shockwaves from walking, the pressure in the foot is redistributed to a much healthier pattern, whilst the midsection of the shoe introduces a wobble into walking, helping to activate more muscle groups in the lower body.

FitFlop sandals (23797)

Whilst the promise of a workout whilst you walk was a huge selling point, it rapidly became apparent that the shoes had many other benefits which has seen sufferers of many painful foot, bone and muscle defects gain miraculous pain relief. In adding the wobble, FitFlop became one of the most comfortable shoes ever produced. The explosion in styles made the FitFlop an excellent fashion choice, and has seen the sandals chosen just as much for the comfort and looks as for their toning properties.

The meteoric rise in sales did not go unnoticed by the major footwear brands on the other side of the Atlantic, with the Fitflop triggering a wave of copycat models from manufacturers keen to get their own slice of the toning pie. Whilst most toning shoes are sold in a flip-flop or sandal form, Skechers have taken it upon themselves to mount a serious challenge to the FitFlop summer shoe dominance with the release of Skechers Tone Ups. Looking remarkably similar to FitFlops, Tone Ups also cater for every occasion, with a range rivalling that of the FitFlop. With a price much cheaper than the British equivalent, Skechers Tone Ups have rapidly risen up the best seller lists and threaten the sales figures of the brand which started off the trend.

Skechers Tone ups

Even recent reports calling the toning benefits into question has not dampened sales, for toning sandals offer much more than toning alone. A more cushioned walk is great for those seeking low impact exercise, and anyone with painful joints will gain instant relief. Toning sandals are the best shoes for plantar fasciitis due to the rolling of the foot which occurs, simulating barefoot walking in soft sand, and they also stimulate blood circulation and correct the posture.

All in all, the range of benefits offered by toning sandals, in particular those of FitFlop and Skechers Tone Ups make then an excellent choice or summer comfort, whilst toning the lower body, improving the walking gait and giving style a major boost. Their success is likely to continue for some time to come