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Do Toning Shoes Really Work?

“Everyone seems to be wearing those new shaping shoes, what an easy way to tone!” If this mirrors your thoughts; think again. A new study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) suggests that toning shoes won’t help you build more muscle or burn more calories as they promise.

The concept behind the current wave of “shaping” shoes is that by providing unstable soles, you are forced to find a balancing point, which in turn makes you work harder than if you were wearing basic, balanced shoes. To test the claims, ACE researchers conducted two studies. One study evaluated exercise responses to walking in traditional running shoes (a New Balance running shoe) versus the toning shoes. The second study evaluated muscle activation when walking in regular running shoes compared to toning shoes.

Their conclusion was that, “Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”

Yet, it seems that people rave about how sore they are or how they have noticed differences after wearing shaping shoes. In reality, the shoes’ cushioning and unstable sole forces you to use different muscles than other shoes, but that doesn’t mean you’re working any harder, burning more calories, or going to get toned, according to researchers.

One benefit, is that when people purchase these shoes, they are thinking about how to be become more active. So a direct effect may be the motivation that comes from purchasing an expensive new shoe. When people believe they are getting a toning effect the more that they walk in these shoes, well, the more they will walk! That, in itself, is a good response.

Sources: http://www.running.about.com


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