Sunday, April 17, 2011

Skechers Shape-Ups: Innovation or Ruse?



Kim Kardashian’s face has been following me everywhere since she became the spokesperson for Skechers’ Shape-Ups. That “It’s not someone else, it’s something else” line makes me want to slap random people. But then this review is not about the Shape-Up commercial, but about the actual product. From the name, you can probably tell that it is supposed to tone your bum and legs and help you lose weight. And if their sales numbers are any indication of the success of this product, we should all go to the store and buy a pair. But in reality, do Shape-Ups actually work?

Here’s a little background on the technology in this shoe. Shape-Ups actually come in a variety of styles, some more expensive than others. I believe new ones start somewhere around $70 and can go up to a couple of hundred. However, whatever style you buy, the technology behind the shoes, and the soles of the shoes remain the same. What’s different is the look of the shoes. Unlike most sneakers, they have a hard layer first making them a little heavy, and then a spongy layer right on the bottom to give you that padded feel. One thing that really differs with these shoes is that the highest point of the sole is actually in the center of the shoe (about 2 inches high) and then the part of the soles beneath the heels and toes are lower. So you feel like you’re balancing on the balls of your feet. Constructing the shoes this way is supposed to help with balance, which makes workouts more effective. The shoes come with a DVD that shows you how to use them effectively.

I have to give it to the Skechers marketing team though. They know how to play on the minds of people. These shoes seem to be made to make workouts more effective, but they are being sold as if just wearing them is a workout. Everyone wants a great body, but most people don’t want to put in the time and effort to get it. So why not tell people they can get great bodies without stepping foot in a gym? Yes, exercise DVDs do that too, but this is different. They tell you you don’t even have to spend an hour trying to have your own aerobic class at home. All you have to do is take a walk. Genius!

For a moment though, I want to just let you know what you’ll experience when you do wear the shoes. Obviously, whenever we introduce our bodies to something new, we feel it in our muscles for the first few days. Your ankles, your lower back, your neck, and your knees would definitely hurt because those are the main muscles we use for posture. Also, because they are heavier than the regular pair of sneakers, you probably burn a few calories from lifting them with your feet. You will feel different when you wear them, no doubt, because you have to focus on keeping yourself balanced. The most important thing to do over the first few weeks though is to limit the period of time you have them on your feet. Don’t wear them 24/7, but rather just for a couple of hours each day. Ease in to the shoes.

After a while, you’ll start to feel more comfortable with the shoes. But doctors have come back with conflicting theories about the long-term effects on our bodies. Some doctors say that it helps with lower back and hip alignment to prevent problems that may be caused by poor posture. Others say that long term wear of these shoes actually make it difficult for you to wear other shoes because of the way they force your ankles and heels into a certain position. People who use the Shape-Ups for months have reported pain in their ankles and heels when they take them off. So it seems they are fine when you wear them, but cause problems for your legs when trying to get into other shoes.

Give all this information, what’s my verdict? I think it may be better to stick to regular sneakers/trainers for your daily workout routine, and use Shape-Ups just for periodic walks to give yourself that little boost. If you were already working out before, and just want to occasionally make it a little more effective on your lower body by getting the proper alignment, these shoes seem like a good idea. But if you haven’t been going to the gym, and you are hoping that buying these would magically give your bum a lift, I don’t believe that’s ever going to happen. The only caveat I would add is this: if you think buying these shoes would make you want to start going to the gym and then you can slowly ease away from them and work out on your own, then you have my full support.

What is your own opinion about shoes that tone? Have you tried any?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: mbtshoesports.com

2 comments:

  1. Hey girl! Love the article...
    And yes, I do own Shape Ups.Initially, I thought I would feel a burn at the very least as proof that it was helping me burn additional calories. No such luck. I continued my hour long workouts and felt no "extra" tuning up of my muscles.
    Have to say I still love my shape ups though! They are so comfy and cute, they do help- I never used to walk my dogs 4 miles a day before I got them! :)

    Theju

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't own one of these, sounds more like a ruse to me.

    ReplyDelete

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