Toning Shoes Scam: Why Toning Shoes Don’t Work

Reebok EasyTones, , Sketcher Shape-up”s they”ve been marketed on all the talk shows as the sneakers you can just wear around town and lose weight. Have you been tempted to try those funky looking fitness shoes that promise more toned buns and legs just from walking around in them? Are these toning shoes some miracle get-in-shape panacea? Unfortunately, no. As with most snake oil cures, this one is sadly lacking in evidence to back up its claims. A recent study found that toning shoes don’t actually tone.

The claim is that you just buy these shoes and go about your day as you normally would, then in a few weeks you’ll have the buns and legs you’ve always dreamed of.  Two studies examined 12 women and measured their oxygen, energy output and muscle use while wearing toning and regular athletic shoes. The studies found that calories burned and muscles used were not significantly different between the toning and regular shoes. One difference? The toning shoes can actually change the gait of the person wearing the shoes, which the researchers claim could possibly be harmful.

There is no easy way to get in shape and lose weight. Diet pills are no better and can also be a detrimental way to lose weight. If you want to get in shape you have to exercise. End of story. Toning shoes give no advantage over standard athletic shoes, so stick to the regular sneakers and just hit the treadmill.


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  • Hi Colleen,

    We loved reading your article. As a brand, we see ourselves less of a “toning” shoe and more of a “health and wellness” shoe. We truly stand by the exceptional difference in engineering and quality that our shoes offer over the other mentioned brands. We hope that you are able to give MBTs a “test walk” and that you can follow up the article with your reaction. Again, thank you for the feedback!


  • I’ve owned MBT’s for more than 5 years. I didn’t buy them for the “toning” thing, I purchased them for the “health and wellness” thing, my goal being to eliminate the back and hip pain that would result from distance walking. Mission accomplished! So if my buns and thighs are tighter it’s because I can walk five times farther than I did before… that’s what the shoe can do for you. It’s an amazing piece of engineering.

    I won’t lie, I did purchase a pair of Sketchers. At 1/5 the price of my MBT’s it was too tempting to pass up. Once again I learned the lesson that you get what you pay for. Not the same at all. While I think your quoted study is valuable, now that I have tried the Sketchers, I think that including MBT’s in with “toning” shoes is comparing apples to oranges.

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