If you want to start a real debate, there’s no better topic than toning fitness shoes. Everyone has a strong opinion. At face value the notion of shoes that can help you tone up does seem to belong squarely in the “too good to be true” camp. I was a skeptic myself until I had the opportunity to seriously road test several styles. Now I’m a believer! If you are expecting to put them on, go about your daily errands and lose 15 pounds, you will be disappointed. Viewing them and using them as a supplement to a good exercise routine and healthy diet, though, you may be surprised (like I was) that they really can make a difference. I have personally tried each of the brands featured below, and while they may not do the trick for everyone, they certainly helped me (to varying degrees) get back into those last few pairs of tight jeans after my daughter was born.
Not the most fashionable fitness shoes around, this style actually gave me the best results. I wore them on fitness walks and around my office for 10 days. The Kinetic Wedge forced me to improve my posture, and I did feel muscle fatigue in my legs and lower back at the end of the first day. At the end of the test, I was actually down one jeans size. I was also shocked by how comfortable they were.
Reebok EasyTone ReeInspire, $99.98, reebok.com
Reebok does the fitness shoe with some finesse. No one really notices or comments that I’m wearing fitness shoes when I do wear them, which is a plus in my book. After each wear, I have noticed slightly more muscle fatigue in my calf muscles than when I exercise without wearing them. The results have been more modest than with the Skechers version but to be fair, I was in better shape when I tested them.
FitFlops Walkstar 3, $60, fitflop.com for locations
FitFlop was an early forerunner in the toning shoe craze, and in terms of fashion, they have also stepped up the game a bit. I tried them when they came out with the sequin and snakeskin versions of their classic fitness sandals. FitFlop’s fitness technology is called Microwobbleboard, and like the EasyTone sneakers, it is supposed to provide the same instability that walking on sand would create. While I can’t report any major, measurable benefits from wearing these yet, I can say that they are very comfortable and supportive. I’ll continue to wear them for that reason!