One of the newest trends in fitness footwear is shoes that will sculpt, shape, lift and tone just by being worn. I’ve been super curious about shoes like MBTs, FitFlops, Reebok’s Easy Tone sneakers and Skechers Shape-Ups for quite some time. And judging by the reader emails we get asking about these various products, we thought we’d take Skechers up on an offer to give these shoes a go and report on them.
After initially receiving a much-too-large pair of shoes in black, I was pleasantly surprised at how cute the correct-sized gray and light blue shoes were. Granted, the shoe doesn’t look like a normal pair of athletic shoes. With a more rounded appearance, the shoe has quite a bit of height to it, giving it an overall thicker, cushier look. While they look a little fat when you’re looking down at them, from the side they have a slimming effect and are surprisingly flattering. The height of the shoe lengthens and slims your legs much like a high heel does—and yes, I realize that sounds bizarre.
When I slipped the Shape-Ups on, I first noticed how comfortable they are. It’s when you stand up that you notice the difference between these shoes and your normal pair of shoes. It almost feels like you’re standing on something, only that something is stuck to the bottom of your shoe. The technical term is “a unique soft kinetic wedge insert and dynamic rolling bottom.” The shoe’s unstable sole makes you uber-aware of your step, but you do adjust to the weird feeling.
I’ve gone on a few lengthy walks in these shoes and wore them while doing chores around the house for good measure. They really do feel so good on my feet—lots of cushion and not even the hint of a blister after a lot of wear. And, surprisingly, when I was wearing the shoes, I really did feel like my muscles were seeing different action than usual. I’d compare it to when you’re walking on sand—you’re using small muscles that you might not use all the time. Now, will those muscles be sore the next day? Probably not.
These types of shoes make a lot of claims, from improving your posture to firming calf and buttock muscles to promoting weight loss. My take on the hype:
Promote weight loss: Sure, these shoes will definitely promote weight loss if you lace them up and get moving while also watching your diet.
Strengthen the back/improve posture: I definitely think these shoes make you much more aware of your posture. With the rounded sole of the shoe, you’re forced to pay attention to your stride a bit more, in turn making you walk taller and stand up straighter, which may also strengthen your back.
Firm calf and buttock muscles: I did feel like these shoes worked my leg and buns more than my typical walking/running shoe. Are they the magic bullet for having a sweet ass and sculpted calves? Probably not, but they’re not going to hurt.
Reduce cellulite and tone thighs: I think only God can cure cellulite. I can’t say I felt a specific burn in my thighs, but walking in any shoe is great for the thighs.
Increase cardiovascular health: In my opinion, it’s the walking, not the shoe, that will really make a difference here.
Reduce stress on knee and ankle joint: These shoes were extremely comfortable. That’s gotta be good for the joints, right?
My overall consensus is that these shoes aren’t going to be the miracle cure if you’re looking for an easy weight-loss fix. But they are super cushy and fun, and I loved wearing them. They spice up a walk just by making it feel different. And yes, I really do think they work your muscles in a slightly different way than your usual shoes. If you’re in the market for a new pair of active kicks, try the Shape-Ups on for size. They won’t make you drop 50 pounds just by putting them on, but anything that gets you wanting to move more is a winner in my book. —Erin
Want to try a pair for yourself? Amazon’s got you covered.