Skechers Shape-Ups Shakedown

skechers shape upsOne 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.

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


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  1. Jess (Fit Chick in the City) says:

    Thank you so much for reviewing this shoe. I'm often asked by my personal training clients if this specific shoe actually works. Until, now I haven't had an answer for them.

    Love all of your product reviews!

  2. Diane, Fit to the Finish says:

    I've seen this shoe advertised, but just couldn't imagine how it felt to wear it for exercise! Thanks for the review.

  3. kjl says:

    Very interesting. I spent $250 on a pair of MBTs a few years ago to try and help my back problems, and they did nothing for me. They do work different muscles, but they don't have much cushion, and I could only go a couple of miles before getting blisters!! It's nice to know these are actually comfy and look good!!

  4. Moonlight Dancer says:

    I have a pair of MBT and Fit Flops, the MBT are very comfortable and you are right they make you uber aware of your posture, The Fit Flops, I really don't care about their claims they are just super confortable, I love flip flops but they are killer on my super flat fleet, so to get to wear a pair that have so much cushion is a dream.

  5. Judy says:

    The very best thing about the Shape-ups is definitely the comfort and cushy sole. I have struggled with a number of painful foot problems that have kept me from doing the exercise I so desperately need. I put on my first pair of Shape-ups and felt like bouncing! I now have 4 pairs, wear them ALL the time and am able to do my household chores and even get out walking for exercise. They have also improved my sense of balance! For me they are a life-changer, and I would highly recommend them to anyone who is having foot, ankle, or knee problems that are keeping them from working out.

  6. I’ve been using MBT shoes for four years now and I have definitely seen a difference in the musculature in my legs, thighs, and glutes. They definitely help with posture. I also agree that they won’t do anything just wearing them. You have to put them to work. I walk an hour a day and have for years so I can tell you that there has been a difference since I started wearing MBTs.

  7. Nice post… Loved it. Thanks for sharing….