Posted on January 29th, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger
Skechers’ new stab at a fitness product is a shoe with a large sole, purported to tone muscles (whatever that means), reduce body fat, improve circulation, aerobic conditioning and exercise tolerance, and improve posture while relieving muscle tension and back/joint problems.
Skechers provides research on their website to back-up these claims. Let’s take a look.
1. One study shows that leg muscles are used more with Shape-ups than with standard sneakers. From this, they infer that Shape-ups will tone muscles, improve aerobic capacity and reduce bodyfat… haha, ok Skechers, good one.
Wait, you’re serious? Oh, man!
This study had only 10 subjects and the specifics are not provided. I could not find the study published in a peer-reviewed journal, so I contacted the lead researcher who referred me to Skechers. After a few communications back-and-forth, I’ve been unable to connect with Skechers to discuss the research.
2. The second study shows electromyographic analysis of muscle activity at different speeds with Shape-ups and normal shoes. Shape-ups scores higher at every speed.
“Wearing Shape-ups increases muscle activity, which leads to higher energy consumption compared to normal shoes, so exercising for a long time (walking) will burn subcutaneous fat and visceral fat, and effects such as firmer buttocks may be expected. This varies between individuals.”
Higher energy consumption by how much? 50% more? 1000% more? And, what are the raw numbers? Because the calorie burn numbers produced by walking for any sane length of time may turn out to be negligible in a weight loss effort.
Exercising for a long time will burn subcutaneous and visceral fat, eh? Just how long are we walking for here? Nothing burns fat like low-carb, restricted calorie eating. Nothing.
3. The third study is a 6-week trial at a Chiropractors office where some of his patients were given Shape-ups and told to continue exercise and diet as normal. Average weight loss is said to have been 3.25 lbs. and improvements in glutei strength and low back endurance were found.
This can barely be considered research. There is no control whatsoever and since that data are not published anywhere significant, this all basically means nothing.
In one article I read while trying to find the research, it was said that the women who wore Shape-ups in this trial reported improved posture. Well, a real research study has shown that simply telling people you’re investigating effects of a program on their posture improves their posture (2005 Harman)
These shoes are much like the Massai Barefoot Technology shoes that have been tested in better conditions and published in peer-reviewed journals… for physical therapy purposes, NOT for weight loss. (Romkes 2006, New 2007)
The sad part is people are buying into this as the thing that will help them finally achieve the body they’ve always dreamed of, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are these shoes practically worthless in terms of weight loss, but even worse, they’ll distract people from what they should really be doing to stay on the path to their ideal body. Instead of meticulously tracking their food intake and setting goals, staying active and getting enough sleep, people will mindlessly strap on their Shape-ups and begin their never-ending stroll down the road to nowhere…. and it pisses me off.
But not you. You’re following S.P.E.E.D. You’re reading this blog. You know better. Good for you!