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Toning Shoes Don't Work!

Fashion/Gift - Fitness


The Toning Shoe Let Down

If you own a pair of Skechers Shape-Ups, MBT's or Reebok EasyTones, I'm sorry to break the news to you BUT they're a sham. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted a study on their effectiveness and found that toning shoes don't really do what they claim to do. Toning Shoes have led wearers to believe they will help them exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone in the glutes, calves, and hamstrings. But according to the ACE study, this isn't true at all.

All three toning shoes tested [in the ACE research study] showed no statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during the treadmill trials, when compared to the normal athletic shoes tested. There was simply no evidence to indicate that the toning shoes offer any enhanced fitness benefits over traditional sneakers. (source)

There's No Such Thing As A Magic Shoe

I know, I wanted to believe in them too even though they're a bunch of eye sores. Seriously, you'd think at least 1 design team could nail a nice looking albeit wobbly shoe. But no. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right? Someone out there really wanted to firm the butts and tone the calves of women worldwide while cutting down on exercise time. I respect that and appreciate whoever came up with the idea. But here's the hard truth: there are no short cuts in life. If you want "perfection" you have to work at it.

If you want a killer booty you have to wake up at 6am and go to Lacey Stone's Bootycamp. If you' want to minimize and tone jiggly thighs then get yourself on the Cuerpaso program by Tadeo. If you want lean and beautifully toned calves you have to take Tina Thompson's Tutu Fresh class at Crunch gyms in NYC. Wearing a pair of rolly polly sneakers isn't going to get the job done. Sweat gets the job done! Increased heart rate gets the job done! Getting out of your comfort zone gets the job done! Ok, you get the point.

What I need explained to me is why women are paying $100 or more for these shoes. Bueller?? I mean, they're not pretty to look at. I'd go as far as saying they're humiliating! The ones above cost $100 (Shape Ups) and $245 (MBT's). It hurts my heart to imagine any woman wearing these clunkers. If you're one of these woman, don't worry--there's still hope! Just keep reading...

Toning Shoes Can Inspire Even If They Don't Work

Apparently toning shoes are good for something and that something is what the ACE study calls MOTIVATION. Women who wear toning shoes show an interest in becoming more fit. So if you really must, here are the best looking toning shoes I could find from Reebok and FitFlop.

Stylist Toning Shoes Reebok EasyTone FitFlop

Reebok EasyTone Reeinspire ($99.99)
Reebok EasyTone Reeinspire Lux Walking Shoe, Dark Silver ($81.57)
Reebok EasyTone Reeinspire Lux l-ll, Gold (124.98)
FitFlop Walkstar 3 Sandal, Silver ($41.65)
FitFlop Walkstar 3 Sandal in Snake (comes in natural/black)


EasyTones are definitely the most stylish toning sneakers out there -- click here to see all the designs. And whether they work or not, I really like the look and feel of FitFlops. They're great for leisurely walking or wearing to yoga and pilates classes when you don't care to throw on sneakers. They're also 20% off at SweatyBetty. If toning sneakers motivate you for the gym, then by golly, buy yourself a pair! Just remember, magic shoes don't least not yet. You can achieve better results more economically by wearing normal running shoes and going for a 20 minute run. Or spend the dough on a new gym membership!

Comment on toning shoes below and tell me if you like the stylish variety I put together!

Get 15% off when you sign up for Reebok’s email newsletter


Credits: More Bad News For Toning Shoes by Charity D., Endless Shoes And More for toning shoe photos


written by Bianca Jade a.k.a Mizzfit


fit couture

Say what's on your mind!

Alexis September 14th, 2010 12:28PM

I have the reebok easy-tones.. you can't use them on the treadmill whatsoever- I learned the hard way lol
But when I used them while at the gym- on the elliptical- my legs felt a difference after my workout. I don't know about these studies, but I sure felt a difference in my workout.

Bianca September 14th, 2010 3:47PM

I found that the fitflops (I agree, they're ugly) have more support and I walk longer and more often in them. My knees and hips don't hurt as much after wearing them all day around the city. Regulad flip flops have no support so by the end of the day I give in and take the subway. I don't believe they firm or tone my tush but they are more comfortable than other summer shoes.

MizzFIT September 14th, 2010 4:32PM

Alexis, I'm glad you're informing mizzFIT readers about your experience wearing EasyTones at the gym. Running takes a toll on legs and I wouldn't think EasyTones are the best for it. I imagine your legs were screaming in pain afterwards! But it's interesting that you enjoyed the challenge of the EasyTone on the Elliptical. Sounds like it made your cardio a lot harder. Thanks for commenting and if you wouldn't mind, let us know which EasyTones you have (especially if you like them).

MizzFIT September 14th, 2010 4:36PM

I totally agree with you. Fitflops are a nice, feel good option for summer walking. They're way better than flat flip flop especially since they have some arch support. I actually think Fitflops are kinda cute...if you pick the right style. I'm sure you walk a lot since you live in a it sounds like these shoes really come in handy for you. What do you think of the price? At first they seemed pricey to me, but I think the Fitflop actually delivers in comfort so I don't mind so much anymore.

Alexis September 14th, 2010 4:43PM

LOL there are kinds??? :-P they are kinda like the green ones in the picture above, but mine have blue and pink in them... they were out of the prettier ones :-)
I bought them around New Year- and my leg muscles were killing the next day LOL! 30 minutes on the elliptical felt more like an hour!

Jennifer September 15th, 2010 6:38AM

Hi. I'm a diabetic, and everytime I've seen them advertised, I've wondered if maybe they help with circulation? (I know,duh, walking helps that too), but sometimes I need a little extra help.- Also, that commercial where the guy is jogging and overlooks the perfectly normal figure for the one that is supposed to be oober-amazing from toning shoes is just false advertising??? I'm stunned!! :)

MizzFIT September 15th, 2010 7:26AM

Hi Jennifer,
Very interesting that you bring up circulation for diabetes. What kinds of things (workouts/gear) have you found to help improve your circulation that you actually enjoy? I'd love to maybe cover this topic. Please email me at And yes, I like to call that kind of advertising "hopeful but unrealistic". Thanks for commenting!

anonymous September 15th, 2010 8:06AM

Hey MizzFIT

YEEEAAHHHH!!! I LOVE this article! I read the study by ACE and was so glad to see such a reputable organization come down hard on these shoes that are a ridiculous marketing ploy. I've had conversations with other fitness professionals and the only "useful" way to incorporate these shoes was with a client who walked with "duck feet", the shoes forced her feet to turn inward because otherwise it was very uncomfortable for her to walk in them. Other than that, they just remind me of the old skool jump shoes that were a trend with George Kastanza back in the early 90s :) Thanks for the great article and for helping women (and men) all over the planet avoid these money pits!

Blake R

MizzFIT September 15th, 2010 11:34AM

Hi Blake!

No problemo. Just not a fan of cutting corners, y'know.
Especially when you'll never see results! Just hear to inform women and help them. Hope you're doing well and enjoying the fresh air in Utah!


Melanie September 18th, 2010 12:19PM

When my sister mentioned she would get a pair of these I told her to save her money, start sweating and stop eating.

MizzFIT September 18th, 2010 12:27PM

I'm gonna say you gave her excellent advice!

Erica Sietsma September 30th, 2010 7:56AM

Thanks for this article...I have been wondering about these. Not for primary work out by any means, but when on vacation or doing a lot of walking around the city, would they amp it up just a little? As they say, every calorie counts...but for the cost, looks like my extra calories are better shaved from not eating that extra couple pieces of cheese...damn damn.

MizzFIT September 30th, 2010 8:00AM

Don't give up your cheese, Erica! Work out more so that you can burn it off. Besides you just might find that you enjoy it. And yes, based on the fact that I know you personally, I just can't imagine seeing you run around town in these clunkers. Although I would pay BIG MONEY to see you do it. That doesn't mean I want you to buy the shoes...miss you and love you!

Maria October 6th, 2010 6:09AM

I think the New Balance shoes are nicer..and how is it possible that the studies done by Reebok etc are all wrong when the results say that they improve muscle tone and fitness (even if it's just until your body gets used to the different shape/position) by a certain percentage? Surely it's illegal for them to give fake results..?

MizzFIT October 6th, 2010 7:07AM

Hi Maria,

Which New Balance shoe do you like? Please post a link to them in your next comment. Unfortunately a lot of companies manipulate the truth in their marketing & advertising campaigns in order to sell their product. All I can say is that it happens all the time. The best thing that you can do when it comes to shopping for anything, especially performance gear, is to be an informed consumer. Check out what trusted bloggers/reviewers have to say about a product, not just what brands are telling you. That way you won't get ripped off.

Thanks for commenting!


MizzFIT October 12th, 2010 4:18AM

To Maria:

I looked up the New Balance shoe that I think you're talking about (the "true" balance WW850) and you're right about it being more stylish than most toning shoes on the market. Here's a link to it on Zappos:

Even though it's cuter, I'm still not sold on toning shoes and would still recommend hitting the gym instead of putting all your eggs in 1 basket. But kudos to New Balance for designing a more attractive shoe than it's competitors.

Thanks Maria and I hope to see you comment more!


Regan Nelson October 28th, 2010 12:48PM

While the research shows there is no increase in muscle activation, there is something to be said about the perceived increase in muscle tone. As the ACE study reported, the shoes help increase motivation....i.e. if you feel like they provide a muscular benefit, it might make you walk further, or maybe a bit faster, and that always has value. I am a fan of anything that motivates people to get out and exercise. As long as the shoes don't affect your gate (and for some they do), why not wear them!

MizzFIT October 29th, 2010 5:00PM

Hi Regan,

Completely agree! Anything that motivates is a big plus in my book. That's why I shared some fashion-forward toning shoe options. While they might not do the work for you...they could motivate you to do the work yourself!

Thanks for your comment.