"Exercise" Shoes Get Their Foot in the Door - NBC New York

"Exercise" Shoes Get Their Foot in the Door



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    Donna Ho in her Shape Ups

    The Sketchers instructional video for Shape-ups starts with a woman frustrated on a treadmill, then cuts to the same woman walking outside.

    "With Shape-ups you can finally get in shape without going to the gym," says the voice-over as the woman smiles in stride.

    A Reebok ad for a similar shoe, the EasyTone, is hard to forget.

    Reebok EasyTone shoes not only look fantastic they'll help make your legs and butt look great too," says an attractive young fit woman in the commercial as the camera zooms right into the woman’s butt.

    "Exercise" Shoes Get Their Foot in the Door

    [NY] "Exercise" Shoes Get Their Foot in the Door
    A growing number of women who are turning to toning shoes to help get in shape.
    (Published Wednesday, May 12, 2010)

    That commercial worked on Queens resident and shoe blogger Donna Ho.

    "I was like what is this? This is crazy,” said Ho, who writes for the blog Running With Heels.  “I was a little disturbed at first then I thought this kind of cool it would be fun to try out."

    Donna is part of a growing number of women who are turning to toning shoes to help get in shape. For the last three months Donna's been living in her Reebok EasyTones.

    She says the shoes give her more of a workout than the average sneaker because of two balance pods on the bottom of each shoe.  The technology makes exercising, even just walking, more challenging.

    But what about the main selling point: that thing about the legs and butt?

    "I don't see any drastic difference but I think the fact that I can feel them warming up makes me feel better," says Ho.

    Toning shoes are being sold more and more. The high-end MBT brand has been on the market the longest but now has low-priced competition from Reebok and Sketchers Shape-ups. All advertise better workouts by just lacing up.

    "It puts you in an unstable situation and it challenges your body to stabilize," says William Wright who is a trainer in New York.

    He thinks the sneakers are made more for marketing than muscle.   Wright argues once the body adapts to the shoes the results plateau.

    "It's all about variety. You have to have variety in everything you do," says Wright.

    Toning shoes aren't only for looking great, some say they can also make you feel great.

    Brooklyn resident and marathon runner Gabrielle Rubenstein-Cheong started wearing Shape-ups after her podiatrist told her it would help with a toe injury.

    "As soon as I started wearing them the pain went away and they're super comfortable," says Rubinstein-Cheong.

    She thinks the shoes work out her core more than her butt. Even though she wears them frequently, you won’t catch her wearing the Shape-ups in shorts.

    "They're really really ugly and I'm trying to hide them as much as possible."