How Toning Shoes can put the Spring Back into Your Step

Published: 11th November 2011
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If you want to feel better and look better, start walking. If you want to magnify the effects of walking, step out in a pair of toning shoes.

Toning shoes alter the way you step. Some manufacturers create a sense of instability so your body naturally balances itself and you end up using muscles not often exercised. Other shoes offer more compression or shock absorbing soles, which allow you to walk further. Still another designer created a sole that actually raises the toes higher than the heel. Each manufacturer of toning shoes has a different goal in mind for their shoes, but all of them offer these same benefits:
·         Reduces the stress on your knees and joints, and also lessens back pain
·         Improves posture and encourages a healthier gait 
·         Stimulates long-neglected muscles
·         Tones your abdominal muscles, thighs and buttocks
·         Burns more calories than standing or walking in other shoes

You may think toning shoes are limited to athletic shoes, but that is far from the case. Toning shoes are now available in the following styles:
·         Athletic (running, walking and outdoor)
·         Boots
·         Clogs
·         Dress shoes
·         Mary Janes
·         Sandals
·         Slip ons
·         Thongs

If you want the benefit of toning shoes, you can find a shoe in almost any material, including canvas, leather, mesh, nubuck, patent leather, sheepskin, suede, woven or polyurethane.

Price is not really a consideration either. Some models start at under $50, with others more than $100.

There are multiple toning shoe manufacturers from which to choose. You should study up on them to know what each manufacturer offers and the therapeutic nature of their shoes. In other words, find the manufacturer who best fits your feet.

MBT Shoes

MBT footwear by Swiss Masai was one of the early innovators in the field of muscle toning shoes. MBT, which stands for Masai Barefoot Technology, is known as the "anti-shoe." The shoes were designed to simulate the effect of walking barefoot, just like the members of Africa’s Masai tribe. The Masai walk long distances on hard ground, yet suffer very little joint or back trouble

MBT has patented its multi-layered curved sole that gives you the feeling of walking and standing on uneven ground. In an effort to keep balanced, you unconsciously activate muscles that normally are not active. MBT says its "anti-shoe" will improve your muscle tone and shape, your posture and gait, and reduce the stress on the joints in your legs.

Skechers Shape-Ups

You will recognize a pair of Skechers Shape-Ups when you spot the shapely sole. It’s this unique sole that lets you "shape up while you walk," as the company advertises. The Shape-Ups have a kinetic wedge insert built in to absorb shock as you walk. The rolling sole and dual-density midsole help tone your muscles and improve your cardio health and circulation as you walk. The result is less body fat, more tolerance to exercise, better posture and less muscle tension or joint problems.

Earth Shoes

As Earth Shoes tout, wearers are "3.7 degrees to wellness." The 3.7 degrees reflects the Kalsø negative heel technology used in Earth Shoes. An inclined sole positions the toes 3.7 degrees higher than the heels, which redistributes the wearer’s body weight. To compensate for the negative heel position, each shoe offers reinforced arch support, which promotes a very natural walking motion. Finishing off the Earth Shoe is a BioFoam cushioned footbed, which molds to the feet and absorbs shocks.

Manufacturers say that wearing Earth Shoes will allow you to burn four times more calories than other shoes, which leads to more lean body mass, better posture and easier breathing.

Orthaheel

Orthaheel shoes were designed by a podiatrist – a foot doctor who sees all the problems ill-fitted shoes can cause. Orthaheel, which offers "well-being with every step," offers a collection of sandals, slippers and athletic shoes. They feature flexible and lightweight construction and, most importantly, a built-in orthotic. As a result, Orthoheels will reduce pronation (the foot turning inward). You will be walking more confidently, knowing your feet are getting the support they need.

Dr. Andrew Weil Footwear

Dr. Andrew Weil Footwear is a cross between Dr. Weil’s integrative medicine and Orthaheel’s podiatrist designs. The Orthaheel Tri Planar Motion Control footbed keeps the back of your foot properly aligned. In the front of the shoe, the First Ray Flexor Zone offers forefoot mobility and an efficient gait. Put it together in one shoe, and the walker will experience better balance and posture and can reduce the risk of foot and leg injury from misalignment.

As you can see, there are a host of shoe manufacturers offering toning shoes. Others fully engaged in this industry are Mephisto’s Sano Collection of fitness walking shoes, Reebok and its Balance Ball technology, New Balance and its "rock&tone shoes," and Alegria, with its mild rocker sole and fun, colorful uppers. Take a moment to discover the toning shoes that best fit your lifestyle and daily routine now.


Jimmy Haley is a freelance writer who writes about a variety of topics and brands such as toning shoes.

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