How Safe are Skechers Shape-Ups, Other Toning Shoes?

<"">Skechers Shape-Ups and other so-called toning shoes have become hot items, with sales soon expected to exceed $1 billion. But according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM), Skechers Shape-Ups and other toning shoes could be a risky choice for some people.

Toning shoes are also sometimes referred to as wellness shoes, fitness shoes, or rocker bottom or rocker sole shoes. Currently, there are more than 15 manufacturers offer toning shoes, and more are entering the market. Prices vary widely from $30 to more than $250. Some brands currently available include:


• Skechers Shape Ups

• Reebok Easy Tone (while not considered a true rocker, it is designed to be unstable to mimic some of the effects of rocker sole shoes.)

• Cogent

• Ryn

• Mephisto Sano

• Earthshoe

• Fitflops

• Avia iBurn

• Z7

• Springboost

• Orthaheel

• New Balance Rock and Tone

• Dansko

• Chung Shi

• Champion Pace

According to the AAPSM, as is typical in advertising, some toning shoe manufacturers greatly overstate the benefits and do not fully disclose the risks associated with toning shoes.

In discussing the risks of toning shoes like Skechers Shape-Ups, the AAPSM writes:

“The same features that can provide benefits in some users may have consequences in others. For example, the unstable design while showing benefits in terms of balance in some users may increase the risk of falls in others. Those with a history of falls, chronic ankle instability, vertigo or poor balance may not be candidates for toning shoes.

Other considerations include; because of the increased ankle dorsiflexion in early stance, those with history of Achilles tendonopathy may not tolerate this type of footwear. Also, manufacturers assume a normal limb alignment for those who may wear these shoes, therefore those with transverse plane deformities such as in-toeing or out-toeing will not have normal heel-to-toe transition in these shoes and could potentially be more prone to tripping or falling.”

Last week, we reported that an Ohio woman has filed a lawsuit against the maker of Skechers Shape-Ups, claiming the shoes had caused her to suffer two fractures in her hips. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, a restaurant server, had been wearing Skechers Shape-Ups at work for about five months when she began experiencing excruciating pain. An MRI revealed that the plaintiff had sustained fractures in the femoral necks of both hips, and her doctor believes they were the result of wearing Skechers Shape-Ups. The plaintiff underwent surgery to repair her broken hips and was left with six screws in her body.

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