Shaper Shoes: Remarkable…or a Rip-off?

A couple of weeks ago Sports Authority ran a sale on Skechers Shape-ups for $100. Just to the right of the Skechers ad was  a $25 off coupon with a $100 purchase.  Here, kitty, kitty.

I confess, I almost went for it. I’d been wanting to try some of those shaper-upper shoes for the longest time. They’re cute and the people wearing them in the ads always have great legs. Besides, it says right there on their website that they boost the number of calories I could burn each day. Win-win!

Three things happened before the store opened and I could get my materialistic little hands on them:

1) I spotted 3 of my 5 pairs of sneakers*lined up along the baseboard in my bedroom. They are not in the closet, which is waaay across the room, because these are my “active” sneakers, meaning I use two or more pairs of them daily.

2) I remembered that I am unemployed. I don’t really need to be spending money on more sneakers. (See point 1.)

3) I realized that the reason I hadn’t purchased these shoes back when I had a j-o-b was that they didn’t make sense to me on some sort of intellectual level.  It makes sense that they can help with posture, but can a pair of shoes really help me burn more calories? That suddenly sounded an awful lot like one of those “burn more calories while you sleep” commercials.

That did it. I was out of the game. And with only the teensiest regret. (I waited until Wednesday to throw away the ad.  :) )

I have no idea if Skechers or the other “shaper shoes” on the market actually help lose weight or tone up, but according to Christina Settini, reporting for Forbes, Inc., they’re a rip-off:

Reebok calls it the EasyTone; Skechers, the ShapeUp. These curved-sole shoes, transforming people into human rocking chairs, cost up to $130 and promise to keep you fit even while grocery shopping. During 2009 sales grew 14-fold to $245 million, estimates market researcher NPD. One problem: “They mostly affect the foot and ankle,” says Dr. Michael Ross, director of Rothman Institute’s Sports Performance Lab, which counts the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies and Flyers among its clients. “There is no evidence they will help you tone better or quicker than a regular shoe.”How to Avoid It: Join a gym.

I’m not criticizing anyone who has these shoes or covets a pair. For one thing, it’s none of my business, and for another, if you like them (they are cute) and can afford them, have at it! And if you see results from them, that’s even better!

For me, though,  the 100-150 squats and lunges I do each week at the gym, coupled with the miles of walking and cycling, are probably sufficient for my leg exercising needs. If I need to burn more calories, I’ll add more exercise.  So what if they don’t look like the legs in the pictures? My legs are sturdy and well-muscled and suit me just fine (excess skin not included.)

And using the appropriate shopper logic, I now have $75 ($100 minus the $25 coupon) to spend. What should I buy? :)

Do you have any of the cute-as-hell-but-may-not-work “shaper shoes”? How do you like them? Can you tell a difference after wearing them? SA may run that sale again, after all, and I really could use help with my posture. :)

*Curious as to why so many shoes? One pair for serious walking outdoors (Asics), one pair for the gym (Asics) and one for zipping about town (Mizunos, formerly outdoor walkers until I wore the good tread off). The back ups in the closet are for muddy walking (my very first pair of Asics, now almost 3 years old) and….well, the other pair is New Balance and they’re not really good for much of anything. Nothing wrong with NB; these just aren’t good for long walks or gym work. I should really donate them. (NBs are now headed to a church rummage sale.)

Reebok calls it the EasyTone; Skechers, the ShapeUp. These curved-sole shoes, transforming people into human rocking chairs, cost up to $130 and promise to keep you fit even while grocery shopping. During 2009 sales grew 14-fold to $245 million, estimates market researcher NPD. One problem: “They mostly affect the foot and ankle,” says Dr. Michael Ross, director of Rothman Institute’s Sports Performance Lab, which counts the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies and Flyers among its clients. “There is no evidence they will help you tone better or quicker than a regular shoe.”How to Avoid It: Join a gym.

27 thoughts on “Shaper Shoes: Remarkable…or a Rip-off?

  1. Ok, I’m a little insulted! I got a pair of these Sketchers quite some time ago, when they only cost $85. Wore them a bit for a good two weeks. I was told by my friend who had purchased a pair, that they were wonderful for her knee pain. Well, of course, that sold me right then and there. What I did not realize was, that with my knee issues (and related balance issues), these are not the shoes to be wearing for distance walking. Damned near fell off of them walking to the football game last fall!! They are comfy, and look cute as the dickens, but I am not at all convinced they do one single thing they claim to do, except look good. Soooo, if anyone wishes to try a “Lightly Worn” pair of size 9, black and white Sketchers, I’ll be happy to send them on to you. :)

    • Oh no! I never meant to insult you or anyone else! They may work exactly as advertised, and this Christine (what do we really know about her anyway?) may be all wet. They just don’t make sense for me.

      That said, I’m a size 10 shoe, and if I thought there was the slightest chance I’d fit in a 9, we might be wheeling and dealing about now. :)

    • How much do you want for your sketchers if they are still available? I wear a size nine and have been wanting to try them.

  2. I have the Therashoe version that I bought at Kmart for about $40. I don’t know if I’m getting more toned or shapely because there is still a ton of fat lurking. However, I can say that it has done wonders for back pain and for my knee and ankle I hurt over a month ago. The support is wonderful. In fact I have sandals of the same version that I wore last year to Indianapolis for the race and walked about 10 miles a day with no pain.
    .-= Jenera´s last blog ..How Could I Forget? =-.

  3. I have been SOO curious about those ding dang shoes! I read a blog who said she really felt a difference in the soreness of her calves. But, if I’m wearing my workout shoes, I’m probably exercising, not being too leisurely in my activities. (Asics all the way!)
    .-= Trisaratops´s last blog ..My I heart Seattle weekend =-.

  4. I don’t have these shoes, but tried a pair on for fun at Macy’s the other day. They felt weird and I didn’t love the way they looked. I don’t even spend $100 on my running shoes so I’m definitely not rich enough to buy these for walking around!

  5. Remember when the Dr. Scholl’s sandals first came out? The way my toes gripped that wooden hump in the sole was supposed to shape my legs. I have to admit, my foot muscles were sore, but I never saw a difference in my legs. And, I made a lot of noise clomping around in those things.

    It was fun though….. dreaming…… and clomping…..

  6. I have a pair and they do work! I wear them every day on my lunch break and go for a brisk 30 minute walk. The difference i feel after wearing these in comparison to my regular shoes is amazing! My legs ache… but in a good way! It lets me know that they have actually worked the muscles harder! I’ve noticed after a couple of months of wearing them that i’m becoming more and more toned. Oh and they are sooooo comfy too!
    .-= rebecca´s last blog ..Reebok Reetone Reviews =-.


    I say placebo effect.
    when I reviewed a pair I found NO CHANGES but could see how merely wearing em would make people walk more, walk straighter, tighten the glutes and core.

    I say as you do: SAVE YER MONEY
    .-= MizFit´s last blog ..No Excuses! part 3 coming tomorrow! =-.

  8. Cammy, I am with you on this. I’ll admit after an initial interest in them, I have felt that the shoes are a little gimmicky. There is no quick fix and having these shoes will not instantly help anyone lose weight or get their legs in shape.
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..Yes, my “balls” are back =-.

  9. Yes, I own a pair actually a couple of pairs….do they work? I really don’t know and I think to find that out you would have to walk a LOT and for a LONG time. I can feel them in my legs more so perhaps they burn more calories. I would also have to say that the sketchers are super duper comfy to me. You should try some on for the fun of it and walk around the store. Some say they feel weird??!! everyone is different! TY for sharing your thoughts!

  10. Hi Cammy!

    I found you from over at Karen’s blog – Waisting Time. I like your blog!

    I also have Asics running shoes (one older pair and one newer pair like you) and I love them so much I can’t imagine there’s anything better out there than these!

  11. I thought about getting a pair of those shaper shoes but aside from the price tag I was turned off by the look of them. I almost got a black pair since the soles don’t look so big when they’re all one color.

    My friend bought a cheaper brand at payle$$ and swears they make her muscles work harder but I’m not convinced.

    vraz60, if you really want to get them out of your closet, I’d love to try those size 9’s. 😉

  12. My mom has always had a really hard time finding shoes that work on her Birkenstock-ed feet (she’s a lesbian: it’s part of her morale code to wear Birkenstocks and have too many cats). Until MBTs came into her life (like Sketchers but with a pricetag on steroids, like $200!), she only wore open-toed Birkies. She does not exercise, nor does she have health challenges. Shoes just hurt. But not with MBTs. That said, MBTs have been a true investment for her. I tried them on, but they make me more motion-sick than watching lava-lamp. :)

  13. Hi again. I forgot to tell you that I added you to my blog roll. Thanks for the great blog! :) Congrats on your huge success. You look great! :) Hugs, Kirsten

  14. I really want a pair of these shoes. I think they are cute. I don’t believe the hype about the leg toning or calorie burning, but I do like the idea of improved posture. But, the price….no thanks! Even at $75 that’s a bit too steep for my wallet! But they are cute!

  15. I feel compelled to post because I’ve actually had positive results. My favorite thing about my Shape-Ups is this is the first time in my life that my feet don’t hurt at work. I am a high school teacher, and one of the ways I try to stay healthy is to not sit at my desk. Standing 8 hours a day has been difficult for years, but after 6 months I can say that I have not had a single day of foot, leg, or lower back pain due to standing/walking at work. It is remarkable and worth every penny of the $100 dollars I forked over (never having paid more than $30 for a pair of shoes, it was quite hard to do…). I also tend to walk faster and with better posture when I wear them. Calorie loss was hard to track as I have been trying to adjust my calorie intake as well.

  16. I bought the Therashoe version at Kmart yesterday. Too early yet to tell what they’ll do for me, if anything. I see nothing cute about these shoes – they are downright ugly – lol!! Anyway, I think if you wear any shoe, and make sure with each step you’re walking heel to toe (most people don’t and don’t realize it), you’ll get the same result!!

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  18. I just got a pair of knock off shape-ups, they are made by L.A. Gear. They were 24.99 at Ross Dress For Less. Best shoes I’ve ever owned.

  19. ok, I splurged and got a pair this weekend. I was long overdue for a pair of decent walking shoes. I was doing 30″ of power walking on hard concrete and the bones in my feet were starting to give me trouble. The jury’s still out but I felt a difference today.

  20. Okay guys, heres my two-sense. I bought a pair of knock-offs from Ebay in September ….LOVE THEM, best $30 spent!!!!!
    I walk my son to and from school everyday in these bad boys, if you use them regularly, they will work for you too. I am still wearing mines now in the snow and ice, I can even feel the extra work my legs have to do when I walk on grass, bt its so worth it.
    I have wide and flat feet, arthritis in my back, and knee joint pain; usually when Im walking in regular shoes, my feet start aching because teh shoes dont fit well. However, when Im wearing my shapers, I’m able to powerwalk comfortably.
    Altogether, I’ve lost 30″ since I started walking in September; my calves alone are 3″ smaller, and because of my back, the only exercise Ive been comfortable doing lately is walking (so I know it is whats working for me.)
    FYI, my butts getting perkier by the day!

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