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Question about benefits of toning shoes

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by CamWhite, May 18, 2012.

  1. CamWhite

    CamWhite Active Member

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    {ADMIN NOTE: This post was moved from the threads on Lawsuit filed against Skechers}

    A question for the experts on the arena. I reviewed the American Council for Exercise (ACE) study but one conclusion nags at me:

    "Bryant says he’s also concerned that extended wear of these toning shoes may alter the walking gait mechanics of wearers and, in some cases, potentially cause problems for those who may already be at risk for lower-extremity

    My question is: Is altering gait mechanics necessarily a bad thing? Our feet are designed to move in three planes of motion, and to adapt to terrain fluctuations. But most of us spend the majority of our time on flat, hard level surfaces, such as concrete, tile and asphalt. Is it possible that these surfaces can cause repetitive stress/overuse injuries and pathologically alter our gait wearing ordinary shoes?

    Shoes like MBT, Joya and Ryn shoes do alter gait on concrete , but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. In fact, for many I think it could be quite beneficial. Instead of repetitive foot slapping on concrete, the foot goes into a controlled rolling motion on concrete surfaces. I believe that some of these shoe designs actually protect the body from the repetitive stress of walking on unforgiving, artificial surfaces. With MBT and Ryn, the body balances on the apex of a heel-to-toe rocker. It's nearly impossible to have poor posture in these shoes. It's very easy to assume poor postures in ordinary shoes.

    So is altering gait necessarily a bad thing, as the ACE study suggests? Here's a link to the article:


    By the way I have no problems with any brand being punished for exaggerated, unfounded or fraudulent marketing claims. What I am questioning some of the conclusions drawn by the ACE study. After all, ACE is a trade group representing gyms and personal trainers. Hardly an objective group.
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    There is no clear evidence and I not sure I would agree with the conclusion of the ACE report - technically they are right about the lack of evidence. BUT, that just means the right research has not been done.

    So what are we to do in the context of the lack of evidence to answer questions like that. The approach I have mentioned several times is that the answer needs to be:
    1) Theoretically coherent
    2) Biologically plausible
    3) Consistent with the available evidence

    For (3) we have a lot of biomechanical studies showing the kinetic, kinematic and EMG changes from toning shoes (and that body of knowledge almost doubled yesterday!). What is lacking are the clinical outcome studies to show if or who that lab based parameters will benefit or hurt. So we need to take what we know and extrapolate in the context of (1) and (2).

    So, my current take is yes, those kinetic, kinematic and EMG changes will benefit some people and hurt other people. The problem is which one and predicting a high probability that the postural changes will have clinical benefits.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  3. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  4. drsha

    drsha Banned

    Here is a Position Paper on Rocker Bottom Shoes that was published Dec, 2010 that may shed some light on why/how toning shoes will benefit some and harm others.
    Disclaimer: I am the inventor of Functional Foot Typing and have financial interest in its promotion and use.


  5. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    I thought position statements were consensus documents put out by organizations, not opinion pieces by individuals.

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