Skechers Shape-Ups walking shoes are designed to stimulate more muscles and balance with a rocker sole with a soft kinetic wedge. The rocker sole enhances the natural walking motion of rolling through a step from heel to toe. The sole is designed in three layers with a firm midsole for support and a super soft foam kinetic wedge that absorbs shock with each step and simulates walking in soft sand. This combination seeks to activate more muscles to develop balance and posture and tone leg and buttock muscles.
Updated May, 2012: Skechers is offering refunds to U.S. customers as part of a $40 million agreement with the Federal Trade Commission due to misleading advertising claims for weight loss and muscle toning.
Rocker Sole Shoes
The Skechers Shape-Ups are similar to the Swiss Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoes, with a rocker sole designed to activate and tone more muscles during daily activities or fitness walking. The Skechers Shape-ups stress their soft kinetic wedge sole. This sole provides super shock absorption and a slightly unstable walking platform. This makes the body compensate, activating core muscles and balance training.
The rocker sole enforces a good heel-to-toe walking stride with roll through the step. The extra rear extension exercises the leg and buttock muscles in new ways, which can lead to toning.
I found these shoes to be extremely comfortable right out of the box. The toe box is wide enough for my wide feet. I think these would be great shoes for people who must stand for long periods each day, where cushioning and the slight instability would help prevent fatigue.
However, these are heavy shoes, as are the Swiss MBT shoes. They are simply too heavy for me to wear comfortably. With a short stroll, I appreciated the cushioning but felt strain in my knees. I could immediately feel my quads working trying to pick up my feet. Some walkers will like that extra workout. But those of us with any knee, ankle or hip problems may have them stressed in ways we would rather protect them from. I am generally opposed to heavy shoes for this reason.
Skechers recommends using Shape-ups only for shorter walks of 25 to 45 minutes per day until your body has adjusted to them. Skechers Shape-ups come with a training CD.
Bottom Line on Skechers Shape-Ups
Skechers Shape-ups are about half of the price of the Swiss MBT shoes, but are still in the $80-$120 range. They come in both athletic and lifestyle styles. I would suggest using them as crosstraining shoes rather than using them to train for walking events. A walker might wear them for a shorter walk each day or every-other day in addition to walking in athletic walking shoes. They provide a different workout from regular walking. Be aware of any joint pain developing that can be a sign of overuse injuries.
Skechers Shape-ups Evolution - Lighter and Flexible
Skechers debuted its Evolution model in 2011. This model answered my criticism of the original design. They are lighter in weight and flexible for a more natural walking motion. In my opinion, it would be better to start with the Evolution model rather than original Skechers Shape-ups. Compare Prices
for Skechers Evolution Shape-ups.