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Skechers Shape-Ups AT All Terrain Trail Shoes

Unstable Trail Shoes?

About.com Rating 1 Star Rating
User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (22 Reviews)

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Updated June 19, 2012

Skechers Shape-ups Diamondback AT All Terrain Walking Shoes

Skechers Shape-ups Diamondback AT All Terrain Walking Shoes

Courtesy of Pricegrabber
Update June, 2012: This model is no longer available from Skechers. Also, Skechers is offering refunds to those who bought Shape-ups.

Skechers Shape-Ups walking shoes are designed to stimulate more muscles and balance with a rocker sole with a soft kinetic wedge. The All Terrain version has a more rugged sole and motion control elements for better stability on uneven trails. This is more than a little bit of an oxymoron -- a toning shoe is inherently unstable and yet they say they have included stability elements. But even worse, these shoes forced me to overpronate. I found my ankles rolling inward from the first step. That can lead to injury, aches and pains.

Rocker Sole Shoes

The Skechers Shape-Ups have rocker sole designed to activate and tone more muscles during daily activities or fitness walking. This sole provides super shock absorption and a slightly unstable walking platform. 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 is supposed lead to more toning.

My gait has been analyzed many times by experts and I have a neutral gait, which is best biomechanically to prevent injury. But immediately upon wearing the Skechers Shape-Ups All Terrain, my ankles were rolling inward in an overpronated gait. Overpronation can lead to many foot, ankle and knee problems, such as plantar fasciitis. This is definitely not a desirable foot motion.

I would urge anybody buying these to buy them at a store where they can analyze your gait and tell you whether these are causing you to overpronate.

I braved using them for several 10-15 minute walks, as recommended when getting used to any toning shoes. While at first they were fairly comfortable to wear and the rocker bottom gives you a feeling of being propelled along, after 10 minutes I was ready to stop. By that time, I could feel the arch pressing up under my foot and it was becoming uncomfortable. This was probably exacerbated by the overpronation, with my foot rolling inward over the rocker bottom of the shoe.

Lacing: I really liked the good, long laces and well-designed lacing system. You are able to modify your lacing pattern to get the best fit.

Unstable Trail Shoes Just Don't Seem Like a Good Idea

Walking and hiking on natural, uneven surfaces should already give you many of the purported benefits of a toning shoe. You will have to correct your balance with each step and put your leg muscles through a greater range of motion. Adding an unstable toning shoe to the mix just doesn't seem like the wisest idea. I've had enough sprained ankles in my life already, thank you. I use trekking poles on trails specifically to prevent too much instability.

The shoes have the typical toning shoe undercut heel, which is actually a good feature for walking shoes -- but not for hiking shoes. Most hiking shoes have a full heel or flared heel for greater stability on the trail and hills.
Why You Need Trail Shoes

Style

I requested the All Terrain shoe mostly for the styling. I got a pair in black with raspberry trim. If you are simply choosing for the appearance and not for wearing them on the trail, then go for it.

The All Terrain shoes actually have a less-aggressive rocker bottom than the original walking versions of Skechers Shape-Ups. The rocker bottom is not obvious at first glance. If you want a stealth toning shoe, this is a good pick.

Bottom Line

I would not recommend these shoes for use on uneven trail surfaces and hills. I recommend these be bought at a store that has experts in fitting running and walking shoes, so they can tell you whether you overpronate in these shoes. If the shoes cause you to overpronate, as they did with me, then I would not buy these shoes.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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