Should you try toning shoes?

People want to get fit, but they don't always have time to make it to the gym. Maybe that's why there are suddenly so many brands of toning shoes, AKA fitness shoes, wellness shoes, or rocker-sole shoes.

Toning sneakers are built differently than conventional fitness shoes. Instead of supporting your foot and making it easier for you to perform on the track or court, toning shoes make it harder for you to stand, to walk, and to balance. By rocking from heel to toe, the shoes force you to adjust your gait and force your leg muscles to work harder.

Toning shoes are nothing new. Podiatrists have long prescribed shoes similar to toning shoes to help those with foot, ankle, joint, or movement problems. Toning shoes may help those with certain types of foot pain or foot arthritis. If you have an existing foot or ankle problem, check with your doctor before trying toning shoes.

Toning shoes can cause trouble. Brands marketing the special shoes claim benefits to balance, muscle strength, and calorie burning, but foot experts warn that the shoes can pose risks, especially among those prone to falls. Toning shoes happen to be quite a bit heavier than normal shoes, and the extra weight could stress your joints or trigger muscle fatigue.

Toning shoes are not a cure-all. If you're looking to tone the muscles in your legs and bum, toning shoes may help a little. But some research has found that the special shoes create no real benefit when compared to normal fitness shoes. Use of toning shoes should not take the place of other fitness activities. You can save money and reduce risk of shoe-related injury by doing balancing exercises wearing normal fitness shoes. Good old-fashioned lunges and squats do the trick!

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