A couple of weeks ago Reebok was sued for making false claims about their EasyTone “fitness” shoes. The lawsuit asks the court to make it a class action lawsuit. According to a story in the Quincy, MA, Patriot Ledger:
A lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of Massachusetts consumer Sandra Altieri claims Reebok made false claims about the efficacy of its toning shoes in delivering more of a workout to leg and butt muscles than a typical shoe.
Supposedly, the way they work is to create an instability when walking, causing the muscles to work harder. Reebok claims 28% harder.
Toning shoes are presented as a way to improve muscular definition by using an unstable sole design. Companies such as Reebok that sell toning shoes say this instability causes leg and butt muscles to work more vigorously than they would if the wearer was using a typical sneaker.
(Whole article here.)
The problem is, a study by the American Council on Fitness found no such benefit.
From a barefooters point of view, the whole idea is insane. Why would you want to create an instability when you walk? One of the real joys and benefits of walking barefooted is the great feedback and proprioception that it gives you. When I’m working in the kitchen, some of the joy of barefooting is the feeling of dancing from counter to counter. I rise up on the ball of my foot and pivot. I shift weight from one side of my (bare) foot to the other. It gives such a feeling of control, of awareness. The same applies when I play tennis, or do a number of other activities. And along the way, this is strengthening my foot. It’s making my foot do its normal function!
Compare that to the false sense generated by the EasyTone. Bah!