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Looking for a new walking shoe, I was intrigued by the concept of the Reebok Easytones. At $120, though, this bargain-shoe-shopper balked and thought, "Maybe not..."

However, I could not get over my initial draw to a shoe that would help make the benefits of walking more of a systemic thing. The adds for AviaSport, Sketcher, and Reebok versions of this same shoe claim whole body toning, improved circulation, and improved posture. I was skeptical, but definitely intrigued. I did a little online research, and found consumer reviews that praised the shoe, saying they really were everything they were advertised to be. When I went shopping for some dress shoes, I saw a display for the Sketcher ShapeUps right at the register, and asked the rep about them. She said she had a pair she wore around the store, and she could definitely feel those muscles working when she walked around.

I decided that since I spend the majority of my day on my feet, walking on my treadmill desk, it was at least worth a shot. Initially I was going for the Reebok Easytones, because of the three styles they look the most "normal." I had only seen the white sketchers, though, which I thought looked like white blocks. Not attractive, by any means. And I think most consumers agree, because there were hardly any tan or black versions of the shoe left when I got to the store, but plenty of white still left. Anyway, I went to Shoe Show because someone told me they had the Easytones there, and arrived to learn that they actually had the ShapeUps, and had never had the Easytones in the first place (That has happened to me twice since being here in this tiny town. Someone told me they had Doc Martens at another store, and what they actually had were Dockers. Not the same thing). I digress...because I saw that they had ShapeUps in other colors, and that these other colors looked much more sleek than the ugly and chunky white ShapeUps. So I bought them. At $100, I still felt like I was sinning, never having spent more than $30 on a pair of shoes for myself. But I figured, if they don't work, I will simply never by them again.

So the actual trying of the shoes: The shoes came with a DVD and a booklet. I am not kidding. I thought that was a little silly, but a little instruction never hurt anyone, right? I mean fools despise wisdom, and I do not want to be a fool. So I watched the DVD and read the booklet, and I was actually glad. They give you some good tips on how to get the most out of the shoes, and how not to injure yourself.

I walked around my house a little bit last night, trying to get used to the motion. I had a sneaky suspicion that starting with them on my treadmill was less-than-clever. I could certainly feel it working my calves and shins, but I thought, "This is silly, I certainly do not feel anything muscular being worked anywhere above my knees. Definitely not in my abdomen." I avoided drawing any complete conclusions yet, though, because they did say your first time walking in them (especially for those who do not walk frequently, but even for advanced walkers) should be no longer than 25-45 minutes.

So I started off on my treadmill thinking it would be a little too easy. They advise starting off slower than your normal walking pace, and I started off at my typical 2.0 mph. After about 5 minutes I slowed down to 1.5, but that felt so dreadfully slow that I bumped it back up to about 1.7. After 40 minutes, I stopped. My calves and shins were hurting, and I was beginning to rethink my decision. But, I did as they said, my first time really walking in them was in the 25-40 minute time frame, so I took of my shoes and stood at my desk for a while.

I started back up after about ten minutes, and was startled to note that I could feel each step creating the necessary tension in my abdomen and in the small of my back. My obliques, especially, were starting to feel the workout. And every step got more comfortable, instead of less. I walked for an hour and loved it. I took another short break, and went to it again.

Wearing the shapeups, I may not necessarily get as many miles in as I have before, because I find it is helpful to stop and rest every 45 minutes to an hour. I am not entirely sure why this is, and - who knows - I may be able to go for longer periods of time as my muscles adjust to the new motion. I am interested to see how this develops.

All that said, I do really enjoy my Sketchers ShapeUps, and it seems they do keep their advertised promises. I can definitely feel muscle groups working as they said they would, and I am thinking I will see some very positive results.

Views: 458

Comment by Melody Joy Buller on January 11, 2010 at 10:50am
Just in case anyone was interested, I have learned that Danskin makes a sneaker like the Skechers for much less money ($25) that is available through Wal*Mart. They only have it in a white sneaker style (so whereas I have the tan skechers that almost pull off dress casual so I can easily wear in my office w/o anyone complaining about dress code, anyone who does not have to worry about that does not need to spend more money for no reason.), and they only have it in Women's.
Comment by rockvillage on February 2, 2010 at 3:14am
The 'ShapeUps' are actually knock-offs of MBT shoes, which are even more expensive! I have been very interested in trying one of these (MBTs or Shape-Ups). Thanks for telling us about the Danskin ones as well.

I see your post on the shoe thread that says you are continuing to wear your Skechers. Let us know how it continues for you.
Comment by Melody Joy Buller on February 2, 2010 at 7:46am
No problem. I will definitely continue to update as I notice any changes or see how well they're working!
Comment by catfiend on April 3, 2010 at 6:41am
Melody, I'm currently trying out the ShapeUps as well. I haven't noticed any difference in how my legs feel after wearing them but my feet LOVE the extra cushioning. On the treadmill at lower speeds (currently running at 1.1mph) I'm not striding long enough to really hit the recessed heel so they feel almost like normal, albeit very cushy, shoes.
Comment by Melody Joy Buller on April 5, 2010 at 6:23am
Have you not had problems balancing when you don't hit the recessed heel? That was probably the most awkward adjustment for me, that I felt off-kilter if I didn't take the time to step heel-first.

I feel more in my legs, these days, than in my abdomen; but I am pretty sure that is largely because I'm now 12 weeks pregnant, so I'm not concerned. I do still feel the shoes working calves & thighs.

If you get to up your speed at all, let me know if that changes the way you feel things. Just curious, did you watch the video that came with the shoes? I debated over its necessity and eventually gave in to at least the short intro. It was actually decently helpful. There was some fairly common sense stuff, of course, but I was glad they took the time to create a DVD for them.
Comment by catfiend on April 5, 2010 at 6:51am
Melody, yep, I watched the video (partly because of your earlier comments.) It seemed to be mostly commen sense, but I mostly ignored the part about using them to workout specifically since all I want them for is walking. I don't feel strange when I don't hit the recessed heel, but I'm pretty sure I would if I weren't a) short and b) taking short, gentle strides at a low speed. I'll let you know if I ever get the pace up much but I wouldn't be too surprised if I keep it under 1.5mph all of the time.
Comment by catfiend on April 5, 2010 at 3:53pm
Well, after further testing, they have to go back. The hard plastic that they use to reinforce the upper eyelets has raised a large blister on my left foot!??! It's not the only problem that I have with them but it's pretty much insurmountable.
Comment by Melody Joy Buller on April 6, 2010 at 6:21am
That's interesting...I wonder if you might see if you got a defective pair? I'm not sure what hard plastic you're talking about, but that is definitely frustrating! I hope they take care of things properly for you!
Comment by catfiend on April 13, 2010 at 4:52pm
Melody, I should have had my wife take a look at them first :) She always has shoe problems (narrow feet) and she suggested not using the upper pair of eyelets to reduce the pressure that chunk of plastic puts on my instep. It worked. I'm now using the ShapeUps for about 6 hours a day, working my way up to the full 8 or 9 that I'm on the treadmill.
Comment by Melody Joy Buller on April 14, 2010 at 6:14am
I'm glad she was able to help you out, that's fantastic :)

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