Do Fitness Shoes Actually Work?

Learn the truth about fitness shoes, and whether they actually tone muscle, burn more calories, or eliminate injuries.
Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #16

Other Uses of Fitness Shoes

But before you throw out your fitness shoes, it is important to realize that there may be benefits that go beyond muscle activity and metabolism. For example, because the heel is lower than the toes, fitness shoes may help to improve flexibility in heel tissues, which could theoretically help relieve pain from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. These shoes might also strengthen weak muscles in the foot.

Fitness shoes may also help motivate you to exercise, based on the simple fact that if you have a pair of shoes devoted to walking, you may be more likely to walk when you put on that special pair.

So if wearing fitness shoes makes you feel more motivated to walk, helps reduce discomfort you may experience in your feet during physical activity, or simply fits into your fitness fashion, then by all means--wear fitness shoes!

Get the Benefits Promised by Fitness Shoes without Fitness Shoes

Think about the claims made about fitness shoes: nicer calves, a better butt, tight and toned thighs, and improved posture. Are there ways to achieve these benefits less expensively You bet! Here are some quick and dirty tips to help you with those specific goals:

Quick and dirty tip for nicer calves: Every morning when you take a shower, attempt to perform 50 to 100 calf raises. For added difficulty, do them on a stair, and try 4 sets of 25, with each set separated by 25 light hops on your toes.

Quick and dirty tip for a better butt: Be sure to check out my previous newsletter tip “What Are the Best Exercises to Tone My Butt?”, in which I tell you how to get a better butt and show you a video of a butt-toning workout that works.

Quick and dirty tip for tight and toned thighs: If you caught any of the Tour de France on TV, you may have noticed that cyclists have some of the most impressive legs in the business, particularly in their thighs. So if you’re going for that impressive, spandex-worthy upper leg musculature, include 2-3 bike rides or spin classes in your weekly fitness routine, with a focus on hill climbs and interval training.

Quick and dirty tip for improved posture: Right now, roll your shoulders back, suck in your stomach, raise your chin, and tighten your butt. You suddenly have perfect posture, don’t you? Now, try a Farmer’s Walk exercise, in which you do all those same postural modifications, but you walk with a relatively heavy set of dumbbells or weights in either hand. Try 3 sets of 25 yards of Farmer’s Walks.

Ultimately, long-term research may eventually find that fitness shoes do offer benefits that we don’t yet know about, or perhaps shoe manufacturers will invent a new way to make fitness shoes more beneficial. But for now, there’s no need to worry that you’re not getting the most out of your walk simply because you aren’t rocking a pair of rockers!

Girl Running image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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