Walk This Way

When shopping for new gym shoes these days, you might be tempted to up the ante by choosing a shoe that enhances your workout just by wearing them.

Lots of shoes now claim to relieve stress on your joints and back, while also toning core leg and butt muscles as you move.

Toning shoes all promise to strengthen and tighten muscles as you walk and most of the wearers we talked to did notice an immediate difference. Some even claimed to go down a pant size within weeks just by switching to these shoes.

The downsides? These are heavier shoes, and they can be pricey. Also, be aware that aside from some of the Reeboks, these shoes are meant for walking, not running or aerobics.

Here’s the scoop on the results you can expect to see for each type of shoe.

Skechers Women’s Shape Up-Strength Fitness Walking Shoe
The claim: Burn calories, tone muscles, improve posture and reduce joint stress by walking in these.
We Found: Some gals noticed sore muscles after just one day of wear, but wished the shoes looked less bulky. Watch the DVD that comes with the shoes to learn how to maximize your workout.

Reebok Women’s EasyTone Go Outside Training Shoe
The claim: Balance pods under the toe and heel require your muscles to work harder in order to stay balanced, much like walking on a sandy beach.
We Found: The most stylish of the bunch and very comfortable. You may feel unsteady when you first put them on, but once you get used to the feel, you’ll notice a difference in your leg muscles.

MBT Women’s MWalk Sneaker
The claim: Improves circulation and relieves stress on back and joints while forcing the body to use all muscle groups.
We Found: Although not the most fashionable, wearers, particularly those with foot problems, love these shoes. Though you may feel sore at first, the more you wear them, the more comfortable they feel.

Avia Women’s I-Shape Walking Shoe
The claim: Flex grooves and a padded footbed create a comfy shoe that gets your muscles working.
We Found: These shoes are lighter weight than competitors and great for people with wide feet. Wearers noticed their legs working harder without any knee pain.

FitFlop Women’s Walkstar Classic Thong Sandal
The claim: Flip-flops that are biomechanically engineered to tone and tighten leg muscles, while simulating aspects of barefoot walking
We Found: Some wearers noticed a significant decrease in lower back pain yet felt their leg and butt muscles working. Only complaint: the Fit Flops are more about comfort than fashion, plus the name is indiscreetly embroidered onto the sandal.

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