Review: Skechers Shape-Ups

Skechers Shape-Ups

Disclosure: I was sent a free pair of Skechers Shape-Ups shoes to review.

Update on 5/16/2012: Skechers to pay $40 million over deceptive ads

I don’t intend to do many reviews on JenFul, if any at all, but I had committed to this one when I was still posting at PastaQueen, so I decided to follow through on that. I committed to it because over the years several readers have asked me what I thought of shoes that are advertised as toning your body while you walk.

Shape-Ups are shoes that are promoted as helping you lose weight, tone your muscles and improve your posture. They have a rounded sole that resembles the bottom of a boat which you can see in the picture below. They’re also very cushy, like they lined the bottom with marshmallows. (Mmmmm, marshmallows. There’s a shoe idea for you: shoes that correct your posture and also provide a yummy treat! I bet Lady Gaga would wear them and make a marshmallow dress to match.) The design of the shoe is supposed to activate muscles in your legs and, how do I say this tastefully? You buttocks? Your hiney? Your booty, bottom, bum, buns, rear end, rump, arse, backside, posterior, caboose, toosh, trunk? Thank you Urban Dictionary for the not-safe-for-work synonyms.

Skechers Shape-Ups

I wore these shoes for a few days to see if I noticed any difference in my posture or developed any muscle soreness, which seemed like it would be a good indicator that I was using muscles I didn’t typically use. Please note: I replaced the normal insoles with the orthotic inserts my podiatrist gave me awhile ago to help relieve my tendonitis. I checked with the Skechers marketing people and they said that was ok to do for the review. In case you have no idea what the heck orthotics are, they’re like normal insoles but they have a stiff plastic arch that supports my flat feet. This helps relieve the irritation and inflammation around my tendon. They’re working too, so thank god for podiatry. Anyway, the cushy-ness of my orthotics doesn’t seem that different from the cushy-ness of the regular Sketcher insoles, so I don’t think they affected my gait much if at all. The point of orthotics is that they force your feet to be positioned the way they should be anyway.

I definitely noticed a difference in how these shoes felt and moved in relation to my normal Saucony running shoes. The rounded bottoms provide less stability both forward and backward, left and right. Thus you have to use your muscles more than normal to correct. It reminded me of walking on sand which similarly forces you to use more muscles to remain stable. Please note that the shoes only created a slight instability. I never felt in danger of twisting my ankle or toppling down the stairs or experiencing similar disasters. That said, if you have a knee injury or loose joints, these probably aren’t the shoes for you.

I also found myself rocking back and forth on the soles when I was waiting in line at the coffee shop or at Jo-Anns. I doubt this caused me to burn a significant amount of calories, but it probably did strengthen my muscles a teeny, tiny bit, and provided a way to amuse myself while the woman in front of me in line did a $50 return. I wore the shoes when I was out running errands, but I didn’t do any significant amount of walking while wearing them. I’ve had to cut back on that recently because of my tendonitis.

The pair Sketchers sent me are the shiny black sneakers with hot pink trim, which made me feel like I should wear them to a marathon in outer space, if such a thing existed. It looks like they come in a variety of colors and designs though, so you don’t need to put on your day-glo jewelry to accessorize your shoes. They’ve got designs targeted for walking, running, training, hiking, and work which you can view on the tabs on this page. It seems like you would most benefit from wearing these all day, so the loafer and sandal designs would be a better choice to match most employer’s dress codes, if you do not work in outer space.

My final opinion? They’re definitely an interesting shoe. I can’t definitively say they would cause me to lose weight or firm my booty, toosh, bum…(you know the rest). I can’t imagine that they would cause you to burn less calories though. They might appeal to nurses or other people who spend all day on their feet.

So, there you go! That’s how Shape-Ups shaped up for me. Please excuse me as I prepare for my outer space marathon.

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NRE • August 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Love your blog and have been reading for years. Just want to add my own little review for these shoes: I have back problems and found that the odd-shaped soles didn’t give me enough support. I then ended up losing my balance as I stepped off a bus and broke my ankle. I haven’t worn the shoes since.

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Sheila • August 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I‘ve worn the original Shape-Ups for nearly two years. They do have some effect, as proven by the slight soreness I experience after returning to my walking routine after a break of a few days. I’ve been alternating wearing them with the second-generation Tone-Ups for about a year. They work in different ways, judging by muscle feel. Shape-Ups work my leg muscles all the way to my waist. Tone-Ups concentrate more specifically on the upper leg (butt) muscles. At the very least, both promote good posture, a worthwhile goal in itself. I gave both types of shoes to my sister, who also likes them. I have no relationship with the company other than being a satisfied customer.

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Fran • August 13, 2011 at 5:20 am

My husband works in a hospital in our snowbird town. They have seen an increase of ankle and knee injuries from people wearing these shoes, mainly baby boomers and older. I’ve never worn them, so I wouldn’t know, but people might want to be careful at least until they get used to the different shape of the shoe.

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Donna • August 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I thought CBS news program, newspapers also did an expose on testing for these shoes, and that scientific evidence is that they do not improve muscle functioning or calories burned in comparison to regular workout shoes. Did anyone else see this? The concern is that this $780plus million dollar business is built on hype and womens’ (especially me!) suseptibility to advertising. Any response from Skechers?

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NewMe • August 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I have a similar pair of shoes (MBTs) and I’ve stopped wearing them because of balance issues. They’re fine to walk around in, however I almost killed myself wearing them in a crowded bus. If you’re standing when the bus stops suddenly (as they often do), you can really take a header.

Thumbs down from me.

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RebeccaNYC • August 14, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I asked my PT about the safety of these shoes and she gave them a BIG two thumbs down. She has seen way too many injuries because of them. Bummer. Guess my butt will just have to sag.

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Carbie Girl • August 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I got a pair a few years ago and they started causing pain in my knees. I don’t recommend them to anyone these days.

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Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

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