Wednesday, December 17, 2008

False Advertising: Is my bum big in these thongs?

We are all rather gullible when it comes to infomercials promising the latest gismo to trim inches off the waist or thighs; tone up the abs and make you super fit. Australians can always be counted on to try the latest trends in workout equipment; hence the reason why they beguile our TV sets with such regularity. Now it is fair to say some fail to live up to their promises and fade out just as quickly as they make headlines, others gradually become evergreens. I still have in my shed, old chest expanders as advocated by Charles Atlas, and from time to time give them a workout.

Among the fitness equipment designed to improve physical well-being are heel less shoes which according to manufacturers encourage the wearer to lose weight. All that is required is you ‘truck on’ wearing the ‘rolly’ shoes and the pounds just melt away. But can it be that simple? Sounds too good to be true - well as always with these things in advertising: Conditions Apply. Quite recently the new exercise sandal aimed at couch potatoes had a rocker action which according to the manufacturers allowed the foot to pivot over the ground. According to their logic filling in the arch of the foot and beyond negated the need for a conventional heel.

Normally the first part of the foot to hit the ground as the leg swings forward is the heel. Changing the contact point to the arch gives extra stretch to the thick heel tendon which according to the manufacturers tones up the gluteal muscles (this gives shape to your bottom) and may help flatten the stomach and strengthen the back, it was claimed.

Independent scientific evidence to support this is scant but rocker styled shoes are commonly prescribed by orthopaedists to reduce pressure on the sole of the foot.

History tells us negative heels or earth shoes have previously enjoyed a fashion run but despite their devotees, the earth shoes were heavily criticised because they caused painful stretching of the tendon Achilles. The same applies with the new crop of ‘rollies’ and some people find them immediately comfortable whereas others not. To date as there is no shoes yet that have won an Olympic medal neither is there a pair to keep you fit, trim and slim. Unfortunately there is a lot more to it than just the shoes you wear and there is no shortcut to a healthy lifestyle.

A good fitting pair of shoes designed for walking or aerobic exercise is a perfect start but caution should be exercised when using ‘rolly shoes’ alone as experts warn you can wind up with more problems than you bargain for. Buyer beware for romantic claims of walking on sand barefoot just like indigenous people did prior to the introduction of modern shoes is rather fancy full but it does help sell the shoes, and they were selling like hot cakes. Dubbed the negative heel or anti-shoe,

Another clever marketing ploy has been to under supply retailers whilst at the same time heavily promoting the product through the media. This creates an artificial demand for the product and a genuine sell out in a store near you. This makes good copy and is a disguised ploy to encourage advanced orders. The selling technique is common place in designer sneaker retail.

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