Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Heel less wonder shoes - everyone’s doing it: But for how long?

A recent study funded by the American Council on Fitness and Nutrition was conducted by researchers with the University of Wisconsin, who compared three ‘fitness shoe’ models with a standard running shoe and found no major difference in the shoes’ impact on exercise intensity or muscle activation. New Balance has recently released their TrueBalance in a bid to compete in the ‘fitness shoe’ brigade. A market which appears to attract significant attention from consumers keen to wear shoes capable of toning their buttocks and thighs with every stride. New Blanance boasts their shoes contain ‘balance-board technology’ with a series of “leaf springs” inside the shoe. There is some rounding in the sole but unlike it’s rivals not overly pronounced. The “hidden toning” features are meant to provide a better range of motion in all directions compared with the recognizable and awkward back-and-forth rocking of rival brands. Heel less wonder shoes are not suitable for everyone as manufacturers do point out, and people with foot pain or foot problems including osteo- arthrosis and weak ankles should avoid them. Only under the recommendation of a profession it appears can heel less shoes be used as a rehabilitation aid which helsp tone and strengthen muscles. The first test case against a manufacturer has already begun in the US. A lawsuit was filed in the Boston Federal Court recently claiming Reebok made false claims about the efficacy of its toning shoe (Easy Tone) in delivering more of a workout to leg and but muscles than a typical shoe. The lawsuit is asking the court to block Reebok from continuing its current EasyTone marketing campaign, to require the company to conduct a “corrective advertising campaign,” and to reimburse consumers who bought EasyTone shoes. Reebok have responded with a statement they will vigorously defend EasyTone shoes and the technology behind their footwear. If it is certified as a class action lawsuit, the suit claims it could net more than $5 million US for the plaintiffs because of widespread sales of EasyTone shoes. Watch this space.

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