Reebok’s new EasyTone walking shoe is a hit. Why? Reebok says leg and buttock muscles are better toned than regular walking shoes. Tara Parker-Pope in the NYT:
While most athletic shoes offer support and cushioning, the new muscle-activating shoes are engineered to create a sense of instability. Design elements like curved soles and Reebok’s “balance pods” are said to force the wearer to engage stabilizing muscles further, resulting in additional toning for calf, hamstring and gluteal muscles.
Is it the shoe or the attitude that comes with the shoe?
The shoes are designed only for walking, and because of the instability design, wearers are discouraged from running, jumping and engaging in other athletic activities while wearing them. So the real effect may come from simple awareness that they are wearing a muscle-activating shoe, causing them to walk more briskly and with purpose.
It’s the attitude.