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Experts Warn About Toning Shoes Injuries

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Cleveland, OHIn theory, the idea of Skechers Shape-up shoes and Reebok toning shoes is great; after all, why not design a shoe that helps a person build muscle while carrying out daily activities? But according to various toning shoes lawsuits and critics of the shoes, not only is there an increased risk of toning shoes injury, the shoes do not work as promised.

One lawsuit was filed against Skechers in 2011, alleging a woman who wore Skechers Shape-ups during her work as a waitress developed stress fractures in her hips. The plaintiff, Holly Ward, told Good Morning America (2/16/11) that she has pins in her hips and must undergo physical therapy to recover from the stress fractures.

"The femoral bone is the strongest bone in the human body and I fractured not one but two of them without being in a car crash or any traumatic incident," Ward told Good Morning America.

So-called toning shoes were designed based on the principle of the stability ball - make the shoe somewhat unstable and the wearer's muscles must work harder to stabilize the foot. Furthermore, they were designed to change how people walk, further working the wearer's muscles. But some critics say the shoes have not been adequately tested for safety.

Although experts interviewed by Good Morning America were not convinced that the shoes themselves could cause stress fractures, there are published reports of strained Achilles tendons and injuries due to falls when people wore the shoes.

According to Consumer Reports (8/11), as of May 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received 36 reports of injuries associated with toning shoes on its new complaint database. "That's more complaints than for any other single type of product in the database, which was started in March 2011," the article states. While the majority of complaints included minor injuries such as tendonitis, 15 of the reports apparently included broken bones, some serious enough to require surgery.

Skechers is not the only company to make toning shoes. Avia, Champion, Danskin Now and New Balance all reportedly make and sell toning shoes. Reebok also has a toning shoe, although according to Consumer Reports, it is designed differently than the others.

A spokesperson for the American Apparel and Footwear Association said that the injuries are often caused by misuse of the shoes, but experts question why people should have to relearn to walk to wear shoes safely. Furthermore, some argue that there is little benefit to wearing the shoes.

"If you want to tone your legs and buttocks, we think you're better off spending time in the gym than wearing shoes that could send you to the couch with your foot in a cast," Consumer Reports writes (5/25/11).

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I loved the Avia Avi-Motion shoes and wore them for years. They helped with some back issues and helped build up my legs. Ever since that broad filed a lawsuit I have been unable to find anymore. If fools like her can't walk in the first place, why blame the shoes?

Posted by

on
I purchases the danskin shoe at Walmart after having 5 children I thought they would help tighten my butt and firm my legs and calves not the case all I experienced was foot ,ancle and severe hip pain I used to love dancing now I have trouble walking severe joint pain in knees and hips and daily pain it's been years since I've had these shoes and I'm still suffering I miss running with my children and my quality of life has gone down and there's no doubt in my mind that these shoes were the cause

Posted by

on
Would love to buy Champion toning shoes, white, size 7. Even though you couldn't wear them, others could. They worked great for me...and now, thanks to these lawsuits, I can't find any to purchase.

Posted by

on
the first pair I bought was in 2010 when I landed in Washington DC and realized I had forgotten a decent pair of shoes for my appointments on Capitol Hill the next day. So I went to a local shoe store, bought my first pair. The next day I walked the entire length of the Nat'l Mall and had more energy afterwards than my 16y/o son!

I LOVE my toning shoes! Like other success stories, knee and back pain is virtually eliminated with wearing these. I have several pair in several colors. In addition to wearing them for work, and while giving trainings, I wear them to mow lawn, garden, and split/saw trees in the woods. I'm looking for a winter boot now of the same model.

Posted by

on
I bought skechers shoes hoping to strengten my legs but after wearing them for 2 months, I ended up having very weak ankles and legs, heaviness of both legs, severe pain in my thighs that I used crutches to be able to walk. It is been a month now since I stopped using them but still have lots of pain and heaviness of both legs. By the way, I'm 23 years old and used to be very fit and athletic but not any more thanks to Shoes of devil!

Posted by

on
I have suffered from back pain and knee pain for the last few years. Shortly after starting to wear my Champion toning shoes my knee pain went away entirely. My back pain is much improved, also. These are now my go-to shoes. I love them! Maybe people have to learn how to walk properly. These shoes are very comfortable and have given me no problems, whatsoever.

Posted by

on
I've always worked in food-service, but I always had pain in one of my hips and both of my feet. I guess it was 2011 when I got my first pair of Avi-Motion (a nice knock-off of Shape-Ups) and noticed a change instantly. I could even go for long walks in the mall with my friends without feeling like my joints were going to explode. Also, I could have fun rocking back and forth, great arch support, while waiting on the kitchen, or just taking a breather.

I come back from Korea in 2013 to find these injuries, lawsuits, and a completely re-designed shoe of the same name! I wish they'd bring the old style back. My hip aches every day now, twice as bad after a long night.

Posted by

on
I bought a pair of sketchers tone-up work shoes (the kind that look like clogs). I got them in November 2012 and every time I wore them in the beginning I felt crippled after a shift at work. My legs would ache from the outside of my thigh down to my calf. The arches of my feet became uncomfortable to walk on and I felt more fatigued at work by wearing them. It's now July 2013 and I am still wearing the shoes to work. In the last 6 weeks I have experienced pain and tightness in my hips, aches throughout my legs and have started to develop spider veins on the inside of my knee and as the days go by by they are getting progressively worse, I see dark veins coming through. =\ I am convinced it is the shoes that's causing so much pressure in my legs through working harder on the ridiculous heel. I'm sharing this to help prevent other women from developing the same injuries. I am only 22 so for these veins to be hereditary at this age is hard to believe. These shoes hurt me from the get go I just wish I'd have taken them back.

Posted by

on
I have purchased the Avia toning shoe, and I am here to tell you that the people who are bringing these lawsuits need to learn how to walk. I have worn these shows for several years, I am on my feet during the summer seven days a week for up to 14 hours a day. These shoes saved me!!!! I was able to strengthen my ankle, that I shattered, my knees that have arthritis in them and they helped balance me so my hips did not hurt. In one summer, 3 1/2 months, I went from a size 22 pants to a 16. Haven't been a 16 since high school, I am 53 years old. Please don't punish all of us because a few don't know how to walk, bring back my shoes!!!!!

Posted by

on
I bought several pairs of Champion Pace toning shoes and love them all. I wish they'd bring these shoes back out as they really improved my workout and are the most comfortable sneaker type shoes I have ever worn!

Posted by

on
I bought several pairs of Champion Pace toning shoes and love them all. I wish they'd bring these shoes back out as they really improved my workout and are the most comfortable sneaker type shoes I have ever worn!

Posted by

on
I bought toning shoes for both my wife and myself, we walk about 10 to 12 miles a week, we have bought more of these to keep us motivated and we found that they made walking more fun and improved our progress, we both lost weight, got in better shape.

For us, these shoes helped us improve our walking and health.

Posted by

on
I wore these shoes (Skechers) to work for about a week to help build up the muscle in my legs, but then I noticed swelling in my ankles. I had worn the shoes before on the weekends to the store or whatever, and nothing irregular occurred. I sit in a chair for most of the day while at work, and I didn't think it would hurt to wear them to work. For three weeks now I have had swelling from the hip down. By the time I get home in the evenings, I don't have ankles but CANKLES. My knees are swollen and ache. My hips are killing me. I have developed varicose veins. I am really concerned at this point that I may have seriously injured myself by wearing toning shoes. I am 36 years old and my husband has to help me up and down stairs like I'm an old lady! At this point, I don't care about a refund on the shoes. I am concerned about the permanent damage I did to my body wearing them! I dread my future visit to the doctor...

Posted by

on
I started wearing these shoes thinking they would help strenthen my legs but after wearing them all day - in the morning when I went to get out of bed my feet would feel like they were so swollen on the bottom and I thought something was wrong with my feet. Not even thinking it could be the shoes I kept wearing them every day to walk. This went on for about 6 months and I got to talking to friends about my feet and they told me to try a different tennis shoe. I did and my feel quit feeling that way. It was a relief to know it was the shoe and not my feet.

Posted by

on
I completely agree with Jackie above. I bought some Danskin shoes last autumn that were toner shoes. My feet were fine, I just wasn't a young thing anymore and I needed a comfortable shoe to wear on the commute to work instead of sneakers... the 'toner' thing wasn't relevant to me. I stopped wearing them after about 6 months because...I don't know, my feet started to feel clumsy in them or something. Anyway, then my feet just started falling apart...sometimes I literally couldn't walk for the pain; I would have to stop for a minute and sit down. it was starting to get frightening. I searched for different shoes...flats, or a wedge, on and on. I researched on the internet and it sounded like I now had plantar fasciitis and after sitting for a bit or in the morning, heel spurs. My feet went from typical female surface annoyances....a corn or a callous now and then...to severe and constant pain. Swollen inner ankles, sore arches, heel pain...it's ridiculous and always on my mind. I'm so careful now, I stretch my arches, ice/elevate my ankles... I used to be a freaking power walker, a step runner! Today I was thinking about it and I remembered the shoes and wondered if there was a connection and I found this and much other information on the subject. Has anyone found a way to fix it? This is unbelievable. Is this forever?

Posted by

on
I bought Danskin toner shoes at Walmart. I have fallen from the sides of the shoes. My hips began to hurt along with my feet. I don't wear them anymore and the pain remains with me everyday.

Posted by

on
I have a pair of skechers and one Avi-motion shoes.
My ankels have been hurting me so much since I have been wearing the shoes. My job requires me to stand alot.
How can I get credit on these shoes?
Jackie Geyer

Posted by

on
I bought a pair hoping it help me to strength my muscles not hurt my feet and ankle they are worse. I had never so weak of ankles until after wearing the toning shoes falling all the time had to get gravel washed out of my knee because of weak ankles and my feet hurt at times along sides and near my toes of my feetwhich i havent ever had trouble there before.

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