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by Heel Shields

Do ‘Toning’ Shoes Really Work?

November 11, 2010 10:19 PM

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The verdict is out on toning, or round-healed, shoes. (CBS)

The verdict is out on toning, or round-healed, shoes. (CBS)

From Mike Ramsey

CHICAGO (CBS) — Toning shoes are supposed to help you get in shape without hitting the gym and help you burn calories and tone your muscles. But do they really do the job?

CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist checked it out.

Dana Jeremus is a nurse who spends many long shifts on her feet. That constant standing and walking on flat shoes used to wear her out and give her back pain.

It’s different, now that she wears toning shoes.

“At the end of the day — my back, I feel fine,” she says. “It feels like I’ve been strengthening my core all day.”

She says her toning shoes give her a constant posture check throughout the day.

“It kind of reminds you that you have to suck in your stomach and stand up straight,” Jeremus says.

Toning shoes have a curved sole, which is supposed to help you burn calories and tone your muscles. But the American Council on Exercise says toning shoes are no better than regular exercise shoes. And some people blame the shoes for their health problems.

“I took my shoe off and I thought, ‘My God,” Peggy James says. “It was so swollen. It was pale blue.”

She wore her toning shoes to work for about two months, but then her left knee started swelling and hurting. The pain then traveled to her feet. She stopped wearing the $138 shoes; in fact, she threw them out.

“I thought to myself, I’m not going to put them on,” James said. “And I’m not going to give them to somebody to have a problem with them.”

Podiatrist Bruce Smit says be careful with toning shoes if you have physical issues, such as problems with ankles, knees or hips.

“These things can be exacerbated and they can get an increase in discomfort for complaints that they already have, and sometimes some new complaints as well,” Smit says.

Jeremus, the nurse, says the shoes work for her.

“After wearing these shoes, I felt like at the end of my shift I could go another 4 hours,” she says.

Toning shoes range in price from $85 to $140. They are available for both women and men.

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