Athletic shoe makers are shamelessly marketing sneakers – aka “toning shoes’– that promise to tone your muscles as you walk. They add features images of women in tight shorts with tight butts –from the back.
It’s a neat trick, getting people to buy sneakers that look like orthopedic shoes and make you feel like you’re walking on an inflatable raft. And if the shoes give people a new incentive to take the stairs instead of the elevator, that can’t be all bad. But scientists and podiatrists are already raising questions about whether toning shoes do all they promise, and whether they cause unnecessary pain. At any rate, fitness-minded buyers should have realistic expectations. Fads in dieting, equipment, and footwear come and go, but the old standby of moderate exercise, a few times a week, seldom fails.