Monday, October 10, 2011


Micro-Instability is the benefit touted by a few 'toning' shoe sellers out there.  The idea is to make you aware that you need to fire stabilizing muscles to be able to stand and walk.  These shoes are getting a lot of bad press lately - Reebok's Easy Tone shoes were not delivering what they were advertising and owe the public $10s of millions!  They're not the only ones, Sketchers, and a dozen others are offering a way to 'exercise' without doing anything.  

Anything that sounds too good to be true is.  An alternative is to let your actual tripod of stability feel the ground.  We have a triad of pressure points - the heel, the 1st and 5th metatarsal heads.  These are our tripod.  When they are pressing down with equal pressure sharing the load of our weight we are happy and the muscles and tendons in our 'chain' are working the way the should.  

About 6mos ago I started wearing the thinnest soled shoes I can find to work, workout, run, etc..  My feet are NOW (finally) aware of when I have firm footing.  They know when I'm on an uneven surfaces I have a feedback mechanism that tells my body to put "less weight on that foot and take a shorter stride"-- annnnd Whammo - no twisted ankle.  

Thin soles, barefoot, or maybe rocking chair shoes with sensors that tell your iphone you're on uneven ground through your bluetooth headset... hmmm  there may be a market for THAT!

At Livestrong dot com, the discussion of instable shoes helping back pain.  From Here: 

An alternative to improving your posture without purchasing toning shoes would be to walk barefoot as often as possible. Walking barefoot, apart from the possible discomfort in cold weather and lack of foot protection, provides benefits to your back. When you walk barefoot, you do not put extra stress on your joints. Tribes in Africa who walk barefoot rarely experience back problems. If you prefer to keep your feet covered, some toning shoes are specifically designed to mirror the effects of walking barefoot.

Anyone have experience with shape-ups shaping you up?  Wrong crowd?