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Do You Think Toning Sneakers Work?

Have you ever tried toning sneakers? They’re the funnily-shaped exercise shoes that promise skinnier legs, and fitness companies like Reebok and Sketchers are now doing a bang-up business selling them. There are conflicting studies, however, on whether the kicks actually work. The New York Times quotes a study (not conducted by the companies selling the shoes) that proclaimed, “Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.” Despite these findings, marketing analysts see continued success for toning shoes because buyers—well, women, more specifically—believe in the product’s effectiveness, and are fans of the shoe. We have to wonder, however, if it’s hard to draw the line in this situation. If a consumer is motivated to wear a sport shoe more often, perhaps she’s walking more and pursuing a more active lifestyle, in which case she would most certainly see a change in her body. So, would you buy a shoe that encouraged you to work out and be more active … even if its toning claims were dubious? [Sketchers]

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