I've seen ads for several brands of toning shoes. Can these shoes make my legs more toned?

Answers from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

Despite the claims, there is no credible evidence that wearing toning shoes will make your legs more toned or cause you to burn extra calories. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission took action against one manufacturer for making deceptive claims about the benefits of toning shoes.

Toning shoes are designed to simulate walking barefoot or walking on an uneven surface. Manufacturers claim the unstable design of the shoes forces wearers to use their leg muscles more, burning more calories and toning muscles.

However, researchers haven't found evidence that wearing toning shoes leads to improved muscle tone or greater energy expenditure. Additionally, no studies have proved that the shoes improve balance or stability to a great degree.

In addition, the Consumer Product Safety Commission continues to receive numerous complaints about foot, leg and hip pain associated with these shoes. Thus, toning shoes aren't a good fit for anyone who has problems with their feet or legs or who has balance issues.

Aug. 02, 2016