There’s no shortage of different types of fitness footwear to choose from – general trainers, tennis shoes, running shoes, squash shoes – there’s pretty much something for everyone. Obviously it’s important to choose wisely in order to maximise your sporting enjoyment and also to avoid injury.
The latest advance in fitness footwear is shoes which actually maximize the efficiency of your workout – or which give you a workout for your lower body simply by wearing them while you walk around normally. As a rule, these incorporate a specially designed sole – frequently with a curved shape – and utilise carefully selected materials in their manufacture.
Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT), Skechers Shape Ups and Fitflops are all examples of this new model of exercise footwear. They all claim to increase the length of time for which the lower body muscles are engaged during normal walking – something which, it is said, will help to tone up the wearer’s leg and buttock muscles. Given that the average person takes around 10,000 paces every day, you can see how even a relatively minor increase in lower body muscle activity whilst walking would have a positive result.
It’s frequently suggested that this design of footwear replicates the feeling of walking barefoot on soft sand. If you’ve ever experienced this for any length of time then you’ll know that it is more tiring than walking on a hard surface – so it does seem to make sense that this might help to boost the efficiency of your walking exercise routine. In addition to “making sense” intuitively, there have been a number of scientific studies which have demonstrated that such shoes can genuinely lengthen the duration of muscle activity. Anecdotal testimony from wearers also seems to confirm that the benefits are, for some users at least, genuine.
Reebok Easy Tones are the latest addition to the range of super efficient exercise shoes. These don’t feature a curved sole, unlike many of the other shoes in this category. They are designed to keep you ever so slightly off balance – which produces extra muscle activity as you subconsciously compensate to retain your balance. This imbalance theory is also used by Fitflops – by means of their superbly titled “microwobbleboard” technology – but Fitflops also incorporate a curved sole.
As a rule, these shoes usually cost no more than standard exercise footwear and are available in a wide choice of styles and colors. Many of them don’t even look like conventional training shoes but are styled more like ordinary boots, sandals and clogs. Whether you decide to use them in order to increase the efficiency of your exercise routine or if you prefer to wear them whilst walking around normally, there’s probably going to be a style to suit you. If you haven’t taken exercise for a while then it would probably be a good idea to break your new shoes in slowly. Try wearing them for just a couple of hours daily, even if you’re just walking about normally. You can gradually build up the time you wear them for over a couple of weeks.
Tags: Health and Fitness