You must be wondering what the hell am I talking about. These shoes are what I am talking about.
Picture from SylvieD
They are known as rocker shoes. Based on shoe studies, they enhance the triple rocking pattern involved in your gait. First is the heel, then the ankle and then the toes. When we walk, we technically rock upon these three points which give us our gait pattern. Just a rough description to give you an idea.
These shoes have been around for ages but recently, they were made popular by the one and only Kim Kardashian. Marketed to help you get fitter, tone up your bum, hamstrings and calves, and give you the edge to a healthy lifestyle, in reality, how effective are they?
In a recent study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, these guys from the University of Nevada have confirmed through 28 subjects that the rocker shoes are purely just a gimmick. Electromyography of the back of the leg as well as a hip flexor muscle (rectus femoris) and a dorsi-flexor (tibalis anterior) was recorded and they found no differences between these shoes and an ordinary pair of running shoes when walking on a treadmill. They also found that the rocker shoes do not increase the metabolic cost of walking.
What does this mean?
Firstly, the study solidifies the fact that these shoes do not increase muscular activity of the lower limb muscles which have been marketed by the company. If they do not increase muscular activity, toning of these muscles should not be considered an adaptation from using these shoes. Secondly, since the shoes do not increase metabolic cost, meaning you are not expending more energy from using these shoes, they should not be marketed as getting you fitter and helping you lead a healthier lifestyle.
However, behind all that, should you pick up walking after purchasing this pair of shoes, at least you have done something to change your lifestyle to a healthier one. Perhaps the message from these shoes is that despite the gimmick, they did make you take the first step of walking and an active lifestyle right? I will leave it to you to judge that.
Stay Strong and Keep Walking,
The Training Geek.