The Truth About Toning Shoes

When I stopped at the Polaris Fashion Place a few minutes from the office the other day, I couldn’t help but to notice how many different types of “toning” shoes have sprung up at shoe stores in the past year. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Kendra Wilkinson and Kelly Brook have all been seen wearing the Reebok brand “Easy tone” toning shoes that pledge to tone your legs and butt. Recently, several lawsuits have been brought against a few of the toning shoe companies. The individuals suing have claimed that the shoes do not live up to the toned results promised and, for a few people, their toning shoes lead to foot and ankle injuries. These individuals could have prevented their toning shoe woes by meeting with a podiatrist to find out what shoes were right for them and how to keep their feet and ankles healthy!!

It is important to remember when choosing any type of shoe, that the main purpose of the shoe is to comfortably support and protect YOUR foot and ankle. Everyone’s feet are different and a shoe that makes one person feel great, might not work for you.

The general idea of the toning shoe is to create a slight instability, causing different muscles in the leg and foot to work harder than usual. While this does not replace a traditional workout as advertised in some toning shoe ads, it does tone muscles that would not typically be toned in normal shoes. Toning shoes can be used as supplement to good, ol’ sweat-inducing exercise!

As with any new exercise routine, a physical exam and foot exam should occur before making the decision to use toning shoes. The type of toning shoe you choose should fit with the activity you plan on using it for. For example, toning shoes wouldn’t be recommended for basketball players who need a high-top basketball shoe to protect their ankle from jumping and twisting motions. For many individuals with a normal foot type toning shoes can function well as a walking shoe. However, for anyone with a foot ailment or different foot structure, a toning shoe may not be the best option and these individuals should definitely consult with their podiatrist to see if they should be wearing a more corrective shoe type or possibly a prescription orthotic to wear in their toning and other shoes. Toning shoes featuring a high platform would generally be advised against. Flat shoes, with a height of 1 inch or less, are the healthiest shoes for feet. The platform can increase the likelihood of rolling or spraining an ankle, especially in people with poor balance. The American Podiatric Medical Association’s list of approved toning shoes is a good place to begin researching some possible toning shoe options to discuss with your podiatrist at your next appointment.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia