When MBT premiered its line of “anti-shoes” in 2001, it was a revolution in footwear technology: rounded soles that led to improved posture, reduced joint pain and — could it be? — firmer legs and glutes. Now dozens of brands are offering their own fitness-enhancing kicks that will help you walk your way to a better backside. We compare a few of our favorites.
SKECHERS SHAPEUPS FITNESS JUNKIE
PRICE / $110
Shape-Ups’ “kinetic wedge technology” creates a natural imbalance that your muscles must work to correct with each step. After adjusting to the shoe, it’s an effortless way to work out. PROS / Comfort, price, a variety of styles CONS / Bulkiness FINAL TAKE / The bouncy, comfortable soles make the shoe perfect for people who are on their feet all day. But we didn’t see a major difference workoutwise.
NGR (NO GYM REQUIRED) SHOES
PRICE / $160
The idea here is simple: Extra weight equals a tougher workout. Equipped with removable 1.5- to 2-pound midsoles, NGRs burn up to 50 percent more calories than a normal shoe. PROS / Sleeker look, additional fitness videos on the NGR website CONS / Heavy to transport, can’t wear (when weighted) during all activities (e.g. driving) FINAL TAKE / They added oomph to lunges, and our legs were sore after just one workout.
REEBOK EASYTONE REEINSPIRE
PRICE / $100 to $145
Designed by a former NASA scientist, this latest entrant into the fitness-shoe fray also utilizes the instability principle, but the signature “balance pods” make for a more subtle option that doesn’t scream, “I’m wearing toning shoes!” PROS / Discreet, stylish, customizable CONS / No additional health benefits FINAL TAKE / Felt a noticeable burn while wearing and balancing on the pods; love the look.
NEED A SUMMER OPTION? >
FitFlop Walkstar $60