Product Type: Skechers Hunter Original
Newest Review: ... aid circulation, and help to firm up your leg, buttock and abdominal areas. The shoes even come with a little informational booklet on al... more
Putting my best unstylish foot forward,
Skechers Shape Ups
Member Name: thehonesttruth
Skechers Shape Ups
Advantages: Instant posture improvement, no more back pain, more toned muscles
Disadvantages: Lets be honest, they look a little bit medical!
I've been wanting a paif of Skechers shape ups for a long time, but could never really justify the £70 price tag to myself. However, when I last cashed out from Dooyoo, I decided I would put the money towards a pair as a bit of a treat.
There are a range of different styles in the 'Shape Ups' range. However, knowing that I intended to wear them at work, my choice was pretty much limited to buying something in black. There were some rather nice quite girly looking shoe stlye ones, but they were even pricier, so I eventually opted for the 'Optimize' design, a sort of black velvety effect lace up trainer, with a tiny bit of grey and silver detailing, including some grey nodules on the sole of the shoe, and some shiny silver on the lace eyelets. Whilst this was black and smart enough to reasonably pass as shoes at work, there is no denying that there is something a little orthopedic looking about this shoe - it looks rather like the kind of built up shoe I might be offered if I had one leg longer than the other! I think this is largely because in order to incorporate the soft squishy kinetic wedge, the sole does have to be thicker. The shoes have a curved sole, designed to change your posture and the way you walk and to hopefully leave you fitter and more toned.
Skechers make a variety of claims on the HUGE box these shoes come in . The shoes apparently improve circulation, tighten abdominal muscles, reduce joint stress, firm calf muscles, tone and firm the inner thighs, firm buttock muscles, strengthen the back, and improve posture. The shoes make no direct claim to help people lose weight, but the information booklet included in the box shows results from a number of independant studies indicating that people lost an average 2.78 lbs after an 8 week trial, compared to 0.30 lbs amongst the control group. Personally I am inclined to mistrust these kinds of statistics though, given that the independant study was commisioned by the Skechers brand. Still, thats an awful lot of promise for these shoes to live up to.
The shoes also come with a DVD. This shoes you the motion of walking correctly in these shoes, and outlines a few excercises you can do with these shoes . However, I purchased these shoes because I am a big lazy bum and would like to get toned WITHOUT any additional excercise, so any results gained from these shoes are purely the result of me wearing these instead of my usual shoes most of the time when I'm walking about, out shopping, or working .
Trying these on for the first time was a decidedly odd experience - I found it easy enough to get my balance despite the curved sole, but the sole of the shoe had a really odd feel when walking, almost a bouncy effect, as though I was walking across a trampoline. I purchased mine in a size 7 (I normally take a 7 or an 8) and found it a snug and comfortable fit whilst still feeling flexible around my foot.
The leaflet in the box recommends breaking yourself in gently with these shoes, as the way they force you to walk (heel to toe in a rolling motion, pushing off with your toes) and the fact they can throw off your centre of gravity can initially place some strain on your body as you get use to it. They warn that during the first few weeks a little soreness in the legs and buttocks is normal, and even to be expected. They recommend using for just 25 to 45 minutes a day, depending on your level of fitness for the first few weeks.
In the immortal words of Rage Against the Machine 'F**k you I won't do what you tell me'. Ignoring this no doubt wise advice, I wore my shoes for a whole five hour shift at work . Whilst at work I am constantly on my feet and dashing about, so I decided this was a grand chance to break in my new shoes . And actually, once I got used to the odd bouncy feel of first putting these on, these were incredibly comfortable . There was no rubbing on the back of the heel as I usually get with new shoes.
The walking motion in these shoes takes a little getting used to , but after perhaps an hour of wearing these I found I no longer had to conciously think about where I was putting my feet. The biggest change I noticed was simply in standing up - these shoes make it much harder to slouch, as slouching throws your balance in these shoes. It is simply much easier and much less hassle to just stand up straight ! The claims of improved posture have certainly been met, and pretty instantly.
After my first five hour shift, I went home and removed my shoes. I noticed a slight aching in my thighs, calves, and buttocks . Nothing so bad as to actually be painful, but rather the feeling I might get after doing a good distance on a treadmill. I felt as though I had just excercised, and excercised well, despite having done nothing more than my normal day to day job.
With each wear after that, I still got the same slight dull ache . This isn't a complaint, but rather an indication to me that these shoes were working out muscles that probably didn't get worked enough before . Whilst my thighs and butt were aching a little, I soon noticed that my back, which can feel tired, particularly after longer shifts, was not. I would probably attribute this to the improved posture.
Whilst I have lost a little weight in the couple of months I have had these, I am following a Slimming World plan, so I can't really say for definite if part or all of this weight loss is down to the shoes . I do however have buttocks that are slightly less jellylike in texture, and slightly less wibbly upper thighs. Any aches I do get in my muscles are that satisfying 'I've excercised' ache, rather than tired achiness, and after two months of wear, I do still feel I am getting a good workout in these shoes.
There are a couple of minor downsides though . I would not recommend wearing these shoes on occasions when you might find it hard to adjust your centre of gravity . Wearing these with a lurching hangover has proved rather awkward, as has walking across a just mopped floor at the end of my shift. I now keep slippers at work for mopping! I would also recommend sitting on the bottom deck of double decker buses after a shopping trip, as trying to descend the stairs whilst the bus is moving and your centre of gravity is already off is bloody tricky.
Overall, I think these are great shoes. They are incredibly comfortable to wear, even on long shifts or long walks, and I really do think they do marvels for my posture. They seem to have gotten rid of my backaches, and my muscles feel firmer and more toned (at least in the legs, these have yet to make any difference to my abdominal muscles) .They may even have contributed a little to the 12 lbs I have lost in the last 2 months, although I couldn't be sure.
However, I would recommend that the fashion concious amongst you opt for a less orthopedic looking design . These shoes are big and clunky looking - fine if covered with a bootcut trouser, but they look ridiculous if I try to emulate the lady in the booklet rather optimistically stepping out in shorts.
Overall, four stars . They are fantastic and have delivered noticable results - but they are clunky looking, and if it wasn't for the fact of having to wear black for work and a limited budget, I would have opted for a more stylish design than the Optimize.
Summary: Excellent results, but not the most stylish shoes.