Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sketcher's Shape Up? or Ship Out?

I was approached by a woman wanting my input as a trainer, on the latest fad shoe-Sketchers Shape Ups. I had seen the commercials just like everyone else claiming a" firmer behind, toned legs and core and improved balance." WELL.... I come at everything like this a little skeptical but I agreed to try them out for her.(She has knee pain and didn't want to try them out if I thought they would be harmful).

So I took them out of the box today and put them on. My first reaction was WIEEEERRRRD! They look kind of bizzare, or rather DORKY (if I can use an old school word). Kind of like a Moon Shoe. It felt like I was walking on 16 layers of sole. The rounded heel instantly caught me off balance and I had to try to catch myself from toppling over. WELL-GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION!


I generally know what I am doing when it comes to walking but I found myself having to constantly readjust how my feet hit the ground. I felt like a total goof ball. I tend to hyperextend my knees back when I stand and this just exacerbated this. With my bearings in check I headed out the door to try them 'in the real world.' If I wasn't consciously activating my glutes and trying to step with a flattened foot I had the potential to really do some damage to my knees, ankles or lower back.

Each time I took a step sideways it threw me off balance a bit. These shoes definitely take some getting used to because you are constantly and consciously forcing the stabilizers to activate. For the women who are unfit and try these out, I would caution strongly against them outside the home for fear of falling.

My best suggestion for the shoe is to use them in a gym setting when you are working on core and balance. I did a set of squats with one of my clients today wearing the shoes and it really made me think of driving through the midfoot when I stood up. You can not use your heels to press into the floor because it is rounded, and you would have a Humpty Dumpty incident on your hands.

Bottom line: wear them cautiously-consciously-carefully. I would not try to run in them because it is an unstable surface and the chance of falling is greater. If you are moving quickly on your feet, I would not suggest them either unless you have had time to really get used to them.

(and.. lastly... Can't we make them any cuter????)

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