Okay enough with the joking around, let's get down to the brass tacks. Do these things actually work?
One of the benefits the companies talk about is an increase in calf and Gluteus activation. In other words they make your butt and calves work more with each step. Based on what I have read and heard from people who own the shoes I would say that it's a good bet that they will make your calves and gluts work harder. It's probably a good thing too since Americans have a tendency to "forget" how to use their gluts in our sit-down culture. I myself used to suffer from a hip issue due to a lack of engagement from my hip and Gluteus as I walk. So on the side of getting your butt and calved to work harder they look like a winner. The bigger question though is does that benefit matter?
On the side of weight/fat loss, I would say the shoes do nothing special. Fat loss is more about calorie balance regardless of where it is on your body. It doesn't matter if your fat is on your hips, butt, gut or arms it all get burned off from burning more calories than you consume. So will a special shoe help you lose the fat on your tush? Well, no but walking more each day certainly can help. So if you feel you will be more active and walk more with these shoes then go for it. The bottom line however is that you will naturally burn more calories walking more regardless of what shoes you are wearing.
Finally, will working the butt and calf muscles more help you tone more muscle? Well it depends. First off, you can build, and shape muscle all you like but if you don't burn off any fat that is covering the muscle you won't see anything. So half of the muscle tone issue is, once again, about that calorie balance which doesn't depend on the shoes.
The other half of the equation is if these shoes will grow the muscles so they can become more defined. In general, working muscles more and making them work harder will help you with that and that is where these shoes might work well.
On the other hand, it makes sense that you might gain the same benefit from walking up hill. Your claves and gluteus naturally work harder when you walk up a flight of stairs or up a steep hill, so if you are looking to take up a walking program you might be just as well off heading up hill, or taking the stair at every opportunity, as you would buying the shoes.
In the end I believe that it's the actual walking on varied terrain that will be responsible for the results these shoes promise. I don't believe you will miss out on much without them, and the benefits from using them might be slight, but if they serve to get you moving more and paying more attention to other health habits, like eating well, then go for it. Who knows, you might actually get a workout while you walk.
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