A couple of months ago, a longtime client – let’s call her “S” - asked my opinion on the Reetone series of shoes.
S has a daughter-in-law who works for Reebok, as a matter of fact, and she gets some pretty amazing discounts on Reebok shoes and athletic wear... enough to make me very jealous as she’s usually looking cute and coordinated while we’re training... I, on the other hand, am generally dishevelled and underslept. But smiling. Always smiling.
S jogs 2-3 times per week, does strength training 2 times per week and usually does yoga once per week. Her question to me:
Do the Reetone shoes really make a difference? Should she bother?
First, there are a few different Reetone products. Take your pick... they’re all based on the same technology:
Reebok Easytone Walking Shoes
Reebok Runtone Running Shoes
Reebok Traintone Cross-training Shoes
Reebok Easytone Flip Flops
Reebok claims: “Easytone’s balance ball-inspired technology with moving air creates micro instability, toning key leg muscles as you walk: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, calves.”
What does this mean? Basically, the sole of the shoe has been made unstable by the addition of “balance pods” – this is similar technology to an inflatable stability ball or BOSU balance trainer. That's the BOSU to the left. In other words, the sole of the shoe has air pockets. It’s not flat. It’s difficult to walk on, and this forces your leg muscles to work differently in order to keep you balanced and to maintain a normal stride as you walk.
What does this mean for your ass?
According to Reebok’s studies, the Reetone series of shoes increase the work performed by the gluteus maximus (ass), hamstrings (back of the thighs) and calves (um... calves). Muscle activity in the glutes is increased by 28%, in the hamstrings by 11% and in the calves by 11% over walking in regular athletic shoes.
Sure. And cream is going to make my boobs look like I haven’t breastfed two kids, right? Nothing comes this easy, ladies.
The American Council on Exercise was as sceptical as you – but they have a team of researchers! Their study found the following:
“Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”
The Reetone shoes have received lots of good reviews. They look good, they’re gimmicky, they promise to deliver fitness without increased effort – of course people like them! People also like leprechauns. But nobody believes they’re real...
The one plus that the Reetone series may offer is the added motivation wearers may feel to walk, run or stroll in order to achieve the promised toning effects. If you need to spend $245 on a new pair of shoes to feel motivated to walk, by all means, spend.
If not, my verdict is: