“Get in shape without going to the gym,” that’s what the Skechers Shape Ups shoes say they can do for you. But can you really get in shape without setting foot in a gym? That’s an interesting question for someone who’s a trainer and a gym rat like me.
Of course you can get in shape without going to the gym, who can deny that? Joggers, swimmers, hikers, cyclists, rowers, surfers, cross country skiers, the list goes on and on for activities that get you in shape without stepping foot inside a gym. However, you CANNOT get into good shape (read: physically fit) without being active. Also, the activities of choice need to be done most days of the week and performed at least at moderate intense for a sustained period of time (30 minutes minimum). This is simply what the body requires for any physical fitness improvement.
The Shape Ups are a class of shoe referred to as “rocker bottoms.” They were designed to recruit more muscles in the legs than are typically used while walking and their “Kinetic Wedge” soles are meant to simulate the conditions of walking on sand. Basically this means the shoes require more energy to use.
Which brings us nicely back to the subject at hand. Can Shape Ups shape you up? The answer is a “yes, if….” They can If you walk in them vigorously enough to where you’re getting your heart rate high enough to be in a cardiovascular training zone (at least 60% – 65 % of your max heart rate). This is where you’re feeling breathy and breaking a bit of sweat (and it’s not because of the temperature outside). The other contingency factor is your current fitness level. The more out of shape a person is, the faster they’ll see and feel results. A very fit person may not see major changes in their bodies, but will probably feel the difference between this type of shoe and a regular walking shoe.
As for me, exercise is basically what I do for a living. I workout pretty intensely most, if not all days of the week, and for what most would consider a pretty substantial amount of time. What possible benefit can the Shape Ups have for me? I started wearing my Shape Ups over the summer and I love them. Since I’m already very fit, I don’t expect to see a whole lot of change in my body by wearing them, but I really enjoy that bit of extra work I feel in the backs of my legs when walking in them…. particularly uphill. I also get a great stretch in the backs of my legs and calves, so I love using them as a workout recovery. Why not burn a few extra calories while recovering, and get some extra stretching in while doing my errands?
Another benefit of wearing Shape Ups is how they make you continually adjust your balance because the soles rock. This is good for improving balance and pelvic stability (which is a component of core strength) and that’s something most people can use!
Lastly, truth be told, the Shape Ups also add another 3” to my height, and that’s a benefit I can’t get from any of my other athletic shoes!