Walking is the new get fit exercise thanks to Skechers Shape Ups. We examine Shape Ups more closely and assess the health benefits of barefoot walking from Skechers’ new shoe. Normally at Walking.org we talk about traditional walking boots and taking in the rolling hills of the beautiful British countryside while highlighting the benefits of a well balanced diet as part of your walking fitness.
So it feels rather strange to talk about something as commercial and colourful as Skechers Shape Ups, especially when it’s for people who don’t normally embrace the outdoors.
But, using a soft insole, soft midsole and a ‘dynamic rolling bottom’, Shape Ups combined all the benefits of barefoot walking with the soft cushioning needed for safely walking the concrete paths and high streets of our urban environment.
Mother nature intended for us to walk in bare feet on soft surfaces. But after we flattened the earth and covered it in concrete, the ground was suddenly too hard for our feet to take, which is why we wear shoes. Since then, our urban environment has increased, causing the need for soft, cushioned shoes to lessen the impact on our feet and joints as we walk.
While we love the look and feel of Vibram Five Fingers, which are like a grippy rubber glove for your feet, they’re not ideally suited to walking on hard surfaces and are far better for country walks and water sports.
Skechers Shape Ups on the other hand combine the benefits of barefoot walking with the soft cushioning and protection needed for walking in the ‘concrete jungle’.
There are already Skechers Shape Ups advice sites springing up all over the web, but ff we can forget for a moment that Skechers is a colourful, American, marketing machine with a shiny new shoe with one foot in fashion and the other foot in fitness and focus purely on the technology behind it; then we have something very special for anyone interested in the health benefits of walking.
So while Skechers have marketed their Shape Ups shoes for people with hectic lifestyles who are far too busy to take a leisurely stroll, there are many benefits to be had by all.
Because Shape Ups are essentially a Skechers trainer, they’re soft and cushioned to reduce the impact on your feet and joints when walking. But with their soft insole, dual density midsole and ‘dynamic rolling bottom’, they perfect mimic the effects of barefoot walking on soft sand.
So as you step in your Shape Ups, your heel sinks into the soft insole in the same way you would walk on soft sand. The dynamic rolling bottom then helps your foot to smoothly roll across the midfoot and onto the forefoot, before pushing off with your toes to take another step. By walking in this way, Shape Ups utilise the full flexibility of the foot while employing more muscles in the legs, buttocks, back and core to not only provide mobility, but to help stabilise your steps.
So if we compared someone walking in a pair of regular trainers to someone walking in a pair of Skechers Shape Ups, the person wearing Shape Ups would get better exercise because their shoes are mimicking the effects of barefoot walking.
To substantiate their marketing statements, Skechers have commissioned an independent study for their Shape Ups shoe to monitor the health and fitness benefits of their new product.
The case study was to evaluate the weight loss, body composition, glutei strength and lower back strength of 10 women taking part who would wear Skechers Shape Ups in increasing amounts over the course of 6 weeks.
The end results were quite impressive with all participants seeing a loss in weight and body composition while gaining glutei strength, lower back endurance and a noticeable improvement in posture.
You can read the clinical case study here.
So if you’re looking to increase your health and fitness through diet and walking, why not give a pair of Skechers Shape Ups a try when walking to work? If you’re spending 10 minutes walking to walk from the train station or going for a stroll at lunchtime, imagine how much extra exercise you could be getting by effectively walking barefoot in a pair of Shape Ups instead of your usual shoes.
There are now Skechers Shape Ups for men in a number of shoe like styles. So any men who are interested in harnessing the benefits of barefoot walking as a quick and convenient exercise, can also where Shape Ups. Fortunately the designs are quite discrete too.
However, Skechers advise that you taking things slowly at first. Even for someone who may be used to walking long distances, using your feet properly and walking barefoot will still take some practice. We’ve been walking in cushioned trainers and hiking boots for generations, so going back to nature could come as quite a shock.