Knowing my belly dance students and fitness clients lifestyles pretty well I know some of you will be really interested in the new Reebok Easytone Shoe.
This radical new training shoe claims to build muscle tone in the lower body by ‘creating natural instability’ in the form of ‘balance pods’ on the base of the shoe at heel and ball of the foot. This uses the balance concept familiarised to the masses by the “buze ball” and “stability/balance ball” to name only two pieces of equipment popularised in recent years. To take the stability ball for an example, much research has been done on it’s positive results thus it is proven to improve many components of fitness if used with safe and correct technique. The new Reebok Easytone claims to ‘tone key leg muscles as you walk, gluteus maximus 28% more, hamstrings 11% more and calves 11% more’ The new Reebok Easytone surely then has the potential to be the biggest breakthrough in fitness since aerobics, yes? So why then is it that I can’t find any information on Reebok’s website to back up these claims? and whilst it is possible that an increase in muscle tone to can occur, what is this in relation to? Wearing the average training shoe? Sitting on the sofa?
Women have been wearing high heels for absolutely decades now, do we wear these for comfort? No. Do they force contractions of the glutes, calves and hamstrings, yes. Are they safe to wear for 18 hours a day everyday, no, not without safe and correct technique and should be sold with guidelines and a list of suitable stretches for after you’ve worn them, of course they’re not and so most women who wear heels muddle through life with tight calves or take matters into their own hands and seek out exercise to stretch and rebalance the muscles within the body.
Reebok’s sales, as far as I can see, have dropped in recent years. They currently have various advertising campaigns running, on the tv, in magazines, on bus shelters etc, look out for them, they’re colourful and glossy and appealing to most. The Reebok Easytone appears to be being marketed towards women of all ages. The current tv commercial is particularly cool with its addictive beat, subliminal and not so subliminal messages of sexiness. It features a lot of little perky bottoms and the online version features a young woman walking for 18 hours with a walking technique that hyperextends her knee joints, this alone would result in injury regardless of footwear choice and perhaps does not set a very good example to those wearing their product to whom they have a responsibility.
Research I’ve been reading lately backs up the idea that, technically, barefoot running would be healthier than wearing cushioned training shoes. The cushioning concept, to my conclusion, is a marketing creation. A very successful one at that. (I have a copy of a very good research article, ask me in your next session if you fancy a read of it)
I will carry on the search for the studies that back up Reeboks claims. I’d love to find out that these do what they claim and present no risk of injury. If I find anything I’ll add it to this post. Until then i’ll most likely remain a little sceptical, after all, exercise in the form of squats and lunges etc at least mimic natural movements, wearing these shoes on the other hand must be akin to having an enormous woad of gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe and naturally your instincts tell you to remove it before you do you’re ankle and knee in!
It is also worth mentioning that Reebok make some wonderful exercise equipment in the form of dumbells, trampolines, allsorts, even foam rollers.
If you do decide to fork out the £75-90 for a pair of Easytone, please share the experience with us.
If you have anything to add or find an interesting article please let us know.
Here’s the website ad http://www.reebok.com/GB/womens/easytone