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Toning Shoes: Do They Cause Injuries?

The never-ending battle to get into better shape is all too familiar to most of us. While we are told at every turn by our doctors, nutritionists and trainers that the only way to get into shape is through diet and exercise, we each hold out hope that there is an easy fix out there. One such easy fix is being sold by various shoe manufacturers in the form of “toning shoes.” You have no doubt seen the all-too-frequent commercials for Sketchers Shape-ups with endorsements from Kim Kardashian and Wayne Gretzky, but Reebok, Crocs, Keds, Avia and Champion, among others, are all selling some form of toning shoes. They are, simply put, the hottest thing in the shoe business.

Toning shoes are designed with a rounded toe and a thicker sole to increase the heel-to-toe motion of the foot. This design is intended to make your muscles work harder to maintain balance. Indeed, that is part one of the selling points of these shoes – that they make your muscles work harder. These companies claim that wearing toning shoes can help you burn calories, increase muscle tone, improve posture and reduce stress on the back and legs. While there are serious doubts as to whether any of these claims are true, another issue relating to toning shoes has come to light – injuries. 

Not surprisingly, the instability created by the design of toning shoes causes users to engage muscles not normally used while walking, which is supposed to burn more calories and tone your muscles. In reality, the instability can cause various types of injuries, including stress fractures, tendonitis, foot, leg and hip pain, sprains, natural gait disruption, and even broken bones. These shoes may pose a particular risk to elderly people and those with poor balance, vertigo or chronically weak ankles. 

The simple truth is, toning shoes are not a substitute for living a healthy, active lifestyle. In fact, for some people, they can be a danger. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury from toning shoes, please contact us to discuss your legal options

  • Karen Husman

    O.k., I owned two different pair of toning shoes, one brand was Ryka and the other was Easy Spirit. I wore them both while I worked out ono the treadmill and other equipment. I was in perfect health until my knee started hurting. One MRI showed a ligament tear that could only be fixed with surgery. Thousands of dollars later, I still have some knee pain, but it is lots better and getting stronger all the time. DO NOT buy ANY toning/walking shoe that rocks. While I cannot prove those shoes caused my ligament tear, nothing else happened to me to that could have caused it. Because of those shoes, I had to take disability, used up my valuable vacation time, and could not drive for almost a month. My journey isn’t over yet. My left knee has been giving me some minor problems as well, but so far its not too bad. At the very least, I do need a cortisonne shot.

  • Laura

    I have worn ONLY Ryka toning shoes for the last 4 to 5 years I have knee pain that is so bad, it hurts to go up or down any stairs. I also have horriable pain in my left foot.
    People are telling me this is because of the shoes I am wearing?
    So, I thought I would do some checking into it? Thank you.

  • Shelly Ramsay

    I have a pair of AVIA toning shoes that are similar to the Sketchers Shapeups and have worn them everyday since the summer of 2011. Since then I’ve recently encountered a serious tendon problem in my right leg. It is painful to put my clothes on and off or to even lift my leg. I believe it is the direct cause of wearing these shoes. I’m feeling a pain so severe in my right hip that it has become unbearable to even lay down comfortably. I have thrown those shoes out and will never buy a pair like it or any other.

  • Karenkwalls

    was there a class action lawsuit against Champion toning shoes?

  • Bjmcgunagle

    I am a RN in a hospital selling. I was wearing the champion form of the tone up sneaker. On sept 6 2010, while working, I heard someone screaming in pain. I got up and started to walk fast toward sound. As I can around a corner, I saw a woman lying half in and half out of an elevator, screaming while holding her leag. I immediately ran to help, and slipped on a wet floor. I went completely airbourne and landed on my head left shoulder all of back and right leg. I also injuried my liver and bladder. I have been out of work on workers comp for almost 2 years. I have been treated by an orthopedic, neurologist and neuropysch. I am taking pain meds with minimal effect. Prospect for a comparable paying job, if anyone will hire me while on narcotics is minimal. I now have chronic depression and am also on antidepressants. I truly believe the severity of the fall was also related to wearing the champion sneakers. To this day, I have been puzzled to the severity of the fall. When I saw an advertizment for scetchers, it all made sence what happened to me