User Review: Skechers Shape-ups™

A little over a week ago I finally let my wife talk me into getting a new pair of shoes. I’ve been wearing the same few pairs for a few years now, moving on to wearing my dress shoes as every-day shoes after my tennis shoes got left outside to prevent tracking mud into the house, only to then be half-eaten by the dog.

When we went to the store and started to take a look around I saw a small ad on one of the shelves for men’s Shape-ups™, made by Skechers. Jenny has had a pair for a couple of months now and she wears them quite a bit, so I figured I might as well grab myself a pair as well. After all, getting a little extra “free” exercise while you’re just walking around anyway is sure to be a good thing. Right?

What Are Shape-ups™?
I’ll give you my own take on these shoes in just a minute, but for now let’s take a look at what the Skechers website has to say about them.

Shape-ups are designed to help improve your life by changing the way you walk. Shape-ups feature a unique soft Resamax™ kinetic wedge insert and dynamic rolling bottom to simulate walking on soft sand. This may result in stronger buttock, leg, back and abdominal muscles. Shape-ups™ are specifically designed for three things: (1) Burn more calories, (2) Tone muscles, and (3) Improve posture.

Designed for a low-intensity workout and all-day wear.

Efficient Workout
Wearing Shape-ups XT may result in a stronger back, firmer legs and tighter abdomen ? all while you?re walking or out and about.

Higher Calorie Burn
Studies have shown that wearing Shape-ups XT regularly may help improve cardiovascular health.

Lower Impact On Joints
Shape-ups XT are designed to simulate a more natural walking surface, which may deliver enhanced stability and help reduce joint pressure.

Improved Posture
Shape-ups XT help train your body to stand straighter and taller as you walk.

So basically the shoes are designed to give you a feeling similar to that of walking on soft sand. I don’t know that they nailed that right on (maybe I’ve just walked on some exceptionally soft sand), but they got close. I can definitely feel what they’re referring to with that.

By doing that your body naturally reacts by altering your balance and posture so that you stay upright. So your muscles are working to keep you standing the way that you should be while the design of the shoe is also stressing the natural motions of walking so that you’re using more muscle and burning more calories to actually perform the act of walking as well. It’s not so large a change that you’re going to be falling over when you put them on or anything, but you can tell the difference as soon as you start walking.

Initial Impressions
Above is the nearest picture I found on Skechers’ site to the ones that I actually purchased. They look like what was on the box that I brought home, but double checking my shoes themselves they aren’t the same. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but they’re really close to the ones I have on right now. While the particular store we went to in our dinky little town didn’t have all that great of a selection, maybe four or five designs, these were definitely the best of the bunch for something I want to wear to work.

I like to compare it to riding a bike. When you first put the shoes on (or take your training wheels off) you might feel a little bit off balance, or that it seems easy to turn your ankles either in or out. After just a few steps in them though, your body adjusts to the differences and then it handles the balancing issues on its own.

Challenges
The biggest change I found the first day in wearing them actually has nothing to do with walking. The first change was in my driving because the soles on these shoes are thicker it was harder for me to tell where the pedals were in my car. I knew from muscle memory where to move my foot to hit each of the pedals individually, but I couldn’t actually feel where they were anymore except for the small impact of my foot touching them.

The next change I noticed involved stairs. Going up stairs in Shape-ups™ is similar to going up in heels, or like you’re climbing stairs just on your toes. The shape of the shoes puts you in that position which definitely feels different if you’re used to wearing normal, flat shoes. That same difference in design also relates to the second change, which is squatting down or “sitting on your heels”. The curve again forces you up onto your toes, but the normal body behavior for being able to do that is to get up onto your toes, so you tend to force yourself a little too far forward without trying to. I got down to give our puppy some attention and almost feel down twice before I got by brain to stop telling my feet to lean forward.

I just went through some squatting motions as I wrote that to see if I still have that feeling, and I do. My body has adjusted to it so I’m no longer trying to lean over so much that I want to fall, but the change is still noticeable.

If you read the little booklet of information that comes with the Shape-ups™, you’ll see that they mention a couple of times that it’s important to find your center of balance, and those last two examples there are the reason why. If you don’t give your body a chance to adjust to the new movement that the shoes will give you by default, then you’re likely going to end up with your face in the dirt a couple of times before you get the hang of it. Not that they’re going to completely throw you off or anything, but you do need to give yourself time to adjust to them before you go rushing off to do everything the same way you’ve been doing it for years.

Do They Work?
This question is a bit harder to answer. I wore the shoes for five days before weigh-in last week, and I had a 4.6 lbs loss. Was the loss because of the plan or because of the shoes? I’d like to say that it’s because of both, but who can honestly say? Personally, I think they did contribute to my weight loss last week as we did have a couple of days where we had a decent amount of walking as well. Hopefully I’ll see the same kind of results tomorrow.

You can definitely tell there’s a change when you’re walking in the shoes, but it’s not like an overwhelming burning sensation or anything. Even after long stretches of walking while we were out shopping I didn’t have any burning or tightness or anything, but you can still feel that it’s giving you extra movement while you walk which means your body is burning more calories. As someone who’s historically had problems with my heels getting really sore after a lot of walking I can also say that I don’t have near as much pain as I did before. The cushion they use to mimic that soft sand feel is also very comfortable to stand in and walk in for extended periods of time.

Like any other weight loss tool, these shoes certainly aren’t going to lose the weight for you. But when you put them to use, you just might find some favorable results.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aislynn
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 08:57:46

    Thank you! I’ve been going back and forth over buying a pair of the Shapeups (have the tone-up sandals already) for months now, but didn’t want to buy them without someone I know saying if they were decent or not. Glad to know they’ll probably be worth it. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Shizukera Nightfury
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 09:14:46

    I bought a pair of Shape-Ups for my lunchtime walks a few months ago, and I love them. Mine are the standard tennis-shoe style, not the business-casual style that you got, so I’m not sure how they compare, but they’re very comfortable and they’ve been great so far.

    I’ve noticed that they cause me to stand a bit straighter (which is nice; I have terrible posture), and my balance shifts a bit toward my toes as you mentioned. I love the smoothness of my steps and the extra bit of toning my calves get, too. I usually feel it after I’m done, but it’s never painful, just a nice exercised feeling.

    I hope they work out well for you!

    Reply

    • Psynister
      Mar 23, 2011 @ 11:43:57

      Yes, the better walking posture is something I left out there. I do feel myself walking more upright when I’m wearing them which is great as my posture really sucks too.

      Reply

  3. Loma
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 13:09:26

    I found out something new about you today, Jason. You have worn high heeled shoes before and gone up staires in them….Does Jenny know about this cross dressing thing of yours ???

    Reply

    • Psynister
      Mar 23, 2011 @ 13:36:45

      Of course she does. You don’t become the President of the International Thespian Society by playing “normal” roles, you know.

      My first performance was as an old woman in a comedy as I was the only one who could pull off both the look and the voice.

      Reply

  4. KiwiRed
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 16:13:23

    I’ve taken kind of the opposite tack with my choice of shoes, having gone with a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. I’m not sure if minimalist shoes are necessarily more effective than more traditional footwear, but I’m finding I’m getting a lot more walking into my routine just because it’s fun being able to feel what I’m walking on (and getting my feet wet from jumping in puddles on rainy days is a delightful return to my childhood).

    Reply

    • Psynister
      Mar 25, 2011 @ 09:36:38

      I don’t know if I could handle wearing those. They might be just a little bit too freaky for my taste. Or I might just fall in love with them, but I think the freaky potential would keep me away.

      Reply

  5. Apple
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 09:15:40

    Oh, man, I LOVE my shape-ups, and I’m trying to talk my dad into getting me a pair of black mary-jane style ones so I can wear them to work (mine are just trainers, not work shoes). I don’t know about burning more calories or toning muscles, but they’re SO nice to walk in.

    Reply

    • Psynister
      Mar 25, 2011 @ 09:38:07

      We’re looking at venturing into the sandals versions for lazing about and the upcoming summer weather.

      I know Jenny would like to get some MJ’s too, but they didn’t have any in her size when we went before. =\

      Reply

  6. Trackback: Sketchers Shape-ups: Another Look « The Chubby Couple
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