Skechers Shape-ups: Another Look

One of the things that we like to do here on this blog, and our others as well, is to keep an eye on how people manage to find us. One of the tools we look at for this is the search terms that lead people to us. Typically the posts that I do in relation to these search terms are to point out the funny or interesting terms, but sometimes it also provokes us to make new posts.

Lately we’ve had a lot of people finding the blog by searching for information on the Skechers Shape-ups, and in particular people looking for pain in relation to wearing them. I gave my overall review about a week and a half ago, but today I want to talk more directly about the aspect of pain and injury in relation to the shoes.

The first thing to do, I guess, is to point out the fact that I’m not an expert on shoes, fitness, injury, or anything of the sort. I’m a computer programmer who just happens to be out of shape and just happens to have some experience with the shoes in question. What I’m sharing with you here is my own experience as well as my wife’s experience with the shoes.

Jenny had her Shape-ups for quite a while before I got my own, so when I noticed the search terms I brought it up to her and we talked a bit about the pain that we’ve both experienced. To give you a quick answer to the question of whether or not they’ll cause you pain or injury, the answer is “maybe, but likely not for long”.

Jenny had some pretty harsh pain in her hips shortly after she started wearing her Shape-ups, which she got around the same time we started losing weight as well. While she did have the hip pain, and the pain did start after she started wearing the shoes, that’s not the true cause and effect of the situation. There were two main factors in the pain that she felt. The first is that she was losing weight and the weight she still had remaining was “shifting”; as you lose weight your body changes, pretty basic. The second is that she was wearing these new shoes.

The issue with the shoes is that in addition to having her body changing because of her weight loss, is that their design changes your center of balance so not only is your body trying to adjust to these shoes that are lifting you higher into the air and causing you to more a bit different just in general, but your body is also working now to balance a physical weight that it’s not 100% familiar with anymore. So as a result her body was moving more to correct its own balance issues while also reacting to its own reactions as it would occasionally trigger an over-reaction to being thrown off of balance because of the new center of gravity. In turn that put extra stress on her center of gravity which is primarily controlled by – the hips (the muscles are in your back and stomach, generally, but the stress of the movement is all in the hips and waist).

She was in the middle of a long day of shopping with one of her friends when her hips started hurting, but the pain only lasted for the one day. It was a lot of pain, but it didn’t last for long.

The shoes do what they do because of their design. The design is meant to change your balance and your stride so that your body burns more calories to react to those changes. Because the shoes are a bit “wobbly” your posture improves which burns calories by itself, and your muscles stay more actively engaged in doing things which burns even more.

In my case I didn’t have any pain in my hips or back which seem to be the most common complaints. I did have some pain, but mine was actually in my shins. The pain wasn’t from walking in the shoes or “using” them. Instead it came from the design of the sole of the shoe, which is thicker than most other shoes. Because of that while driving to the “big city” of Amarillo my ankle was held for about an hour at an angle it wasn’t used to which caused the muscles in my lower leg to really tense up and once I got out of the car it really started to hurt. But after walking around for a bit and eating dinner I had no further issues.

In looking around on the net for other people claiming to have issues or injuries with the Shape-ups I also found quite a few people talking about their feet hurting after wearing them for long periods of time throughout the day. I have had some pains in my feet from time to time since getting the shoes, but I’ve always had that problem and I honestly don’t feel that the shoes contribute to that at all. In fact, the only time I ever have the pain with the Shape-ups is when I stand in place for more than 10 minutes, but if I were in normal shoes I would have felt that same pain and in less time.

So from our experience, yes we did both experience some pain in relation to wearing these shoes, but in both of our cases the pain was not lasting. For me the pain lasted for about an hour and a half to two hours, for Jenny it was about 12 hours.

If you’re going to try Shape-ups then just be aware that the nature of their design is to throw you off a little bit, to change balance and make your body react to them. Don’t get them and expect to just slip them on and then to run a mile. Give yourself time to get used to them and realize the potential dangers of having your sense of balance challenged.

If you get a pair for yourself, which I do recommend for anyone who’s interested, I advise you to give yourself time to get used to them and if you do experience pain just try to cut back on your activity for the day (if you can) and definitely give them another shot for at least another day or two to see if the pain goes away as your body adjusts to them. In almost every article I found online where people complained of pain it was either pre-existing conditions that worsened because of the change in balance, or it was temporary and resolved itself within three days. If you have an existing condition that could potentially worsen because of the balancing, then see your doctor to get their opinion before you continue using the Shape-ups.

As I wrap things up here, I also want to direct you to another site that I found today as I did a little research of my own on the shoes and their relation to pain and injury. has a great review that talks about several different aspects of the shoes including comparisons with other, similar shoes and and also precautions to avoid injury. The post I linked you to in particular also has links to about 8 different videos about the shoes including several recorded by the author himself to share his experiences with the shoes.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dacia
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 08:45:41

    I am not big into walking, or at least not yet, as it is too high impact and hurts my knees. Once I am able to transition over into a continual walking/jogging routine I will think about picking up a pair of these. I will definitely be checking with a doctor first though to make sure they won’t worsen my condition in my knees. Thanks for sharing your feedback!


    • Psynister
      Apr 05, 2011 @ 08:55:32

      I would definitely check with your doctor first for your knees as the natural wobbliness of the shoes could very well put extra stress on them.


  2. Keith
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 08:50:13

    The Shape-ups intrigue me, but I spend 4-6 hours per day behind the wheel of a car. Something tells me the altered angle of my ankle is not going to be particularly pleasant in that situation, and the benefit will be pretty minimal.


    • Psynister
      Apr 05, 2011 @ 08:57:59

      It would likely result in pain the first time as it did for me, but I’m used to it after the first day. Obviously, the more walking you do the more beneficial they are for you, but they’re also very comfortable shoes with their extra cushion and support.


  3. fynralyl
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 09:24:35

    In prepping for our 5K Walt-It event, I’m sure we’ll be using our shape-ups a lot more. In just 13 minutes yesterday, I felt my muscles working all the way up my legs to my bum. Of course, I’m also very out of shape. Today my thighs & bum are sore, but in a feels good cause you worked it kind of way. I have no soreness or pain in my joints today (or yesterday during the walk).


  4. Ataraxaven
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 09:46:19

    Thanks for the info, I’ve been curious about these for a while, seemed a bit weird and their claims looked a bit across the border on “too good to be true”. Might get a pair sometime to try them out, as I have a pretty long walk as part of my commute.


    • Psynister
      Apr 05, 2011 @ 10:05:18

      Fitness benefits aside, the shoes are freaky-comfy in their own right, so if you’re going to do a lot of walking anyway then you might as well do it without killing your feet!

      I sat on the “too good to be true” side for a while as well, but after Jenny got hers to try them out for a while I decided to get my own and I’m glad I did. I don’t do that much walking during the day since I’m behind a computer all the time, but I like knowing I’m doing a little bit extra during the short bursts of walking that I do have.


  5. Apple
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 19:44:46

    The one thing I would point out is that while they’re trainers, you need to treat them as platforms in some ways – I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, pretty badly, because I wasn’t being careful with how I was balanced walking across a slight incline, and my ankle turned under me.


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