So every day I see more and more people wearing “those shoes”.  By this I mean the elliptical shoes, shoes that not only don’t have a flat bottom, but actually a built up rounded bottom.  You know the type, the Shape-ups or the Reebok version or the Avia or pick a brand.  Skechers were first, then everyone else quickly followed suit.  The premise and promise of the shoes is tighter and more toned lower body.  Firmer thighs, buttocks and legs.  ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?!?  How can something that is designed to make the body do LESS work make it more muscular?  It’s not physically possible.  And the fact of the matter is that these shoes will actually make you less functional and more prone to injury.  Picture this…Betty the beginner.  Someone who has never exercised a day in her life.    Sees a commercial and decides to buy the shoes.  Remember, these shoes do not have a flat bottom, and since Betty doesn’t do squat (much less SQUATS), she is not the most coordinated apple in the basket.  Now she’s walking on an unstable surface.  See what I’m driving at here?  Betty’s going to fall on her ass sooner or later, and guess what…that not-so-firmed up backside is going to take the brunt of the fall. I’ve seen this person and had this conversation.

Client:  “So I’m running a road race and I want to strengthen my feet.”  OK, after I stopped laughing hysterically, I looked at her feet.  Elliptical shoes.  I looked her in the face and said

Me:  “Lose the shoes is step #1.”  She was a bit taken aback and started to report the “benefits”.  I showed her everywhere she was wrong.  Needless to say she was a short lived client.  And don’t think that women are the only ones to blame.  They’ve got guys like Joe Montana endorsing these things and swearing that they are getting him in better shape than his playing days.  Gag!!  Now soon enough, Betty starts complaining of shin splints and pain in her knees when she walks.  Right.  The shoes also make it physically impossible to walk with good mechanics, forcefully striking on the heel instead of the forefoot, putting more pressure on muscles that can’t take it.  Elliptical machines are bad enough, but elliptical shoes are a joke.  There is a reason that running and exercise is making a push back to what are known as “minimalist” shoes.  The Nike Free Run, Reebok Realflex and New Balance Minimus to name a few.  Basically it’s a mea culpa for 30 years of causing overuse and repetitive stress injuries to runners.  Traditional running shoes for years have been the root of many running injuries and have altered the very way in which we walk and run.  With minimalist theories, we can eliminate or minimize most of them.  Now, I’m not advocating you just shun your shoes and take off barefoot.  No.  You have to step into it, so to speak.  Learn to run properly.  Find drills on “pose running” or “Chi running”.  They advocate a much more gentle form of running.  If you are considering a pair of shape ups or other such shoe, don’t.  If you already got sucked in and have a pair, burn them.  They are the worst shoes out there.  Don’t do your body a dis-service.