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Skechers Shape-Ups Toning Shoes Review, Comparison, Evaluation of Workout, and Injury Precautions

Health > Foot Care and Shoes


Summary. Skechers Shape-Ups shoes are one of the most advanced shoes in the world. Considering their many benefits and durable design, at about $100 for a pair, they are a good value. This page offers a basic review of benefits and drawbacks, including a video review at the bottom of this page. Note that Skechers is sometimes mistakenly spelled as Sketchers.

Personal Experience. The best way to learn about Skechers Shape-Ups or any other toning shoe is to buy a pair, experience them first hand, try them indoors, and then return them if you’re not completely satisfied. Make sure you wear them regularly for a few days to allow your muscles to condition and adapt to their design.

Comparison. This page contains comprehensive information about Skechers. However, most of the information presented here applies to other toning shoes and there are many brands of toning shoes to choose from. The links below are non-affiliate links to the official manufacturers’ websites.

“I checked out several brands of toning shoes after buying the Skechers Shape-Ups. I was curious to see the similarities and differences. Two other brands I discovered were lighter, and a bit more stable. However, the trade-off is that they didn’t offer the extreme cushioning of the Skechers Shape-Ups that I really like. However, everyone’s preferences are different. I’d highly recommend trying out a few different brands indoors for an extended time and going with what feels best to you.” ~ Gregory Johnson

Skechers Shape-Ups Benefits. SkechersShape-Ups shoes provide many benefits.

  • Age Reversing. Some people report feeling 10 years younger. This is because Skechers Shape-ups shoes reduce the aging and energy draining effect of gravity through a special ergonomic design. For this reason, they can slow down or reduce aging.
  • Fatigue Reducing. Standing or walking for extended periods of time produces a fatigue similar to a repetitive stress injury. This is because a limited number of muscles are engaged repeatedly. The rolling nature of the Skechers Shape-Ups shoes allows them to engage a broader range of muscles in a dynamic and changing way that ultimately results in less fatigue. Rather than becoming tired from standing or walking, it’s possible to become energized.
  • Improves Blood Circulation. Because the shoes are designed to engage more muscles and a full body exercise experience, more blood flow is stimulated while walking.
  • Improves Posture. Because of their design, the body naturally finds a balancing point by straightening up.
  • Low Impact. Because of the slightly rounded sole of the shoe, when walking, the foot is smoothly and gently rocked forward with every step. In addition to their ergonomic sole, the abundant padding and cushioning helps reduce impact even more.
  • Money Saving. Because the Skechers Shape-Ups shoes are low impact, this results in less wear on your body as well as the shoes. They are made with high quality materials. For some people, the extreme comfort of their design might make orthodics unnecessary. If you’ve been wearing special shoe inserts for extra comfort, you might find you don’t need them with the Sketchers Shape-ups. However, always consult with your physician before making any changes to prescribed practices.

Drawbacks. The many benefits mentioned above outweigh the drawbacks, and most of the drawbacks diminish over time. Those that don’t can be compensated for.

  • Heavy. Because Skechers Shape-Ups shoes are made of strong durable materials, they are a bit heavier than traditional shoes that are made of light weight less durable materials. Some people find the shoes feel heavy on their feet.
    • Considerations. After the muscles are conditioned for the few extra ounces of weight, this sensation goes away. Also, since you are toning and getting more fit, your legs are stronger and you don’t notice the weight as much over time.
  • High Center of Gravity. Skechers Shape-Ups shoes have a high center of gravity because the sole of the shoe is quite thick. This combined with the softness of the sole make them not well suited for playing tennis or climbing along severe slopes.
    • Considerations. Some people are accustom to wearing shoes without lacing them up tightly or fully. This makes shoes easy to put on and take off. With Sketchers, to keep them safely and securely on your feet, it’s best to lace them up all the way and ensure a snug fit.
  • Not for Running. Because of their weight and instability, Skechers Shape-Ups shoes are not ideally suited for running.
    • Considerations. The shoes design is actually very specifically engineered for the stride and activity of walking rather than running. Those getting exercise from walking will ultimately be doing their body a favor by reducing the impact and injuries potentially caused by running.
  • Poor Traction on Slippery Surfaces. The shoes do not have a flat sole. For this reason, only a portion of the sole contacts the ground or floor at any one time. This means there may be less traction in some circumstances. If the surface is slippery from liquid or ice, these shoes may have less traction.
    • Considerations. Shape Ups are available in a slip resistant version (described by a video at the bottom of this page. However, even the regular shoe has a surprisingly good grip.
  • Tiring. Some people experience an initial fatigue because they don’t allow the body to become conditioned sufficiently to wear Skechers Shape-Ups shoes.
    • Considerations. Because the shoes engage more muscles when walking, a person might feel worn out initially when wearing them. Once you become more physically fit, this sensation will go away and turn into energy. In fact, because the shoes encourage a broader range of muscle involvement and greater range of motion, there is a reduced chance of repetitive stress.
  • Unstable. What makes the Skechers Shape-Ups shoes so effective at engaging muscles is that they are a little wobbly front to back and side to side.
    • Considerations. This is like the difference between weight machines and free weights. The body must engage more muscles when walking. Exercise balls are based on the same principle. However, because the shoes don’t provide a lot of stability in the support system, people who have pronation or supination (landing more on the inside or outside of the foot) may experience exaggerated foot motion with these shoes. Because the cushioning makes them a bit unstable, they might not be practical for use playing tennis or while hiking on uneven ground.

Video Review and General Overview. Below is a video review of the Skechers Shape-Ups shoes by Gregory Johnson.

Skechers Shape-Ups and Back Pain. Initial use of Skechers Shape-Ups may result in some fatigue of various muscles including the possibility of sore back muscles. However, after a short time, the body should become conditioned to the shoes. In the video below, Gregory Johnson discusses the connection between back health and Skechers Shape-Ups shoes.

Skechers Shape-Ups and Weight Loss. In the video below, Gregory Johnson discusses the impact of Skechers Shape-Ups shoes on weight loss.

Skechers Shape-Ups and Hiking. In the video below, Gregory Johnson shares how the Skechers Shape-Ups perform while hiking in India.

Potential Dangers of Shape-Ups Shoes. In the video below Gregory Johnson discusses the possibility of harmful injuries while using Skechers Shape-Ups.

Official Skechers Shape-Ups Video. Below is a welcome video from Skechers to introduce the Shape-Ups. [NOTE: This video no longer available as of 27 Apr 2022.]

Skechers Slip Resistant Shape-Ups. Below is a video about Skechers Shape-Ups Slip Resistant shoes. [NOTE: This video no longer available as of 27 Apr 2022.]

Z-Coil Video Review. Below is a video produced by Z-Coil about the benefits and drawbacks of various toning shoes. [NOTE: This video no longer available as of 27 Apr 2022.]

Reader Feedback

Below are some responses from readers about their experiences with Skechers Shape-Ups or other toning shoes.

  • Comment. “I have not had any problems with the shoes at all.  I love them and have used them for 3 years. They have made my legs stronger and help me stand taller with good posture. I was surprised to hear of others having so many problems with these shoes.” ~ Cynthia J. (20101007th0931)
    • Response. “Thanks for commenting. I think there are many satisfied Skechers users. It’s often the case that a product that works for some people might not work well for others. Sometimes this depends on individual needs or how a person is using a product. I think the best lesson for people to learn is that they need to try something out before trying to decide.” ~ Gregory Johnson (20101008fr1141)
  • Comment. “Recently, I purchased a pair of Sketcher Shape-Ups shoes, and during the time I wore them, I noticed that two of my toes became extremely painful. I immediately stopped wearing them, but as a result of the pain for the front of the shoe bending my toes, I lost both the toenails and have not wore them since. I was not happy with the shoes after two weeks of wearing them because of the pain I experienced during the two weeks I walked in them. I would like people to know this incase it happens to anyone else. I went to a pedicurists and it was confirmed that the shoe caused the lost of my nails.” ~ Baker (20100809mo0653)
    • Response. “I had a similar problem on my right foot. I ended up with slight calluses on the tip of the toe next to my big toe. So, I’m extra careful to keep my toenails trimmed. I also wear shoes that are a size or two large for me to ensure that my toes aren’t cramped. What I notice is that my feet slide forward in the shoes especially when hiking down steep inclines. This can cause my toes to get cramped. When I make sure the laces are very tight, then this helps avoid the problem. Also, wearing thick soft socks helps. If your toe nails catch on the inner seam of the shoes, it could be a serious problem.” ~ Gregory Johnson
  • Comment. “I just wanted to add some feedback about Sketcher shoes. I walk about 3-4 miles a morning 5 times a week. When these shoes came out I was very excited to see that I could ‘bump up’ my workout with even better results. I wore them around the house until I felt used to them. Headed out the first day and was only 2 blocks away when I heard a big pop in my knee. I tried to shake it off but had to return home. Long story short I tore my meniscus and cartilage in my knew and had surgery last week. I have never had any trouble with my knees before. One of the questions that the drs asked me is if I was ‘walking on an uneven surface’ when this happened. I would call the shoes an uneven surface. I guess I can’t be sure but I am also sure that I am not the only one that has experienced this.” Michi H. (20100809mo1711)
    • Response. “I used the shoes for hiking steep hills in northern India. The trails were intentionally paved with an uneven surface designed to help with water runoff. The combination of the uneven surface and the unstable nature of the Skechers Shape-Ups made the hike a really intense workout. I wouldn’t be surprised if the instability of the shoes could push some people over the edge and result in an injury that was waiting to happen, given the right conditions. Many years ago (before Shape-Ups), while playing soccer (football) my foot landed on an uneven spot of ground and I heard a pop. I’d broken my ankle. I have the same experience with these shoes. If the surface is uneven, they are prone to allow your ankle to buckle over. One needs to be careful using these shoes. They have potential for amazing benefits, but are also potentially harmful depending on the person using them and the conditions. I’m wearing the shoes all the time, in a variety of surface conditions and activities, including jogging now. I’m closely monitoring how my body responds to their use.” ~ Gregory Johnson

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Document History. This document was first posted on 20100319fr1208. On 20100326fr0503, significant updates were made, including several new videos.

FTC Disclaimer: This page is not a paid advertisement. In an effort to remain impartial and unbiased, no compensation is/was received from Skechers in exchange for the creation of this review, nor is it connected to any customer rewards or incentive program. This review is completely voluntary and not influenced by pressure from the manufacturer or its competitors. [More…]

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  • VIDEO PLAYBACK ISSUE — Potential Dangers of Shape-Ups Shoes. In the video below Gregory Johnson discusses the possibility of harmful injuries while using Skechers Shape-Ups. [View on YouTube] Note: As of 27 Apr 2022 this video indicates a playback error.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com