How Well Do Skechers Shape Ups Really Work? Not All That Well.

When you enter the Skechers Shape-Ups store a cheery, robotic voice informs you “Skechers Shape-Ups may hurt a bit the  first time you wear them, because you’re getting a real workout!”

I was kind of excited by the thought that all the workouts I’d had prior, all the spinning classes and core fusion blends, all had been mere chicanery. Skecher’s Shape-Ups. The Real workout. “Yes,” I thought, “Bitch, bring. on. the. pain.” Or at least, the mild, work-out related discomfort.

And there were so many places they could bring that mild discomfort to! The advertisement promised that my new Skechers would:

* Improves posture
* Strengthens the back
* Firms buttocks muscles
* Reduces cellulite and tones thighs
* Firms calf muscles
* Improves blood circulation
* Tightens abdominal muscles

That’s interesting, because that is exactly what my Phyqiue57 class (it’s awesome, I highly recommend it) promises. Except that with that class I have to do a lot of sideplanks and leg lifts and weird squat things where I desperately clutch a ballet bar. I don’t like those. You know what I like? Walking.

I had every cause to expect to expect a little discomfort. I’m a frequent (daily) high heel wearer and imagined that spending a day in flats would be, at least, unusual.

I felt nothing.

No, scratch that, my toes felt a little sore at the end of the day. As though they were bruised. I think I probably should have gone a size up.

Now, it’s not as though I decided to just not walk that day. I wish I could say I felt nothing because my team of armed eunuchs carried me from place to place in my golden litter, or that I strapped a million hummingbirds to my body and trained them to fly in unison to my destination. I wish I could say that, because, whether I’m wearing Skechers Shape-Ups or not, I wish I could say that every day.

But instead, I walked the same 20 minute walk to work I always walk, and then 20 minutes back again at the end of the day. During lunch, I walked another 20 minutes to and from the lunch place. So, yeah, same amount of daily walking as always. No notable discomfort or stretchiness or feeling of having worked out whatsoever.

Just some sad little bruised toes.

Now, I’m comparing this to say, the 15 minutes of lazy sit-ups I do while watching Pretty Little Liars. I feel something when I do that. Soreness. These basically feel like walking around in platform shoes all day. Which is fine. If you find them aesthetically pleasing, great. Or if you feel obligated to walk more than you usually would because you’re wearing them, that’s great, too. But if you’re a regular exerciser, I just don’t think this is going to constitute a “real workout!”

Now, perhaps you are inclined to say, “Jennifer, a woman of steel such as yourself would OF COURSE not feel anything when walking in Skechers Shape-Ups. They are a workout only for people who, before strapping them on, have never walked a day in their lives. Did you know that the average person in Houston Texas walks a mere half mile every day? That’s like the distance people walk to the supermarket next to their house in a walking city. This probably is a good workout for those people, because it gets them out and walking.”

And I would reply, “well, that’s an interesting fact. But is Peyton Manning not a “real exerciser?” Why is he advertising these if they don’t work? He is on all the advertisements.”

And you would say “sometimes people lie for money, Jennifer. I’m sorry Peyton Manning maybe was less than truthful with you.”

Well, thanks a lot for destroying my faith in the moral character of our NFL all stars. I’m going to strap myself back into my nice normal pumps, and relegate these Shape-Ups to the back of my closet. Though actually, I might wear them to my next spin class. You know. For a real workout.

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    • val1124

      The only ones I believe would work are the Reebok ones because they’re like standing on a mini balance ball. A woman in my weightlifting class was wearing them a couple weekends ago and she was shaking so much I thought she was going to fall over. But in a good way…?

    • Malkovich

      You are so right. I may not be a woman of steel but I had exactly the same experience with the Skecher Shape-ups. I just didn’t know how to convey my disappointment in such an entertaining fashion.

    • wintour4pres

      I wonder if wearing Shape Ups while running on a treadmill maximizes performance? It’s like working out twice in once!

    • Jess

      First, a random quip to heel wearers: be careful when you go from heels to any sort of “work out” shoe. Because they are designed to make you walk a certain way, your Achilles tendon is extended farther than normal- even more so for the chronic stiletto wearer (your heels’ tendons and ligaments are shortened as much as a third from consistently wearing shoes that keep the ankle in such a position).
      I bought a pair of MBT Anti-Shoes recently, in desperate need of a good walking shoe (just moved to London- all I do is walk). The first day they were, well, weird. The man I bought them from advised me to only wear them for a few hours the first day and then switch- and so I did. I went from the MBTs to regular ol’ sandals and my shins were on fire! There was definitely some lactic acid build up in my muscles from how the shoes made my feet work.
      If you aren’t getting a good work out from the Sketchers, I think it’s a combination that Sketchers are a cheap knock off (sorry, but true- they’re one of the 7th or 8th to join the “work out shoe” campaign)- but also because you already do alot of walking to begin with. Either way, I recommend the MBTs- a bit more expensive (ok, twice as much) but they are amazing.

    • karen

      I have to slightly disagree with Jess in regards to the MBTs. I bought a pair a couple of years ago (when they were the only ones in the market doing this) with the same dreams of not having to workout any more floating through my head. I was warned by the nice man in the store to “only wear them for 20 minutes at a time for the first couple of days” to let my body adjust and was told to “make sure to watch the enclosed dvd so as to learn how to walk in them.” Aaaaand, nothing. I wore them every day, everywhere (I live in NYC, so I walk _everywhere_) and never felt any difference. I think the whole concept is a scam.

    • Tiff1111

      I just bought a pair of shap-ups S2lite, and have been wearing them every day sense except sunday. Friday night after I bought them I got called into my side job where i am on my feet walking and lift and so forth and I didnt feel any sorness after 20 minutes but after two hours I started to. I normally wear New Balance sneakers, and I don’t have any soreness doing the same job. I have also been wearing them to were I work full time, unfortunatly I do not live close enough to walk to work. However I ma up and down from my desk all day, and also while I am sitting I am doing the rock and roll to keep my legs moving. In these past few days I have felt sorness in my abdomen, as well as my uper thighs and around my hips. I also have back problem and they seem to be helping my posture and my back. Not everyone has the same experience, but I rather like them and can feel a difference. Mind you I donot were heels often but when I did they also made my legs sore, but after a while my legs got used to it and so I would have to do more in them to feel any difference. Just like any other exercise if your in good shape to begin with it may take more intesity or longer span to get a burn.

    • Connie

      I don’t care if the shoes help you get into shape, all I care about is if they are comfortable. I’m on my feet all day and my feet hurt so bad I can hardly walk. Can anyone tell me about the comfort?

      • gary

        connie-I have really bad feet-so flat my arche bone sets on the floor when I am standing up-after 6 hrs I couldn’t walk across the street-out of desperation I bought a pair of shape ups -that was 5 months ago and I haven’t slowed down yet—good luck

    • Jan Wright

      I bought these shoes and began having foot problems. I haven’t worn them since. I am afraid they will cause me alot of pain like before. They are very comfortable, but they stretch the muscle on the bottom of your feet a little too much! So here I sit with an expensive pair of shoes I can’t even wear.

      • Dawn Coy

        I got my shoes as a Christmas gift 19 months ago (I wore them in the house before Christmas) and at first every thing was fine. But they didn’t help tone my legs or anything like that. Now for the past 2 weeks whenever I put them on my feet HURT SO BAD that I can’t walk barefooted. So now I have a $100.00 pair of shoes that I can’t wear. On the plus side at least they didn’t fall apart like so many past shoes have done.

    • Leo

      I bought a pair of shape-ups about a year ago. I have worn them at least 2 days of every month since. my job puts me on my feet for up to 10 hours a day. when I wear the shape-ups my legs are sore and the middle of my low back is very uncomfortable. I dont mind the leg pain so much , but the back pain keeps me from wearing them any longer. I thought the back pain would subside as I got used to the shoes , but no luck.

    • doys hughes

      I bought a pair of skechers tone ups and they are very comfortable after you get used to them.I now wear them daily as I have a sacrieliac
      problem and as soon as I put them back on it goes back in. So they are helpful to me , but my knees have been hurting can anyone tell me if they have somiliar problem

    • Patricia W

      I am sorry to say but I believe these shoes caused a fracture when I walked in them for a few hours. I would not recommend them. It is not a normal position for the foot when walking. My podiatrist also said great possibility it was caused by the shoes.

    • Felipe Erazo

      For me they work just perfect, I got 5 pairs and my toes and heel pain are going down, I have 3 herniated discs and they really help me a lot when I go walking or on the thread mill. My knees actually are getting less stress due to the thickness of the sole so I would think that, like everything in this life, nothing would act like an act of magic. It may depend on your weight too, I do 270 pounds so maybe that’s a determinant factor, these shoes are not that light neither. Anyway if you really want to feel saomething different and more soft when walking and doing your daily chores I would recommend these shoes. For the fitness freaks not that good.

      • Glysda

        I agree with you Felipe they are wonderful so I’m looking for my Third pair.

    • Glysda

      I feel sorry for the people that are saying Shape Ups Doesn’t work for them, I have a Herniate Disc so when I went shopping at the Mall with my regulars Shoes(Nike,Rebook,Puma ..etc) I couldn’t walk all the Mall doing my Shopping because my lower back was killing me, so I decided to buy Shape Ups, first time I wore them I felt Weird but those shoes helping me a lot ,now i walk with them every day .I bought my second pair because they really work for me ,my back never hurt anymore so I’m very happy with Shape Ups :)

    • Lisa423

      I puchased sketchers shape-ups 1year ago I walk every morning and have recently been having hip and back pain, I was wondering how long it is before these shoes wear down and should be replaced? I misplaced my cd and do not remember if it mentioned anything

    • Rosemarie Quigley

      I have been wearing shape ups on the treadmill both on incline and flat treadmill position. I experienced aim on my lower back such as a pull.
      Dr. Said it was a spreaned, orthopedic said that it was also a sprain,chiropractor sent me of an MRI and it showed an edema in my marrow.
      Was wondering if anybody experienced such a thing and if Sketcher Toneups cause the edema plus strain. Back to the orthopedic tomorrow. Very sad and mad. Please respond. Thanks,