Shoes for Better Balance
You may have seen ads lately for shoes that have rocker bottoms or curved soles. Currently there are three brands out there:
makers of these shoes all claim various health benefits from wearing
their shoes, specifically strength and balance improvements. I can
imagine there would be small strength improvements just because walking
in these shoes is a very different motion to the body, and would
results in certain muscles getting used differently than walking in
- Skechers Shape-Ups
- Reebok EasyTones
Those muscles would have to get stronger quickly
to deal with their new responsibilities during the walking motion.
However, once your body adapts to that motion and those muscles are
strengthened, I do not think there would be much additional benefit in
the strength department.
What About Balance?
balance issue interests me more, though. These shoes are all rounded on
the bottom instead of flat like a normal shoe, so there will be an
increased amount of instability when standing or walking.
sensation of instability means that your sense of balance will be
working overtime to make sure you stay upright. So I would have to
conclude that these shoes do indeed work your balance.
I can tell, the Skechers and MBTs have a “rocker sole” which makes them
wobble in one plane of motion from front to back. The Reeboks are
different in that they have small air-filled circles in the heel and
ball of the foot areas that you are standing one. The circular nature
of those pads means that in addition to wobbling forward and backwards,
you can also wobble sideways to some degree.
companies have done is taken a balance device that you would see at a
fitness center, shrunk it, and attached it to the bottom of a shoe. In
fact, Reebok says that their shoe was specifically inspired by the
inflatable balance discs that people stand on at the gym to work their
Now I certainly do not see these shoes as a silver
bullet for balance problems. I think it is still important for people
to spend time daily doing a variety of balance exercises that challenge
their balance in different ways. But I do think these shoes can be
beneficial, and more and more people are getting them.
last thing to mention is that you need to be careful because as I
mentioned, these shoes will make you less stable when wearing them. If
your balance is already terrible, it would not be smart to wear
something that makes you even more unstable because it would increase
your risk falling.
Also, you should not wear them in situations
where you need extra stability, like walking in the snow or ice. Stick
with your normal shoes for those situations.
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