Archives for May, 2012

MBT files for bankruptcy

MBT shoes seem to be in trouble. The parent company, Masai Marketing & Trading AG, in Switzerland has filed for bankruptcy and the United Kingdom distributor has been placed in administration.

Skechers settle with the FTC for $40 million

The Federal Trade Commission have announced that Skechers have agreed to pay $40 million to settle the charges it misled consumers with claims that its toning sneakers could do everything from help users lose weight to make their “bottom half their better half” without ever going to a gym. The settle will be used to provide refunds to the buyers of shape-ups. This follows the previous settlement with Reebok for $25 million

As part of the settlement, Skechers are barred from making unsubstantiated claims about the health and fitness benefits of Shape-ups and related footwear. The commission alleged Skechers also made deceptive claims about its Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes.

They also claim a chiropractor named Steven Gautreau recommended the product based on a clinical study he claimed was “independent” and tested the shoes’ benefits compared to regular fitness shoes, the FTC said. The study did not produce the results claimed in the ad, the FTC said. Skechers also failed to disclose that Gautreau is married to a Skechers marketing executive and Skechers paid him to do the study, the FTC said.

In a statement Skecker’s stated:

“While we vigorously deny the allegations made in these legal proceedings and looked forward to vindicating these claims in court, Skechers could not ignore the exorbitant cost and endless distraction of several years spent defending multiple lawsuits in multiple courts across the country,”

Shoes that employ toning technology have been sold in the United States for more than 15 years and have been the subject of numerous research projects with at least 19 reports published in peer-reviewed clinical and sports medicine journals. Researchers from around the world have analyzed various models of toning shoes and found demonstrable fitness benefits from walking and standing in such shoes, as compared to flat-bottomed athletic footwear.

Link to the FTC press release.
Link to the Skechers Press Release

Minimalist Running Shoes

Minimalist shoes are the opposite of the toning shoes. While the toning shoes are unstable and use this instability to increase muscle activity, the minimalist shoe relies on the lack of support to change the gait to get a training effect. The minimalist or barefoot movement is a hot topic at the moment in the running community.

The first part of the debate that is going on is just what is a minimalist running shoe? A minimalist running shoe is supposed to be so minimal that the way the foot functions is supposed to mimic the motion of barefoot without any shoes. Some believe anything covering the foot is enough to interfere with foot function. Others believe otherwise. A minimalist shoe has no cushioning like the traditional running shoe. They have no support like the traditional running shoe and they have no differential in heel height between the forefoot and rearfoot.

Are there any advantages to minimalist running shoes? They are not for everyone. The transition to a minimal running shoe from a traditional running shoe is a long slow and gradual process (at least it should be). Minimalist running shoes encourage a forefoot strike and eliminate the impacts associated with heel striking. TO run more lightly this way in the minimalist running shoes requires greater muscle activity and does predispose those muscles and associated tendons to greater injury risk. A large number of people who have made the transition are claiming that they are getting less injuries since doing so. However, all those who work in running injury clinics are also aware of the higher injury rate that is occurring. There is no clear evidence on any advantages of heel striking vs rearfoot striking, just a lot of opinions.

Toning Shoes and Heel Pain

According to MBT:

MBTs can be helpful for plantar fasciitis as they reduce the pressure in the arches of the feet where the plantar fascia lies. You will need to gradually wean into wearing the MBTs and over time they will help to gently stretch the plantar fascia whilst protecting it and strengthening the muscles which support it.

Heel Pain Resources:
Pain in the Heel | Heel Pain | Heel Pain | Heel Pain | Heel Pain | Heel Pain