Consumer Reports tests walking shoes

September 7, 2010 Included in the tests are five shoes that claim to tone muscles: Earth Kinetics, Sketchers Shape-Ups, and, for women, Reebok's Easy Tone Reeinspire. Testers had panelists describe how they felt.

Most said they could feel the Earth Kinetics and Sketchers working their muscles, but not so much with the Reeboks. Also, those shoes may not be great for people with balance issues because they work differently than traditional shoes and may be unstable.

And testers put all the shoes, including ones from New Balance, Nike, and Reebok, through a battery of tests.

One test assesses flexibility—that's how easily a shoe bends—which is important. And testers evaluated the shoes' stability and cushioning at an outside lab.

Consumer Reports also had staffers walk in the shoes for a total of some 250 hours. In the end, Consumer Reports top-rated the $100 Asics GEL-Tech Walker Neo for both men and women.

The $20 ProSpirit Jacorey for men came close. It's sold at Target.

And a second choice for women, the $70 Ryka Radiant, rated excellent for cushioning and flexibility.

Consumer Reports says getting a good pair of walking shoes can take some work. You may need to try on several before you find a comfortable fit. And walk around in them for a little bit to be sure they're right for you.

Reebok Statement:
Bill McInnis, Head of Advanced Innovation While we are pleased to see Reebok EasyTone receive the highest rating from Consumer Reports, we wanted to address any misconceptions readers may have regarding feeling results right away with regard to muscle soreness. Reebok EasyTone footwear is designed to work over long periods of everyday use so the consumer won't necessarily immediately feel muscle activation during limited use. This is the intended effect of our unique moving air technology, which doesn't change a walker's natural gait. This is why we don't feel the need to include 30 minute limits on initial wear disclaimers with our product as many of our competitors do. The extreme negative heel in our competitor's rocker style shoes could cause some more noticeable short term soreness, in calves and achilles in particular. This early onset soreness can be indicative of over-use and can lead to problems. In designing our EasyTone collection, Reebok has been careful to not change a walker's natural gait to create a safe and effective toning effect and we've conducted over 20,000 hours of weartesting to verify this. As such, Reebok EasyTone shoes provide micro-instability and softness, which over time and with continuous repetitions, provide toning and strengthening benefits.

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