Busting Shoe Myths – The Skechers Rocker Bottom

Again, I’m busting orthopaedic shoe myths this month, so today, I take on . . .

Skechers Rocker Bottom ShoesThe Skechers “Shape-Ups” rocker bottom shoe.

More Silliness!!!  Please do not waste your money on these things.  Unless, that is, you strangely want to injure yourself and join in on a class action lawsuit against their manufacturer (there are various legal concerns for this shoe both in terms of false advertising and injury creation).  Once again, I have seen a number of unnecessary injuries as a result of activity in these shoes.  It creates an unnatural gait pattern which, when combined with full tibio-talar range of motion can create extensor tendonitis, Achilles tendonitis, and stress fractures.  Interestingly, the company seems to imply that it actually takes advantage of the unnatural gait pattern, which is energy inefficient, to increase calorie consumption and encourage weight loss.  That point is taken, and may indeed be a fair one, but it does not jive with the remainder of the shoes claims (such as improved posture, muscle tone, and balance).  There is nothing about energy inefficiency that will somehow naturally increase the tone in your gastrocnemius (which, by the way, based on the biomechanics encouraged by this shoe, it is my feeling would actually decrease).

From the manufacturer’s promotional materials: “Shape Ups are designed to enhance the benefits of walking by stimulating muscles not utilized with standard walking shoes.  They also reduce the impact on joints by providing a more natural, forgiving walking surface.  Walking on a soft surface may seem awkward at first, but your body will compensate by activating muscles in your legs, back and stomach to center your body, resulting in improved coordination and posture, stronger muscles, and increased blood flow.”  Ok, so much bad and unfounded information there that I don’t know where to begin. If you actually took the many leaps of faith you have take to buy this material you actually would get in shape.  Sadly, leaps of faith are also not a particularly good workout.  Suffice it to say that it is unlikely that any of these benefits could be proven to be true, if they could, they would annotate the studies which confirm (or even hint at) them.

I tell patients, you do realize that some of the most unfortunate genetic malformations known result in a “rocker-bottom” foot, right?  Sometimes a rocker-bottom foot can be helpful, when combined with immobilization of the subtalar and tibio-talar joints to allow for rest and healing in cases of fracture or tendon rupture, but this requires casting or booting. Generally speaking, this is intended to be a unilateral (one side only), temporary immobilizing treatment.  If the claims of this shoe were true, you would have seen orthopaedists placing patients in casts and then encouraging the patient to exercise in them.

These shoes are, in my opinion, misleading in their claims at best, injurious at worst.  It is my sense that they will likely not be available for long as they are the subject of extensive ongoing class-action litigation.   Perhaps my favorite feedback I received in doing the research for this blog was a person who said, “One day we’ll see these shoes on a VH1 special, ‘That’s So 2000’s!” These shoes might work nicely to prevent injury if they were coupled with ankle immobilization, and activity limitation, but alas they are not, and I cannot recommend these devices for daily wear or for fitness.

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24 Responses to Busting Shoe Myths – The Skechers Rocker Bottom

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  5. Jeri Gray says:

    What shoe do you recommend

  6. unapseste says:

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  7. Rafaela says:

    Thanks a bunch for taking the time to explain the terminlogy to the novices!

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  11. Hit the nail on the head. – John Heywood

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    • Angeles says:

      I’ve personally aywals really liked the look of the Asics Kayano 14s, especially the silver with turquoise details, but now there’s also a lilac with plum accents. If only they were right for me, I’d be sold! And RW, you should rename the contest, to vote for the ugliest running shoes. You guys sure picked those out for us!

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    • Jay says:

      I have always been a fair-weather rnuner. I love to run during the spring and summer, but when it starts to get colder outside, I usually stop running until the next warm season. A few weeks ago, I ran a 5K as part of my work team. Unfortunately, I did no running prior to the event to prepare. I finished the 5k in 35 minutes but left with sore calves. My calves hurt so bad that I physically could not walk normally for about two weeks. During this time, I alternated between icing and applying heat to my calves, as well as regularly stretching them. When they stopped hurting, I went out for a run. I stretched well beforehand and made sure I was warmed up before running. However, only a few minutes into the run I could feel the pain coming back in my calves. I continued my one mile run and now my calves are quite sore again. Could I have injured them during the 5k? What’s the best way to go about getting back into a regular running routine without injuring them even more?

  14. vitamin d says:

    You have noted very interesting details! ps nice site.

    • Tsega says:

      Running injuries are coommn due to 2 main factors 1) running on modern surfaces2) running in shoes that promote heal strikingDid you know Abebe Bikila won the olympic gold medal for the Marathon barefoot?Did humans evolve to wear shoes? Not until the 1970 s did running shoes (driven by Nike’s marketing) become popular.Take some time to look into minimalist and barfoot running practices.There are many shoe companies that are working to provide zero drop shoes the provide a more natural running experience

  15. barbara rochelle says:

    i have arthritis in my ankles and also have the rocker bottom..what an improvement for my pain..at last i am mostly free of it !

  16. It’s such a great site

  17. linda rostedt says:

    I love my rocker bottoms….. I have lower back problems, and when I walk in them it helps to relieve my back pain because they make me walk different and with better posture. One satisfied consumer…. I am looking for my 3rd pair. Sincerely Linda

  18. boyncpyncbith says:

    Investigation suggests that a mixture of heel pads using a programme of stretches and eccentric workout routines will make the very best final results.

  19. Perfect work you have done, this site is really cool with fantastic information.

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