Do Skechers Shape-Ups Really Work? What Doctors, Trainers, and Shoe Companies Say

image from Skechers

If we see another moronic commercial for Skechers Shape-Ups, we’re going to crack. The ads are everywhere. And seeing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana parading around in his Shape-Ups just makes us sad. But while we’re on this Skechers-induced roller-coaster ride of confusion and emotion, we have to wonder: Do these scam shoes really work?

WebMD wondered that as well, so they asked some experts about Shape-Ups. The podiatrist questioned thought that the sneakers could be good for people with heel pain, but that they might be rough on people who aren’t seasoned athletes. A doctor says that the shoes are a definite no-no for people with arthritis, and she’s not exactly sold on Shape-Ups for people without arthritis, either.

Personal trainers warn people to only wear them for outdoor walking (not on a treadmill), and avoid wearing them while running or weight-training, because the shoes are unstable in the ankle area. But they do think that Shape-Ups could improve your posture and tone your glutes.

So, not the most rave reviews from professionals who care about their clients’ or patients’ well-being. The GM of Skechers thinks the sneaks are sparking a fitness movement for people who aren’t in shape (yet), and hardcore athletes alike.

Have you tried Skechers Shape-Ups or similar athletic shoes for lazy people? Do they really make your butt look better? Do you mind that the shoes are so unattractive? Spill it in the comments section, below – just like Comeback Joe.

via WebMD

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    • Lissie

      Whenever I see the commercials for shape ups I think of people who are too lazy to get off the couch that they will wait for someone to come in and ask them for a soda, instead of getting one themselves. If you really believe wearing a pair of ugly shoes is goingto make you ealthy or get back in the game, your rediculous. How is something that can hurt yor body’s platform good for you? what you get hurt and get more couch time? These shoes drive me insane.

    • Mandi

      Holy people.. it’s not about being lazy… you can’t just pop them on, sit on a couch and be skinny… you actually HAVE to get up and walk in them. Walking.. not lazy.
      I have some, and I love them, I walk tons and find them very comfortable, I can walk longer then I was able to in regular shoes because my hips would get sore. So instead of sitting there and judging and calling people lazy, give the the people who try these credit for doing something active.
      By the way, I am NOT fat and I have always been an active person, as age crept up on me, so did other problems.

    • ferragamo shoes

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    • beth

      I just bought a pair and have used them for two days. Haven’t noticed sore legs like you get from a workout but, I have noticed that my posture is better when I wear them :)

    • Lisa

      These shoes are not ugly, I think they look great and they are comfortable. They do not hurt you, they give you better posture.

    • V

      Seriously, barefoot is better than this. I really believe these have a high incidence of injury. NO thank you.

    • Jim Johnson

      Yes they are ugly. And for those sad people who say “i don’t get tired as much when wearing them” LMAO.. its in your head. Anyone can see they are unsafe. Just because you don’t notice any side effects now.. doesn’t mean you wont any in the future. If you need an excuse to get off your butt and these shoes did it.. then odds are you’ll retire them in a few months anyway since you lack self-motivation anyway. This is just the latest BS product people are using to make themselves feel better about being out of shape. Time is the true test.. and time and time again… Eat Right and Exercise is the answer. Think of all the BS training equipment that has been retired after the “new” wore off them. These “special” shoes fall into that category as well. And years later when people are ripping hamstrings and getting bursitis or something from these ugly pieces of crap.. those of us with enough sense to stay away from FADS and do the WORK to stay in shape will help you to your walker.

    • Sheperd Cohen

      I am a severe hemophiliac and a year ago I hurt my already handicapped ankle very badly. Basically, I had run out of cartilage between my tibia and talus (the main ankle joint) due to excessive bleeding for years, and the pain of my bone rubbing against eachother was too much to bear. I went to the best doctor in my area (Beverly Hills) who happened to have been a specialist in hemophiliac arthropathies. He recommended MBTs and said that Skechers had recently came out with a similar shoe called “shape ups”. I bought the shape ups because they were 1/3 of the price of MBTs and I could honestly say that today I can walk almost PAIN FREE because of these shoes. They are rocker sole shoes so they take a significant amount of the work of walking away from the joints and onto the muscles and shoes. I would love to know which “doctor” said these are a NO NO for arthritis. Every orthopedic surgeon I’ve been to since my injury has recommended these shoes for my SEVERE arthropathy, and I only go to the best.

    • Sheperd Cohen

      Just to clarify on my previous comment. Before you read what I wrote and go out and buy a pair for your knee/ankle arthropathy/arthritis, make sure you speak to a physical therapist. These shoes are hard to balance in, and in order for them to be effective you have to make sure youre walking correctly. Improper gait will exacerbate your pain. These really do work for relieving joint pain, but only when used properly.

    • fat lady in Okla

      ok, I really like these….. i had been walking 5 months before i broke down and paid for them …. I LOVE EM…… anyway….. thats my 2 cents…….

    • Emily

      I got Skechers Shape Ups because they were so comfortable and liked them until I fell and broke my ankle because of the way the sole rolled. It was a bad fall that caused a number of injuries, but it’s the broken ankle that’s keeping me housebound for the next month or more. I didn’t stumble over something; I fell because of the design of the shoes.

      • Sarah

        Wow…you really are stupid…you must’ve been walking awkwardly or dancing or something…because im wearing them now…and i just dont see how any person who retains common sense can fall because of the rounded heel…not only that but i also find it stupid that you aren’t a multi-millionair for sueing the company…get a life…

    • 55 years young and bad knees!!

      OK I’ve read some good, some bad. I’ve had 2 knee surgerys. My left leg is painful daily, however I just saw my EYE doctor and noticed he was wearing them. I joked with him about the “new casual footwear” compared to his typical wingtips. He said he also had knee surgery and is walking bone on bone. With these shape ups for the past 3 months he has noticed much less pain. SOOOO I am going to trust his comment and go out and get a pair. I will post my experience with these after using them a while. IF they suck trust me, I will let you know!

    • shelley george

      the shoes are very comfortable to wear but I am very upset that I have paid a lot of money for a pair of shape ups that I can now not wear after one month as I have developed hip pain after this short time which I experience as soon as I put them on so now I have to purchase another pair of sneakers, for this reason I would not recommend them to anyone

    • FootPain/WeightLoss

      I never post on these things but I have to weigh in on this. I am a 52 year old 3rd grade teacher that last year before Xmas developed severe plantar fasciaitis(sp). My kids got used to me with/without shoes depending on what hurt worse! I tried on a pair of Shape Ups in the Fall, but didn’t want to put out the money-stupid! At Xmas I noticed our local dept store had them and requested a pair for a gift. What a gift they have been! Over time the foot pain went away–the pressure is on a different part of the foot. Plus-right away at the end of the 1st week I could feel my entire legs (thighs especially) tingling. In May I was wearing slacks I hadn’t worn for 2 years–without doing anything else different. I am overweight–these have helped save my feet and as a bonus I’m losing inches. Thank you for reading my comments..

    • Tracie

      I bought these for a trip where I was going to be doing a lot of walking. I really hate to say it, because I love the springy feel when I walk, but my knees hurt when I wear them. The pain was really bad and I’ve just looked at the return policy on my receipt..they’re going back tomorrow. I noticed that I was pronating pretty bad when I was wearing them so I’m sure that didn’t help.

    • Annmarie

      I know they are pretty ugly, but I bought a pair 5 days ago and they have had almost an immediate affect relieving my lower back pain. My Chiropractor was generally negative about them, but as the mother of a 3 year old and a 4 month old, I just couldn’t afford to be out of commission due to back pain. I could care less if they help me “shape-up”… I just want to lift my children without pain. For that, so far, so good.
      Oh, I do have to add I don’t feel anything really different when I walk other than a nice squishy sole, but I find going up and down stairs is taking some getting use to. Also, the shoes are really warm so I am thinking about trying out the sandles.

    • Ramsey D

      I have 2 bulging disk in my back and I coach basketball. So after one game in a day, I was done. Since I tried these shoes (shape-ups) I have not felt near the pain, in fact I can coach 3 games in a day with any lower back pain. i also feel much stronger in my legs. I now own 4 pairs… Well worth the buy.

    • Abbyka

      My husband bought me these a year ago. Not only did it NOT help me lose weight(i wear them everywhere I go, whether it’s walking for exercise or in the grocery store) but they have also caused me a lot of back, hip, and foot pain. Even my legs hurt! Biggest waste of money ever.

    • Shari

      I purchased a pair of shape ups for my birthday. I liked them at first. Wore them only for short periods of time, then ventured to my job in them. I had neck and back pain, but didn’t atribute it to the shoes until I went to our local state park and walked around in them for a couple hours. I have had terrible neck and back pain. I think I need to retire them and go back to my regular sketcher sneekers.
      I found the consumer reports health website and many others have had the same complaints including broken bones after wearing them I don’t recommend them.

    • me

      my heel and the sole of my right foot hurts so much after using my new shape-ups, pain kept waking me up last night and it hasn’t gone after 24 hrs. :( really upset as they weren’t cheap.

    • BethK

      I purchased a pair of shape ups and after wearing them for several weeks I developed SEVERE pain in the heels of my feet. The pain gets so bad that I literally can barely walk. Went to my massage therapist and when asked if there was a specific spot I wanted her to work on I mentioned how the heels of my feet all of a sudden started hurting and she pressed on the exact spot on my heel and I almost jumped out of the bed it hurt so much. First question out of her mouth was if I changed my shoes and when I said I recently started wearing the shapeups she said that’s what did it. She said the pain would get worse over time to the point it would never go away. I haven’t worn the shoes in weeks and my heels still hurt. I would like to point out that in my 41 years of existence I have NEVER had foot pain prior to wearing these shoes. I think there should be a warning on them. Waste of my money and my feet still hurt even though I don’t wear them anymore.

      • Charris

        It actually sounds like you have a terrible case of plantar fasciitis. IT IS HORRIBLY PAINFUL and (in my case) was also brought on by changing my shoes and not being aware of the early warning signs.

        You need motrin, stretching, icing and more stretching. The best way to ice your plantar (that ligamnet running from your toes to your heel) is to fill up a plastic water bottle 1/2 way…freeze it…and then roll your foot back and forth. You also need really well cushioned shoes…ALL OF THE TIME.

        I disagree with your massage therapist because with VERY VERY diligent awareness, Motrin, stretching and ice – I was able to cure mine. I also have awesome walking shoes and I spend about 6 hours a week on my elliptical…the pain is almost 100% gone. For a while…I was unable to walk AT ALL,,,now I only hurt when I step on something little with my heel (like a small toy or marble).

        Don;t wear the shape-ups – apparently your plantar ligaments HATE them! :) Hope you “heel” soon!

      • JG

        I partially agree with Charris below. I’ve been a massage therapist for several years, and plantar fasciitis is incredibly painful, true. Yes, stretching can help, motrin can help…icing can only help reduce swelling brought on by the p.f. The thing is, the fascia actually needs to be warmed up and stretched out…so for example, figure out when you are feeling most pain…is it when you wake up in the morning, after you’ve been on your feet all day,etc. Spend some time before you get to the extreme part of the pain maybe using a tennis ball or a frozen water bottle,rolling it around all over the bottom of your feet (as in, tennis ball, etc. is on the ground and you are rolling your foot over it, not that you are holding items in your hand to roll on your foot). In this case, the ice can help with swelling while also helping to “warm up” with stretching and such of the fascia. Also, while the shoes can be the cause, also check to see if you’ve changed anything else that may be affecting your feet. For example, many people that get p.f. tuck their sheets in on their bed really tightly at the foot of the bed…which in turn forces your toes to point downward in a manner that promotes plantar fasciitis. If you look at how your foot is positioned/curved with each the shoes and the sheets scenario, that should also help you to narrow down any other things you may be doing that would be contributing as well.

        Very wordy response tonight, not so concise, but I hope it helps, nonetheless! :)

      • Judy

        you have planters faciitus and it can come on quickly….i have had can be caused by shoe, but more likely not..i had it a few years ago and i am in my early 30′s I did not have shape up then… will also go away…go get a cortisone shot in may take a while…some times it is called a spur in your heel, there are many remedies on line….hope it gets better!

      • Jolene

        My heels hurt also and never did before wearing the shape ups!

    • Molly

      I have a pair of sketchers running shoes that I bought just because I needed black sneakers in a pinch. I hate them. They’re the most uncomfortable sneakers I’ve ever owned. There are pressure points in the sole because the tread didn’t wear away evenly. I’ve tried to cut away at the sole but I can’t make them work for me. I will never buy sketchers again. If they can’t even get a simple running sneaker right, I would never trust them to make some specialized shoe that is supposed to make you walk in an unnatural way. Good sneakers are made to imitate natural stepping. The bozos at sketchers either don’t know feet/walking or are just way to concerned with style/gimicks/…

    • Courtney Hall

      This is a fun subject!! I also answered this question on my blog..I invite all to check out what I had to say.

    • melinda hart

      i am a nurse and am on my feet all the time i just bought a pair 2 weeks ago watch the video and i have to say i feel the difference i am on my feet 12 hrs a day and now my back hurts so much less i also am a nurse in the army and i use these shoes to workout i would reccommend them to everyone . heck i would love to do a commercial for them i am taking less medication for pain and i am enjoying the way my butt is shaping up lol

    • raina

      ok, so i bought these shoes because i have terrible posture and honestly wanted to lose weight! i wore them once after i bought them and my ankle started hurting, and so its been sitting in my closet as i have forgotten to return them, but nearly a year later, i tried them on again and went walking for about an hour and loved it! no more ankle pain after you know just how to wear em and the next day my legs were so sore it felt great!! i love these shoes, definetely reccomend them but before you go out and complain that they hurt, make sure you know how to use them! thanks for listenng

    • Emma T.

      First of all…Sketchers are NOT for EVERYONE. It depends on how you’re built…i’m a 15 year old highschool student, and absolutly love the shape ups…Im also very athletic (lacrosse, cross counrty, volleyball, soccer…) but have severe back problems. These shoes have helped so much! And even though i can’t wear them during any game…they help. I have an aquaintence who is overweight, not athletic, has poor posture and is the same age as me…and she thinks they’re the worst shoes in the world…this shows that the Sketchers Shape ups are NOT for everyone…so watch what you buy…it makes a difference.

    • Jessica

      I love them!!!!!!! I am severly overweight and I have been walking for about 3 months. I could only walk a short distance because my lower back would hurt so bad. Now I bought the shape-ups I can walk much further without the back pain. I also notice that my calfs and thighs tingle or burn more when I am walking. This has been great in helping me start my journey in losing ALOT of weight.

      • Sharon

        Way to go Jessica !! Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your comment.

    • Tim O

      I have a fused left ankle and a fused right big toe and have gone through dozens of shoes in the last few years (including professional orthopedics) trying to find something I could be on my feet most of the day in. A year ago, I aggravated something around my fused ankle and had such severe shin splints that I had to get the crutches out again. After several months of this, I bought a pair of these shoes and was back walking normally within a week. I bought another pair and have been using them every day at work and home.
      I don’t know about muscle toning or weight loss (I haven’t lost any weight) but I can’t recommend highly enough trying these if you have ankle or foot problems. A friend has plantar fascitis and he has found alot of relief from using these as well. The soft rockered sole seems to minimize ankle movement while still allowing a normal walking motion which is probably why these work well for me. With the fused ankle, I previously had a pronounced limp but now have an almost normal gate which I would presume will lead to less wear and tear on my other joints with time. Considering my ankle was fused due to arthritis (induced by a motorcycle accident) I would not agree that people with arthritis shouldn’t try these.

    • Donna

      Now I don’t know whether to get a pair, or not – the reviews are SO mixed! Some people are saying they cure back pain and others are saying they cause it!

    • Laura

      I love my sketchers shape ups! I brought them a few days ago. I almost fell over in them the first time i put them on but once I managed to get my posture right they were perfect! Also just standing up for about 20 minutes I could feel my calves were burning like I’d been working out for a long time.

    • Valerie

      I bought my skechers shape ups due to plantar fasciitis and back pain. So far I find them to be very comfortable and my foot feels much better. I don’t care about toning or any of that but a shoe that is comfortable is important and so far I can wear them all day and not have any foot discomfort.

    • Kyle

      WOW, i’m actually surprised to see how uneducated people are on posture, gate and overall walking/running form. These shape ups and other gimmicky shoes are not the answers to your problems people. Shoes do not solve chronic pain, instead they offset it, only to set you up for new and worse pain later down the road. The immediate enjoyment you are experiencing is not a long term solution.

      INSTEAD: look into ways to improve your posture, strengthen your muscles (the real way) and possibly lose some weight. Please educate yourselves on the barefoot movement and learn why shoes (and the corporations behind them) have done more to cause your problems then correct them.

    • Suzanne

      I too have plantar fisciits and bought a generic version of these shoes and love them. Once I started wearing them- even just a few days a week, and wearing them when walking for exercise- no more foot pain! I don’t play racquetball in them well :) but love to walk in them.

    • Sekret

      I am wondering how well these shape ups will fare for a diabetic individual. If anyone has any experience with these shoes for a diabetic person, please respond. Diabetics have foot problems, swelling and poor circulation, and I just am curious if these shoes could help relieve the foot pain and circulation. Thanks!

      • Duane

        I am Diabetic and have been wearing Shape-ups for a few years now. Shortly after I started wearing them, my feet started hurting and my Dr. th0ught it was Diabetic Neuropathy and prescribed drugs for that problem. The drugs didn’t help. I am fortunate in that where I work, I can take most of the month of December off and just this last December (2011) I didn’t wear the Shape-ups at all. After three weeks, my feet stopped hurting. When I went back to work in January, I started wearing the Shape-ups again and my foot pain returned. I have stopped wearing them for two days now (1-20-2012) and my feet have stopped hurting again. You decide what the cause is, but I don’t think I am going to wear the Shape-ups again.

    • Samm8860

      Lazy people???….How about people who dont have hours per day to work out? I am a nurse and I love my shape ups. I think I am getting more from this shoe in everyday use than I have from any other. My back and glutes are tighter now, just from wearing them at work. And furthemore, ugly?…I think not. I’ve had other nurses ask me where I bought them, cuz they think they are cute!

    • Rhona

      I love them so much. My feet used to ache so much, not anymore. I also get a lo of comments on how good my legs look. I really do feel they work.

    • Faye Green

      I have seen sketchers for $80 bucks and higher at Sears and passed on them

      for almost a whole year. I went to ross 6/5 Wednesday at Ross ‘dress for

      less’ store for $38 bucks I purchased shape-ups shoes ‘slip resistant’ walkers

      in black (was $95 bucks). They feel comfortable and relieve the heel and ball

      of foot pain plus it also relieves the achiness in the sacrum/illiac area.

      I have uneven hip (one side is higher than the other, it’s genetic) and it affects the sacrum.

      some days i am stiff and have a hard time straightening up and i am 48yrs

      old. I walk 3 times a week and that sometimes agravates it.

      I really think this will help ease the achiness for me.

      I love my job, working in a fun jewelry store ( fun jewelry and sterling silver),

      we also sell hand made bags made from the tall grasses in Cambodia, hats an other pvc hand bags.

    • Tanya Atkins

      I have been wearing these shoes for about two years now. I have uneven pelvis, plus I have arthritis in lower back , both hips, and knees. I couldn’t even lift 20 lbs anymore because my back and joints hurt. All most immediately when I started wearing these shoes everything felt better. My posture was better, my legs no longer keep me awake hurting all night. I am on concrete all day and at 58 I would ache all over. Not anymore. I love these shoes. I have several pair now. I hate wearing anything else because i know I will start aching all over. Not only that but after a short period of time I could once again lift 50 lbs with no problem. My back had actually strengthen from wearing these shoes. They might not be for everyone but for people standing on concrete all day in a plant the results are just phenomenal.

    • Tamara

      I am considering buying a pair of Skechers shape ups for all the noted benefits.

      But would like to know if anyone has any arch issues. “Sagging” or low arches causes major pain. Got custom supports and they seemto work fine for now. Also have arthritis in one big toe. Not too bad… yet!

      I already have 3 pair of Skechers Sport “D’ Lites” slip-ons – no laces. They are extremely comfortable! Even without the inserts. So I thought I’d buy the “Shape-Ups XF-Goddess ” at for $60.

      Any comments – especially from those who have problems with their arches – are welcome! Thanks!

    • BJ

      Plantar fasciitis was killing me, as I’m on my feet all day long. I suffered so much for years and had to take pain and anti inflamatories regularly. Then, I discovered these shoes and I haven’t stopped wearing them since. I will never give them up willingly. They may not work to keep you in shape, and they sure aren’t attractive; but they took my heel pain away and I am so very grateful.

    • paula

      i bought some sketcher shoes in 2010 and has worn them a few times you, know the ones with the thick sole. i havent worn them since because i was not satisfied with the shoes. there were no results like on tv. so the shoes are just sitting in the closet. can i still return them.

    • Connie

      I love the Sketcher sandals! I bought two pairs earlier this year. They are not only stylish, but also comfortable. The bonuses of wearing these shoes has outweighed any shoes I’ve ever owned. They have truly shaped, and firmed my bottom. I wish they would come out with a shoe that tones the tummy next.

    • skechers fan

      i use them . Have to say i dont like walking in normal shoes any more. Ever since i started using shape ups my back is not hurting as much and my sciatica dont hurt as much as it used to. Call me lazy i dont mind, i dont use them thinking ill lose weight walking with them or my behind will be better, i have used them for a couple of years now and i dont see me change to a normal sneaker. But you are all after skechers shape up’s, Reebook, puma, and a lot of others are making shoes like this and i remember way back there was a shoe with same kinda way of walking like the skechers and even podiatrist was selling them under the slogan : supports your back and make you walk like you was ment to, but guess that was ok since that wasnt a skechers?

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