Reebok Easy Tone Shoes

Posted 3 August 2011

Do you think that a product like Reebok Easy Tone Shoes can tone your legs and buttocks while walking around and wearing them? The claims just seemed to be too implausible. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

I laid a complaint with the ASA on 22 July 2011 and wrote:


An advert was flighted on MNET at 08:40 pm on 21 July 2011 for the above product. The advert claims that wearing these shoes will tone up one’s legs and buttocks. These claims do not sound possible and although Reebok claims to have evidence to support these claims, my research finds otherwise. 

Indeed, in a report published on 12 November 2010, it states “American Council on Exercise (ACE) Research Study Finds Toning Shoes Fail to Deliver on Fitness Claims” 

I quote the article:

“Independent Study by Fitness Industry Leader, in Conjunction with University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Concludes Few Fitness Benefits from Toning Shoes


SAN DIEGO, July 21 /PRNewswire/ — The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading authority on fitness and the largest non-profit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world, today released the findings from an independent research study on the effectiveness of popular toning shoes including Skechers Shape-Ups, MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) and Reebok EasyTone. The study, one of the first from an independent organization, enlisted a team of researchers from the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and found no evidence to suggest that the shoes help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone. 

“Toning shoes appear to promise a quick-and-easy fitness solution, which we realize people are always looking for,” says ACE’s Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “Unfortunately, these shoes do not deliver the fitness or muscle toning benefits they claim. Our findings demonstrate that toning shoes are not the magic solution consumers were hoping they would be, and simply do not offer any benefits that people cannot reap through walking, running or exercising in traditional athletic shoes.” 

To test the toning shoes’ effectiveness and evaluate their claims, a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, led by John Porcari, Ph.D., John Greany, Ph.D., Stephanie Tepper, M.S., Brian Edmonson, B.S. and Carl Foster, Ph.D., designed a pair of studies to evaluate the exercise responses and muscle activation that take place while walking with toning shoes versus traditional athletic shoes. Researchers enlisted 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 19 to 24 years, for the exercise response study, during which they completed a dozen five-minute exercise trials of walking on a treadmill while wearing each type of shoe, including the toning sneakers Skechers Shape-Ups, MBT and Reebok’s EasyTone, and traditional New Balance running shoes. To evaluate muscle activation, researchers recruited a second group of 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 21 to 27 years, who performed similar five-minute treadmill trials and were measured for muscle activity in six muscle areas: calves, quads, hamstrings, buttocks, back and abs. 

All three toning shoes tested showed no statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during the treadmill trials, when compared to the normal athletic shoes tested. There was simply no evidence to indicate that the toning shoes offer any enhanced fitness benefits over traditional sneakers, despite studies cited by manufacturers seemingly “proving” the toning shoes’ effectiveness. Bryant warns consumers to be wary of such studies sponsored by manufacturers, many of which are not peer-reviewed and may be of questionable design. ACE’s study also addresses anecdotal evidence consumers have shared indicating that they feel the shoes are working their muscles due to localized muscle soreness. Study researchers explain that this feeling is due to the shoe’s unstable sole design, which cause wearers to use slightly different muscles to maintain balance than they would while wearing normal shoes, resulting in temporary soreness that will subside as the body adjusts to the shoe. 

“There may be one positive effect these shoes offer,” continues Bryant. “The motivation factor. If these shoes are serving as a motivator for individuals to walk or get moving more often, that is a good thing, even if they don’t produce the dramatic toning and calorie-burning results people think they are getting.” Bryant goes on to add that “it is important to note that, based on the results of this study, it appears that consumers can more economically achieve the same results wearing normal running shoes.” 

ACE’s study also raised a couple of questions, one positive the other negative: will wearing toning shoes improve balance over time? Or do they alter an individual’s walking gait mechanics, potentially causing problems for those who are already at risk for lower-extremity issues? Evaluating both of these issues would require additional in-depth research. 

A full summary of the study’s findings can be found on ACE’s “Get Fit” website, designed to inform, inspire, educate and motivate people to become fit and lead a healthier, more active lifestyle, located at 

About ACE
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s premier certification, education and training organization, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE website at

SOURCE American Council on Exercise”


This is reported in a second publication:


All toning shoe brands (Skecher Shape-Ups, Reebok EasyTone, MBT, etc.) say they have studies that prove that their shoes tone more muscles and help burn more calories. But now the American Council on Exercise sponsored a completely independent study to test these claims.  And the results are: no difference from a good pair a regular New Balance running shoes. 

The research team included John Porcari, John Greany, Ph.D., StephanieTepper, M.S., Brian Edmonson, B.S., and Carl Foster, Ph.D.  They made two studies.  One focused on calorie burning while walking three to 3.5 miles per hour on a treadmill, with and without incline, and one on muscle activation for all of the muscles the toning shoes say they tone (hamstrings, glutes, abs, quads, etc.) 

There was no statistical difference between calorie burning or muscle activation with the New Balance regular running shoes, Skechers Shape-Ups, Reebok EasyTone, and MBT shoes. 

The conclusion reported in their online report ( "Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone."


I wrote: "It therefore appears that there is insufficient evidence to confirm that the claims for this product is true, and therefore the claims are misleading. I therefore ask the ASA to take action against this advert."

The ASA asked the respondent, Reebok, for a response to my complaint against their advertising.

This is the response the ASA received:


We are in receipt of your letter dated 1 August 2011. We are no longer flighting this advert in South Africa and therefore this investigation may be redundant.

As a leading fitness and athletic brand, Reebok has a long history of developing new and innovative technologies, and we stand behind all of our products. We are proud of EasyTone's unique balance ball-inspired technology, and consumer feedback for the product has been overwhelmingly positive.

Please advise as to whether you would like to pursue the matter any further.

Your Faithfully
Shannon Bouwer
PR & Communications Manager

Boy, talk about spin! 

The facts are simply this: there is no evidence that Reebok Easy Tone Shoes can tone your buttocks and legs. In fact, the evidence is that it does not!

Ask for your money back, and if the store will not, lay a complaint with the CPA (Consumer Protection Agency)

Update: See

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