I was shopping with some young friends one day, and since they knew I had a personal training background, they just had to show me these sneakers that supposedly gave you a workout without your doing anything! They were so excited, I did my best to keep my laughs to myself. We all tried on a pair, and indeed, they did interfere somewhat with walking stability. In their ad copy, these sneakers supposedly make your “butt” and leg muscles work by de-stabilizing your walking, forcing the muscles to compensate and thus exercising them.
Oh man, where do I start? First of all, athletic shoe companies are not really in the business of making your feet healthier. Instead, they are in a sort of arms race to differentiate their product from the many others available, as the competition is fierce. And if they can successfully do that and convince you to buy their shoe for exorbitant amounts of money, then they have succeeded. They also understand that there are many out there for whom getting the latest, cool product is very important for bragging rights. These people are ideal targets for faddish, but cleverly marketed products.
Speaking of psychology, shoe companies know that people want instant fitness with no work. This is a very silly idea, but plays into simple human nature. So that’s how they have tailored this ad campaign. Just walk around, and get a hot butt automagically!
In their promotional material, Reebok says that they have done studies showing that certain muscles are worked harder by some percent. You have to take their word for it, no independent research involved. Even if that is true, and there’s a bit more muscle stimulation, but if you simply want instability, why not just wear high-fashion shoes, and look way hotter while doing so?
I’ve been reading people’s comments about these, and they’re mostly excited by how comfortable they are, and this could differentiate them somewhat from high-fashion shoes. That’s great, and I like comfort too, but any comfortable sneaker would achieve this.
If they can get you to buy very expensive shoes repeatedly, even better for them. So durability is generally not in the offing for an expensive running shoe – it’s against their whole marketing philosophy. A Nike shoe that ranked with the most popular sports footwear of all time was discontinued. Why? Because they wanted to sell their newer products that would get a higher profit margin.