Reebok Easytones, pile of shite…

Excuse the language but I’ve just read some interesting news, it turns out that the Federal Trade Commission in the US have ruled that the claims made in Reebok advertising about their Easytone shoes are completely unsubstantiated. While the Reebok site seems to have removed any information about these shoes and the research they quoted, it went something like this:

  1. Use a small sample group of five people,
  2. Research how the unstable sole affects the actual use of the muscles while walking versus the effect of walking barefoot,
  3. Get the result that the calf muscles are put under 11% more stress and the butt muscles are put under 28% more stress,
  4. Don’t publish the results and certainly don’t submit them to peer review,
  5. Spin this result to say that the shoes will tone your calves and bum that much more than if you didn’t buy these overpriced shoes,
  6. Sell as an easy solution to give people sexy toned legs using some frankly ridiculous ads, and don’t let the lack of science bother you.

Some people do seem to think that they work but between the placebo effect of wanting to see results after spending that much money and being more mindful about walking briskly while wearing these shoes, the small improvements seen can easily be understood as one of those delightfully funny psychological phenomenon.

However there is so much more to this issue than just a pair of shoes. It’s the whole attitude to how we as a society treat the idea of health and fitness. Instead of talking about the need for a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise that raises your heartrate and makes you sweat, we’re sold lifestyle products by companies like Reebok and WeightWatchers. Great, if they work for you but chances are most of these products are yet another gimmick which is preventing you from actually addressing the issues of eating crap (guilty) and being lazy (guilty again), unmotivated or way too busy to make time for exercise.

What’s your opinion? Any thoughts?

More info here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/28/reebok-refunds-toning-shoes-watchdog

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/health/08well.html

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