Skechers “Shape Ups” Shoes - Do They Work?

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If you’ve visited a Skechers retail store or flipped through a health magazine in the last six months you may have noticed a funny looking shoe called Shape Ups hitting the weight loss marketplace.

[Nothing makes me feel more comfortable then walking barefoot.]

According to Skechers, Shape Ups were designed to promote weight loss, firm calf and butt muscles, improve posture and strengthen your back with several styles and colors available for men and women.

Now it’s not often weight loss and fashion are combined into one tangible product but during a recent visit to a Skechers retail store I decided to give these bad boys a try because you can never have enough butt muscles, right?

First impressions

My first impression upon picking up one of these bricks, I mean shoes, was the actual weight. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to wear these shoes or curl them for ten reps? 12-hole Doc Marten’s would feel like a pair of socks in comparison. The kinetic wedge insert and a rolling bottom are intended to simulate walking barefoot on the sand.

Taking one step at a time

I laced them up and instantly felt sorry for Ronald McDonald and all the other clowns who have to endure a clunky shoe feeling. But I forged ahead! Taking a couple of strolls around the store I could feel it working my calves and the arches of my feet in a physiotherapy-type-of-way. If you’ve ever tried “foam rolling” or kicked around one of those wooden massage rollers under your desk then you know what I’m talking about.

I definitely had to concentrate on keeping my balance but I wasn’t sure if this was because of the weight of the shoes or the exaggerated arch of the sole? As for posture, I didn’t feel much of a difference but then again I consciously think about my body position when seated or standing.

Weight Loss Shoes Not Included
[Frankenstein called and he wants his shoes back! Kidding...]

Survey Says?

Personally, I couldn’t stand the clunky orthopedic feeling. If you’re comfortable in wearing these shoes then be my guest, but if you think the pounds are going to fly off, I think you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Skip the shoes and try this instead

Some of the my favorite lower body exercises include dumbbell swings and squats but I like to keep things fresh with outdoor activities like stair-climbing and interval sprints as well.

But if you’re looking for ways to firm up those calf and butt muscles specifically, then I suggest you check out the bodyweight butt exercise video below from fitness expert and author of the Turbulence Training program, Craig Ballantyne. - Psst, we reviewed his program here

Don’t worry ladies, these butt exercises will allow you to tighten up a trouble spot in the comfort of your own home.

Exercise is always a good option for keeping your body strong and youthful, but if you’re strictly looking to lose weight, you can’t out exercise a bad diet.

Take a look at the free video from Jeff and Isabel about their now famous Diet Solution Program.  It has a huge following at the moment, so take a peek —- >>> HERE


  1. Bill B. says:

    Saw these the other day at a department store… I think they’re pretty silly. Couldn’t wear them if you paid me.

  2. Shannon says:

    I love shoes but could never see myself wearing these. Not fashionable at all:(

  3. sangita says:

    Nice to come here and read 4-5 posts all at once! Does the advt mention that you have to actually walk quite a bit to lose weight. I mean its not like you can just wear them and sit around and voila!! you have a trim butt! And if you are walking a lot it would’nt matter what shoes you wore you would still lose weight right? Just my two cents!

  4. Mike says:

    The advertising is pretty basic. I don’t recall seeing any walking estimates to achieve a “trim butt”.

    You’re right sangita. Shoes are secondary to adequate amounts of walking.

  5. Jared says:

    i’ve used these shoes and have noticed great results. my back is stronger and they are great to warm up and stretch muscle after a run. In response the amount of time needed for the results, it says clearly in the info pack one hour a day will increase back strength by 37% in a six week period.

  6. Stanford Bicknese says:

    Interesting post. Continue to logging more great publications. There are lots ways to eliminate weight. With the worsening economy individuals are pursuing for many ways to slim down.

  7. Emmy says:

    I tried the shoes for the first time today. I thought they were a gimmick myself and quite ugly. Once you’ve walked in them though, you never want to take them off! And I took a walk along the street and I did feel my calves, my legs and thighs work and when I changed back to my shoes, oh my goodness did I feel the difference in my posture!
    No they are not hard to balance on, it’s like walking on pillows. I love them! Now if only they were a little cheaper because I have to admit, they were an impulse purchase.

  8. Meg says:

    I’m extremely active and consider myself fit, so I didn’t pick up a pair of these shoes (actually, a much, much cheaper knock-off, feels the same as the “real thing”) to magically shape my legs, or. . . whatever. They’re definitely not a miracle product, but they do vastly reduce my knee pain when I’m working at my department store job.

  9. Booboogm says:

    I’ve looked at these shoes several times, seriously debating on whether or not to buy them. I eventually decided to buy a pair of Rockport walking shoes. I have to agree that the appearance of these “Shape Ups” were of concern, but ultimately the cost is what changed my mind.

  10. Lori says:

    I purchased the real thing (expensive I know) but they are fantastic. I didnt realize I should start slow with wearing them so day one I had them on for about 12 hours - so my legs and back were a bit sore the next day. But you feel so nice wearing them. But a warning - be careful going up stairs.

    I bought the black ones - they arent too funny looking.

  11. Melissa says:

    I bought a pair of these shoes and honestly, I have no idea what the author is talking about when she says they are heavy. They feel just as heavy as any normal shoe. In fact, I was surprised at how light they feel in comparison to how heavy they look.
    I can definitely feel my legs have been worked at the end of the day. And when I walk longer distances, I can feel my entire leg muscles working hard and it feels great. I’m on my feet all day at work, and after an 8 hour work day my feet ALWAYS hurt. But since wearing my Shape-Ups my feet feel perfectly fine at the end of the day, which is worth it to me! They are super comfortable, and I personally like they way they look (and have been complimented many times at how “cute” my shoes are.).
    I wouldn’t expect someone to lose a ton of weight wearing these, but to those who don’t really need to lose tons of pounds and just want to tone up, I think these are a great investment.

  12. Carolyn says:

    I liked the feel of these shoes. I walked alot before I purchase these so I did not feel any soreness at all. The problem is I almost twisted my ankle and fell really hard while wearing these shoes outside. I am facing surgery from a broken left finger in the morning and it’s all because of these shoes. I would not recommend these due to the potential of falling and possibly breaking a bone. My Dr even said ” God did not give us rounded feet on the bottom for a reason”. I’m just saying………. Oh by the way my sister in law from NJ twisted her ankle while wearing these same type shoes and has been suffering for some time now.

    I’d like to hear from others that may have had falls from wearing these shoes.

  13. Susan says:

    I thought they would be a good way to ramp up walking. I’m 64 fit (swim and walk a lot). My first outing was great — I loved the way my legs felt. Second outing was going well, when all of a sudden ankle twisted & I fell down harder than ever in my life. (luckily for me, just a lot of soreness and brusing, but nothing too bad). Never will I wear them again.

  14. Terry M. Wiseacre says:

    I love the great content here and useful resources. I have tried Skecher shape ups and now I prefer not wear anything else. They have straightened my posture and my niggling back problems. I feel more fitter and am still testing them for other health benefits

  15. Barbara says:

    I purchased these shoes to help me get back to walking. I’m quite overweight and regular sports shoes were not supporting my feet - I had a lot of pain. Well, the foot pain went away immediately, and I was very enthusiastic, until one day when the wobbliness of the shoes made my right leg twist rather badly at the knee in a lateral direction. Since then I’ve had major pain in my knee, and I now walk with a cane and knee brace. Exercise of any kind is out of the question for a while. I must add that both my knees were torn up badly when I was in my mid-twenties, doing sports, and so there was a real weakness there already. I would not recommend these shoes for someone with a similar knee condition, it’s too easy to twist sideways like I did. However, if your knees are strong I think you’ll like them.

  16. Jennifer Schlein Bryant says:

    I’ld feel alot less stupid saying I was drunk and tripped. But that would be a big fat lie. I was walking to me car in my new sketcher shape- ups singing a song and rolled my right ankle. It broke and I fell on my left ankle. The left one then wobbled, rolled & twisted under my weight and figured it might as well break also. Just my luck. I gotta laugh or I’m just gonna start crying again. 5 1/2 weeks in and im going crazy. cast on one leg, boot on the other. tired of staring at these same 4 walls. not 1 ankle, but BOTH. how did i get soo lucky? I would not recommend these shoes to my worst enemy.

  17. Donna Caldwell says:

    I bought these shoes with aspirations of walking the 2.5 miles to work and back everyday. I noticed an immediate posture change for the better when I put them on. My first day out was great but I seemed to be prone to catching the edge of the shoe and tripping quite a bit. On the 3rd day out as I was crossing the street I tripped and fell hard and fractured my wrist. After 2 hours of surgery with the addition of a titanium plate and now 6-8 weeks of recovery, I will not be a skechers shape ups spokesperson. I hope I can get a refund.

  18. Mr whiskers says:

    I don’t really care if I am a fat slob. Personally I think the extra excerise is a gimmick but I have to say I feel like walking on a cloud with these things. Funny thing is that I have always had back pain when I excerise but I noticed a great reduction in back pain and joint pain with the shoes. I actually felt very stable in the shoes. For all these reasons I recommend the shoes.

  19. Nancy Albro says:

    I purchased a pair of the Skecher tone up sandals. When I put them on I thought wow, these are really comfortable. On the second day I was wearing them, I rolled my right ankle, fell hard and got two fractures in my right foot. I now have a boot and crutches, am off of work, can’t drive and am going crazy. As comfortable as they sandals are, I will not wear them again. I thought about calling Skechers and asking for a refund. If anyone has gotten one, please post.

  20. Ray P Burriss says:

    Never have I wore such an amazing shoe. Because of my job, I stand on my feet from 6-12 hrs. a day and I walk at least 5 miles a day. I’m 73, lift weights and am in good shape, but wear them mostly for comfort, but don’t know if they do what they state since I’m already in good shape. Will never wear “regular” shoes again for work.

  21. e sauerer says:

    Bought the Sketcher shape ups for walking, I walk 30 Min. a Day in less then 1/2 hour.These Shoes feel like walking on Pillows, whereas all my other walking Shoes make my Feet burn on the Bottom.Love what they do to my Posture.I even jog a little. I’m 67.

  22. ROBERT DENNEN says:

    I purchased a pair of shapeups and have never been as happy with a pair of shoes as I have with these,I have bad feet and have been to the foot doctor had shots in both feet twice that did not work, The shape-ups took awhile to get used too but once I did my feet do not hurt when I wear them if I could wear them to bed I would but my wife says no, If they were cheaper I would buy five pair in case they stop making them.

  23. Brenda says:

    I bought a pair of shape ups and I cant wear them I seem to have a ahrd time balancing in these.
    I actually fell after stepping on a rock and they flipped me off my feet. Not what I call a good shoe.

  24. I really don’t like these shoes. I do however love the Vibram Five Fingers. I just bought a pair this weekend and so far so great. Its going to take some getting used to for my body to adjust but I am looking forward it to. i’d say stay away from the shape-ups at all costs.

  25. Sandra says:

    I thought that these were really helping me tone up, until I fell and fractured my wrist. I lost my balance walking on the street and going up a curb. I have never done such a klutzy thing in my life and totally blame these shoes. Please be careful!

  26. Rinky Dink says:

    In response to comment 12: I had a fall wearing these shoes walking on a flat surface. My ankle turned and I broke it, and I sprained the other ankle. Also messed up my elbow, hand, and knee. I consider them dangerous.

  27. Raquel says:

    I bought a pair of these last week and loved them for the first few days. Then, two days ago as I was walking to my bus stop, my right andkle twisted and I fell on the sidewalk really hard. I am laying in bed as I type this with a still very swollen and hideously bruised shin propped up on a pillow, not to mention the pain I am in! I feel awful that these sneakers were so expensive and have done nothing but cause me this very painful injury. Ofcourse, the store where I bought them only accepts returns on unworn shoes so I cannot get my money back for them. I guess I’ll just use them as paperweights.

  28. Rhonda says:

    I bought a pair on sale - I love them!! I picked a pair of the suede furry clogs and once I slipped them on my feet I was in love, they were light and I wear them to the office every day. I noticed for the first time in years, I have no knee pain. I have flat feet, so my knees and hips joints can cause me pain and I noticed the other day..none and I have had no pain in either joint since I’ve been wearing the shoes. I’m going to buy the brown suede ones tomorrow. I haven’t noticed weight loss or my legs shaping up but being pain free is wonderful.

  29. Marty says:

    I got a pair last Feb. I have had 2 bad falls and no longer use them the last fall took me to the ER and off work for 3 weeks. The first fall I went to my Dr because I had blood in my urine after I fell.

  30. Bharat Godha says:

    I bought the shoes and waited almost a month before daring to wear the Sketchers shape up shoes. I had some weared feeling about them. But after one month or so, I decide to wear the shoes. I life the feel and everything was good for the first week. In second week I felt little pain in my ankle, however I continued. In mid of third week, one morning both of my ankles were swollen and jamed. I applied hot and cold pack for almost two hours before I could walk. I stopped wearing those shoes. Since then both of my ankels have swelling, its 6th week and cursing them for making such shoes.
    I would NEVER recommend these shoes.

  31. Deb Coles says:

    I bought a pair of Shape-ups believing that they would help with my chronic aches & pains I have in the lower part of me body. I was served at the shoe store by a Sketchers rep. I took them home & tried them for 3-4 weeks - my pain got worse! I called Sketchers in Canada & was told that you shouldn’t get them if you have any “pre-existing medical conditions” - not told that by the rep that served me that day! I was told they would give me another pair of shoes if mine are defective! I sent them to them, but am waiting to hear back from them. I talked to my osteopath about them (after I bought them, of course!) - he said they are horrible.
    I would NOT recommend buying them & if I don’t get satisfaction, would recommend not buying Sketcher products if they don’t stand behind their products!

  32. greg says:

    I bought a pair on sale – I love them!! Once I put them on my feet, they felt soft and light. I spend 12 hours a day 5 days a week on my feet working on jet aircraft. I noticed for the first time in years, I have no more knee pain and my feet no longer feel tired and sore after a 12 hour shift. I’m going to buy the another pair tomorrow. I don’t know about weight loss or my legs shaping up but being pain free is wonderful. I wear them all the time, except for running, I still perfer my New Balance shoes for that.

  33. maggie says:

    I bought a pair of shape ups 6 weeks ago. I have trouble finding comfortable shoes for walking. They have been very comfrtable but I have a real concern about their safety. I am a healthy senior who walks a lot. Walking along a sidewalk I stepped on an uneven spot and went headlong forward in a split second. This happened twice to me in a very short time. The second time I realized it was my shoes. The store where I bought them won’t take ownership of the problem. I have no balance issues and I have never fallen like this before. I am still wearing them but am cautious of where I step. I am not sure they should be selling these shoes.

  34. chris b says:

    maybe if you’re thin and in shape these won’t be beneficial to you, but for an overweight person they’re great-I tried them out in a store the other day and they actually made walking a pleasant springy feeling experience with plenty of arch support-as soon as I have some spare cash I’m getting them!

  35. Kelly F. says:

    I bought 2 pairs of these about a year ago. I had one for work as I walked all day on concrete floors. The other pair I bought for every day. My feet never felt so good. I do really love them. However the concern of others about falling is true. You must get used to the height of these shoes. I have caught the shoe on flat surface just not picking up my feet properly. I also had a fall a week ago where I stepped into a hole and lost my balance. Now I think this would have happened with any shoe, but I wound up with a severe sprain that I am still nursing. I think that the height of the shoe definitely caused the sprain to be much worse! I have done some research and that seems to be the case. But as ladies we have to think that high heels cause the same problem. The higher the heel the more serious the fall! I think that is what we have to think about with sketchers. I will continue wearing them because I do think they are a great shoe as far as comfort goes. I really don’t care about the toning part! I just feel that if you are not comfortable with a high heel, you should think twice about this shoe.

  36. sandra m says:

    Wow! What a lot of great info. I wish I had read this prior to purchasing my first pair. I did find them comfortable and as a busy nurse when I had to get from one pt to another I did feel like I was wearing roller skates. They do feel weird as if the high heel of a shoe is under your arch instead of your heel, but I thought that once I got passed that everything would be great. However; the first time I fell was in my neighbor’s lawn, (the first thing she said was “are you ok, please don’t sue me). The second time I fell was on a busy Chicago Downtown Gold Coast sidewalk on my way to work. The third time I fell was crossing a busy Chicago street (think I would’ve learned my lesson by now). By the fourth time (and yes the last time) it was a matter of principle that I would conquer these damn shoes! To no avail, busy day at work come around a corner, ankle rolled and thumb jambed and fractured. There was also water there, hmm slip or roll? Not sure, but at work workman’s comp, wheww. Now check out all the lawsuits against the shoes!

  37. Charlie Quinn says:

    I bought them because I *always* buy Sketchers, I think they’re the most comfy runners available. Because I didn’t buy them for any weight loss reasons, I am actually pleasently surprised!

    The shoes really only work on your calf muscles, but seriously, after 3 months, my calves are like frickin ROCKS! It’s nothing major in the scheme of your body (I still have a fat arse, fat thighs and fat tummy), but my calves are really rockin’!

  38. Pat Passio says:

    I wore skeechers shape ups, followed all the instructions, watched the video…and did the stretching exercises…
    I wore them most of the time..always gave me pain but in the spots that they said they are good for, so I thought well these shoes must be working.BEWARE!!! MY knees began to have so much pain in them that I couldn’t stand it…An MRI revealed lots of tears, too many to mention and bone on bone..never fell, no reason for all of sudden these problems…I couldn’t believe it, I took off the shoes and realized it was those shape ups…All I can Tell u is throw them away..they put repetative stress on those areas and wear them down..I’m suffering for it today..

  39. travelling mémé says:

    my 2 sisters love them and convince me to by a pair i bought sandals to help my backpain i have for years since i wear them regularly my back pain is gone gone is it phycological i dont thik so !!!!!!

  40. Nancy Donner says:

    I bought these shoes and have worn them several times walking with my friend. Twice I have turned my ankle and almost hit the ground. My ankle was so sore I could hardly hobble around for a couple days. I’m not wearing these anymore!!!

  41. Barbara C. says:

    Last evening I fell and hurt myself for the second — and last time — with these shoes.

    They ARE comfortable for standing, but they are so heavy and misshapen that I spent my time and energy just trying to stay balanced, not getting any useful aerobic exercise.

    The first time I fell, about a month ago, I fell on my porch as I was turning around. Bruised my tailbone and twisted a knee. This last fall was on the street; just going straight ahead I lost my balance. I landed on the asphalt my face, right hand, and left foot. My face is swollen and I have a shiner, I can barely type with my right hand, and I can’t step on my left foot.

    I’ll NEVER wear these things again!

  42. Al J says:

    I’m 65 yrs of age and these are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. I guess if you’re not sure footed they could be hard to walk in but I love em.