MBT Shoes - Rocker Bottom

MBT Women's Jahi Sport (LE) Walking Shoe
MBT Women's Jahi Sport (LE) Walking Shoe. Courtesy of Amazon.com

MBT©, Masai Barefoot Technology shoes are designed to mimic the walking patterns of the Masai. The rocker bottom forces you to adopt correct upright posture and reduced forward lean, reducing strain on the lower back. The gait also uses the gluteal muscles more than regular shoes, toning and firming the buns. The rocker bottom forces you to roll through each step, reducing shocks to the foot. They were one of the first rocker bottom shoes on the market, before the toning shoe craze began.

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Advantages and Design of MBT Shoes

  • MBT©, Masai Barefoot Technology shoes come in a variety of styles including athletic shoes, dress shoes, comfort shoes and sandals, for both men and women.
  • The rocker bottom is designed to relax your standing position, straighten your vertebral column, and relieve your back, knee, pelvis, and feet.
  • Increases muscle activity in your gluteal muscles for extra toning.
  • MBT©, Masai Barefoot Technology mimics walking barefoot.
  • Many walkers have found rocker bottom shoes to be a solution for their foot pain. They were happy to see MBT shoes return to the market after a hiatus at the end of the toning shoe craze.


  • Wearing a stiff rocker bottom shoe will change your gait. You need to wear them only for brief periods at first and build up your wearing time until you get used to them.
  • High price.

Expert Review - MBT Walking Shoes

MBT©, Masai Barefoot Technology shoes look a bit strange.

The rocker bottom is the key to the design. A good walking shoe has a slight undercut to the heel, to assist walkers in rolling through each step from heel to toe. MBT shoes enforce that with a vengeance.

The company sponsored gait research to see what effects this has on walking. The results of the Sheffield Hallam University study seem to support claims that the shoes may help reduce lower back strain, as they force you to abandon forward lean and adopt a correct upright walking posture.

This also reduces strain on the knees and joints. Meanwhile, it increases the workout of the butt muscles - the gluteus maximus, and wearers report an increase in tone in their butt muscles.

The rocker bottom of the shoe enforces a roll-through of each step, which reduces transient peaks in ground reaction forces - in other words, it smooths out the shocks of each step. However, the shoes are heavier than many normal shoes and there is more of an overall impact with each step due to the weight. For those who have been trying to correct their walking posture or eliminate lower back pain, these shoes may be worth a try.

The company began producing MBT shoes in 1996, one of the earliest of what would come to be the toning shoe craze. They were known for their high quality shoes. When the toning shoe market crashed due to many companies making health claims for their shoes and having to pay settlements, MBT also left the market. But they returned at the end of 2013 and are now back with a full range of styles using their patented technology.

The shoes in general are lighter in weight since the relaunch of the brand, which is an improvement as the originals were very heavy. They also come in mesh as well as leather styles.

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Tim Vernon, et. al. "Changes in gait characteristics of a normal, healthy population due to an unstable shoe construction" The Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK. August, 2004.

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