Top Toning Shoes

Rocker Soles or Instability Shoes

The toning shoe craze came to an end by 2013, following settlements and refunds by major marketers for ad claims that their shoes helped tone the legs and buttocks. The designs used rocker-soles or instability pods to either force the foot into a greater range of motion with each stride or are unstable so the body has to keep balancing constantly.

With a toning shoe, it is still important to look for basic elements of walking shoe performance. The shoe must fit your foot correctly so your foot isn't sliding around in the shoe. For performance walking, the shoe must still be flat, flexible relatively lightweight. Many toning shoes fail on those criteria. Some lines are disappearing fast, so if you love them, shop now.


ABEO R.O.C.S Aubrey
ABEO R.O.C.S Aubrey. The Walking Company

ABEO R.O.C.S. smartly doesn't market their rocker-soled shoes as toning shoes, but as comfort shoes. After liquidating the remaining stock of MBT shoes in the USA, they debuted this line in 2013. They are lightweight shoes despite having a very thick sole. As toning shoe lines are phased out, walkers who became fans of rocker-bottom shoes needed a new source. If you are one of those people, give ABEO R.O.C.S. a try-on. They come in a variety of colors and styles.



Nike Free Run+ shoes simulate barefoot walking with an ultra-flexible sole. This gives your foot an extra workout, so they recommend building up time in the shoe. They are lightly cushioned and shouldn't be worn for distance walking, although some people wear them on six-mile (10K) walks. Unlike the heavier types of toning shoes, these are very lightweight and can be worn all day for lifestyle walking and shorter workouts. Oprah agrees and once added them to her Favorite Things list.


FitFlops have a microwobbleboard in the sole to provide a little bit of instability to activate the muscles. The effect pleasant and you can wear them for a variety of purposes. They have a few slingback designs, with a heel strap, you can even do a brisk walking workout in them. They also have many flip flop designs, which might be nice for the instability effect but which are not good for fitness walking.


While some people think rocker bottom shoes look weird, they haven't begun to see weird until they spy someone wearing the foot-shaped (with toes) Vibram FiveFingers. They are flexible to give the freedom of barefoot walking, but with the protection of a Vibram sole. The theory is that they will help people with balance. They come in several styles. Our reviewer says they converted him into a walker, he loves them so much. They also faced a settlement over health claims, but they are still on the market for those who love them.


RYN makes rocker-soled toning shoes with a difference. Unlike the instability built into shoes such as Skechers Shape-ups, the RYN shoes are stable rocker shoes. The rocker sole leads you through a wider range of motion in your walking step while also enforcing good walking posture. I liked the wide toe box, and they have extra depth to accommodate orthotics. RYN shoes have high-quality construction and a higher price point than many toning shoe designs.


Skechers Shape-Ups defined the toning shoe market. While other designs had been kicking around, Skechers popularized them. They survived a round of settlements and recalls over their advertising claims. As survivors with a dedicated clientele, they continue to add different designs. Some of the new models are not as heavy as the original designs, which were far too heavy. They are super-cushioned and feel great. But our readers have had highly variable results, some blaming them for muscle aches and even injuries. Others say they work as advertised. They remain a popular rocker-soled shoe for those who swear by that design.


The Reebok EasyTone and SimplyTone shoes have instability pods under the heel, forefoot and toe of the shoe, to promote more muscle activation. Some prefer this design compared to any rocker bottom shoe, but they are less flexible than a performance walking shoe should be. There are both good and bad walker reviews for them. They have been discontinued but you can still find them in various places.


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