Flip Flops to Shape Up

I purchased some new bedazzled flip-flops before heading to California.  While I don’t normally talk about the technology of footwear my achy feet are prompting me to write this post.

The manufacturer of these shoes sells them in the effort of pointing out to the consumer that they will help you exercise and shape up your legs.  I own the big brother to these sandals – black tennis shoes.  I get lots of questions from people as to whether or not they really do shape up my legs.  I have no scientific proof, but I can tell you my legs are a bit more sore (in a good way) when I walk in the tennis shoes, than I do in my regular non-shape up shoes.

The difference in the flip-flops and the tennis shoes are the soles.  The tennis shoes are arched – forcing me to (who is blessed with flat feet) walk correctly.  This has been a blessing not because the shoes actually shape my calves better, but because they allow me to walk for a greater distance.  My feet don’t hurt and I can actually walk the next day.

The flip-flops, other than being beautiful, don’t have the same sole style.  They are just the traditional wedge.  This made it harder for me to keep them on my feet.  I wore special socks I purchased in India to avoid blisters – that seemed to be a great idea as my feet did have signs that they would have had some nasty ones before the end of the day and placing my week in California in jeopardy.

At first I would have told you these flip-flops failed where the shoes excelled – but I can tell you after walking around all day yesterday in them, my calves were just as sore as if I had worn my tennis shoes.  But the big difference – my feet hurt – not to the point of being unable to walk the next day – but they just didn’t have the support my poor feet needed.

What does all of this have to do with technology?  Well I think it is important for researchers who work on new footwear to be able to track truth.  I wonder, where is their proof that these shoes alone shaped up the consumers?  Was it just enough that the advertisers did a good job in creating a buzz and therefore the individuals who bought the shoes felt that just wearing them to walk would be magical?  Then they walked more because it would help them shape up – and that fact of walking made the difference?

CNBC feel that this marketing ploy has found a recession proof product.  This could be true since people will try to find cheaper ways to entertain themselves and the cost of the shoe ($110-150 for sneakers, $40-80 for flip-flops) is much less than a gym membership.  In any case – I would like to see some form of proof or analysis that backs up their claims, that the shoes are the reason for the additional health benefit and not just the fact that people get out and use them more.

However, in my case, the sneakers or tennis-style shoes really do help, I can walk longer with the arched shoes and don’t pay for it the next week.  So it isn’t the shoe that makes my legs look better, but the fact that I will walk further because of them.

That may be the truth in advertising I am looking to find.

Tonight I promise to blog more on my trip to California for the NMC conference – but I had to get the flip-flop story out of my brain so I could focus.

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