Skechers Shape Ups Walking Shoes

Discontinued Rocker-Soled Shoes

Skechers Shape-Ups 2.0 Comfort Walking Shoes

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Skechers Shape Ups walking shoes were at the forefront of the toning shoe trend. They were very popular with walkers who appreciated them as comfort shoes. The rocker-sole design worked well for many people.

As of 2019, Skechers no longer produces any rocker-soled shoe designs and has no designs called Shape Ups.

Skechers Shape Ups Review

Skechers Shape Ups were similar to the Swiss Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoes, which was one of the original rocker-sole designs that aimed to activate and tone more muscles during daily activities or fitness walking. Skechers stressed that the Shape Ups had a soft kinetic wedge sole. This sole provided super shock absorption and a slightly unstable walking platform.

The rocker sole enforced a good heel-to-toe walking stride with a roll through the step. The extra rear extension exercised the leg and buttock muscles in new ways. Skechers recommended using Shape Ups only for shorter walks of 25 to 45 minutes per day until your body had adjusted to them. 

Skechers Shape Ups were often extremely comfortable right out of the box. The toe box was wide enough for people who had wide feet. The extra cushioning also made them a great shoe for people who stand for long periods each day, for whom cushioning and the slight instability might help prevent fatigue.

People with foot pain were very divided about Skechers Shape Ups. Fervent fans said these were the only shoes they could wear without pain. But others blamed rocker-soled shoes for their foot pain.

However, many of the Shape Ups designs were heavy shoes. Skechers Shape Ups 2.0 weighed 13 ounces per shoe for a women's size 7, which is hefty. This can be too heavy for some people to wear comfortably.

This effect can especially be felt when fitness walking. You may start out appreciating the comfort and cushioning, but soon enough feel some strain from the extra weight of the shoes. People who normally wear heavier shoes might not notice this effect. But those with knee, ankle, or hip problems may feel it. In general, it's best to avoid heavy shoes for this reason.

The Toning Shoe Concept

Skechers originally touted Shape Ups as toning shoes, designed to stimulate more muscles and challenge balance with a rocker sole. The sole was designed in three layers. with a firm midsole for support and a super soft foam kinetic wedge that absorbed shock with each step and simulated walking in soft sand.

This design sought to activate more muscles to develop balance and posture and tone leg and buttock muscles. Skechers marketed Shape Ups heavily, even enlisting the Kardashian family in advertising that suggested using the shoes as part of a weight-loss effort.

In 2012, Skechers offered refunds to U.S. customers as part of a $40 million agreement with the Federal Trade Commission due to misleading advertising claims for weight loss and muscle toning.

Alternatives to Skechers Shape Ups

Since Skechers Shape Ups are no longer an option, people who enjoyed these shoes have to find another option. Unfortunately, there is no one shoe that's best for all walkers. But you can look for shoes that best meet your needs.

For example, if you have flat feet, you might want shoes that help correct overpronation. But if you have high arches, consider shoes for high-arched feet that have enough room for your shoe inserts or orthotics.

It's also important to choose a walking shoe that is the right length and width. Consider whether the shoe you want provides the amount of cushion and support you need as well, enabling you to walk with good posture and healthy biomechanics.

One way to determine if a walking shoe is the right fit is to try it on and do a single-leg squat. If the shoe feels comfortable throughout the movement, it may be a good shoe for you. You can also go to a specialty running store and get a fitting and advice from a pro. Select a retailer that has a generous shoe return policy and be sure to return your shoes if they don't work well for you.

The Bottom Line

Skechers Shape Ups were about the price of a good pair of athletic walking shoes and less than some other brands of rocker-soled shoes. They came in both athletic and lifestyle styles. They were probably best used as comfort shoes rather than using them to train for walking events.

A walker might wear them for a shorter walk each day or every other day in addition to walking in athletic walking shoes. They provided a different workout from regular walking, but you still had to be aware of any joint pain developing as that was a potential sign of an overuse injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Shape Up tennis shoes work?

According to a team of exercise scientists, the answer is no. After conducting two separate studies, they found no evidence that toning shoes increased exercise intensity, boosted calorie burn, or improved muscle strength. Other studies have reached the same conclusions.

Are Skechers Shape Ups bad for you?

Some studies have found that wearing rocker bottom shoes can help strengthen ankle and hip muscles. But while new Shape Ups initially offered good shock absorption, they tended to wear out quickly. And when they did wear out, this could lead to lower extremity issues such as pain in the hips, heels, and feet.

Does Skechers still make Shape Up shoes?

No, Skechers no longer manufactures Shape Up shoes or shoes with any kind of rocker-sole design.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Skechers. 2019 Annual Report.

  2. Skechers. Shape-Ups 2.0 - Comfort Stride.

  3. Arazpour M, Hutchins SW, Ghomshe FT, Shaky F, Karami MV, Aksenov AY. Effects of the heel-to-toe rocker sole on walking in able-bodied personsProsthet Orthot Int. 2013;37(6):429‐435. doi:10.1177/0309364612474920

  4. Allen R. Remember this? Kim Kardashian starred in a 2011 Skechers Super Bowl ad. Footwear News.

  5. Federal Trade Commission. Skechers will pay $40 million to settle FTC charges that it deceived consumers with ads for "toning shoes".

  6. University of Michigan University Health Service. Choosing the right shoes for you.

  7. Porcari J, Greany J, Tepper S, et al. Will toning shoes really give you a better body?. American Council on Exercise.

  8. Zhang S, Paquette M, Milner C, Westlake C, Byrd E, Baumgartner L. An unstable rocker-bottom shoe alters lower extremity biomechanics during level walking. Footwear Sci. 2012;4(3):243-53. doi:10.1080/19424280.2012.735258

  9. Sanders J. Educating patients on excessive wear of Skechers Shape-Ups. Podiatry Today.

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.