Last week we previewed each of the shoes we are going to examine. I tried to pick shoes that would be unique and interesting for people and for which I frequently receive a number of questions. Each of these shoes utilizes a unique design that makes them very different than anything else on the market. I’m sure that there is a certain element here that began as a good idea from an engineer or a designer-but by the time the marketing people have gotten a hold of it and refined it-some of these shoes can lose much of the science or engineering that they started with. And then I think there are other design ideas which simply start off as a marketing ploy and end up with an even bigger disaster!
Now this blog is intended to be informative and helpful so-let’s take a look at each of these ideas very quickly.
Rocking chairs and your feet
Rocker bottom shoes modify the way that a foot strikes the ground forcing the muscle groupings to be employed differently. There is some very sound engineering behind this concept. This is very similar to doing toe raises with your workout program. The concept is that-if the muscles are employed during a different phase of gait-then they have to work harder to do something that is otherwise not very difficult. There is a certain amount of truth to this idea. And in fact-we do use this concept when trying to treat different injuries in the foot and ankle. Usually-this is when we tell a patient to slow down and use a rocker bottom shoes to avoid excessive motion or activity in a certain part of the foot. The problem with that concept in this context is that these shoes were advertised as an exercise shoe. The danger in that-is that we’re taking muscles and using them at a different time than they would normally be used to perform a task at increased loads which puts the person at risk for injury. If you’re going at slow speeds-a rocker bottom shoe actually is a good idea. But if you’re trying to exercise at a faster rate of speed with these-you can injure yourself! So as an idea, the rocker bottom shoe is a good one! But, for the purpose of exercising-it’s not a good idea! As you may have heard-Sketchers recently settled a $40 million lawsuit for false marking claims because of the shoes. The take-home message here is be careful about how you use these and when you use these.