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Reebok Easytone: Fit Or Fad?

Sports giants Reebok recently brought out a range of trainers designed to improve toning in the legs and bum. They called the range 'easytone', which spanned from the concept of the shoe. The trainers are designed with a convex sole which creates instability; it forces the foot to balance on a smaller surface area than usual. This means the leg is constantly trying to find a balance point and keeps the muscles working on a small scale, even while walking.

With this concept, Reebok claim that it increases the activation of calf muscles by 11% and gluteus maximus muscles by 28%. The idea is to give your legs and bum a workout without actually doing much exercise, apparently from the advert it even works while cleaning the house!

But Reebok specifically warn that the trainers are not to be worn during sporting activities in which the body endures side to side movement as it can cause damage to the ankle due to a lack of lateral support.

So it's like wearing a permanent wobble board you might find in a gym, and if you have ever tried one of those you will know that it certainly gives you enough of a workout. But does such a small difference in a shoe really make a difference to your workout?

The University of Delaware conducted a test with a group of women, they made half wear the Easytone shoes and the other half wore standard fitness trainers. The women endured a series of exercises while attached to sensors which monitored muscle activity.

The results declared an increase in muscle activity for the subjects wearing the Easytone trainers in the muscles specified, but not to the degree Reebok claimed. The verdict is that although the trainers do provide a small degree of extra muscle usage, they are fairly expensive and it would depend on the individual consumer as to whether they believed it was worth it. Judging by the perky models featured in the advert, the campaign is likely to be very successful in convincing consumers of this.