When it comes to shoes that claim to improve posture and muscle tone I am definitely open to trying them out. We've had Fit Flops, MBT's and Sketchers have even copied both concepts with their own footwear. I'm a big fan of Fit Flops in the summer, but their boots just don't cut it for winter - they look far too much like those horrid Ugg boots. Which is why the Chung Shi shoes that I've been trying out seemed perfect.
They look a lot more like normal trainers in terms of the shoe's upper. The ones I had were plain black with a couple of grey and red details. Completely subtle and not OTT at all. I felt quite comfortable wearing them on the way to work, to and from the station. The part that does look a little odd is that the heel sits so far off the ground. MBT's tend to have a rounded bottom but with Chung Shi it's more like a step. I think that from above they look dainty compared to other fitness shoes though.
When you first put these shoes on it almost feels like a high heel. You are meant to walk in a rocking action from the back of the shoe and heel to the front, which doesn't feel smooth at first but you soon get used to it. My size did seem tom come up pretty small, so do try some on if you can.
The only thing I would say is that these aren't that great for standing on the tube or bus... it's hard enough to balance as it is and these made me feel like I was going to topple over at any moment. The reflexology bar in the middle of the shoe stops your heel and toe touching the ground at the same time and actually feels quite nice - almost like it's stretching the foot.
You definitely feel some muscle fatigue after wearing them for just 30mins per day. The biggest selling point for me though is the way they force you to stand straighter. My back felt like it was in a more neutral position, my shoulders felt pushed further back and generally a felt like I was standing taller and with better posture. I've no doubt that wearing these for a short time every day would train your body into better habits.
I also find that this sort of shoe is great for me as I have had ankle injuries in the past. My physio has always told me to do anything I can to re-train the muscles and walking on a slightly unstable shoe is a great way to do this. I think all too often people are looking for products like this to make them lose weight - that won't happen! However, they really can help with toning, posture and muscle mass which will all count in you looking and feeling better.
Find a stockist at: www.ljmsports.co.uk
RRP: From £125 (although you can sometimes find them cheaper)
As featured in Elle Magazine