Saturday, June 26, 2010


You are looking at a picture of my feet. They are wearing my new miracle shoes, footwear that promises to transform me.

They are Skechers Shape-ups and they've been around for a while, but I first became aware of them when travelling with Robert and Jaki. Jaki saw someone wearing them and asked if they worked.

Since they looked like sneakers to me, I assumed it wouldn't take much to make them work. You know, tie the laces, take a few steps. If they're still on your feet then you can assume they work.

But it turns out that Shape-ups promise all sorts of health and fitness benefits. I can tell you about them in detail because Skechers goes out of its way to make sure you focus on them. They give you booklets and DVDs, the message of which is "These shoes will make you fitter if you wear them."

So the other day, when LK had somehow convinced me that it would be more fun to go to the mall in Las Vegas than the casino, I found myself browsing through the Shape-ups booklet waiting to try one on.

And that's when I knew I was going to buy a pair. They promised to help me get fitter just by standing; I would appear taller; and best all, Shape-ups would help me burn more calories. And, best of all given my 62 years of experience, it does not require will power. Yes, that's a big plus for me.

Of course, fat guys like me have learned to read the fine print with all these products promising easy weight loss. There are plenty of supplements and diet plans that promise weight loss and in the tiny type at the bottom it says "when used in conjunction with an exercise program."

But, no, these sneakers say they're going to make me lose more weight and improve my posture because they are designed to simulate "walking on soft sand" thus forcing me to use more muscles, straighten my posture and use more energy. On the one hand, I think it's a bit odd that these folks have gone about designing a sneaker that makes walking more difficult than usual. On the other hand, I suppose you'd have to give high marks to their marketing team that they figured out how to charge more by pointing out that this flaky design makes you fitter because you have to work harder to walk while you are wearing them.

Anyhow, it's early days and I will see if they live up to their claims. I can report that they do feel odd when you walk. But it's less like walking on soft sand and more like trying to walk around with a tennis ball glued to the bottom of your foot. There's a nearly continuous sense that I could fall over at any moment. But then, I have that feeling when I'm barefoot, too. And if I do fall over, I will surely burn more calories rolling around the ground trying to get up.

I'll let you know the final verdict in a few months. In the meantime, I have to admit I really like the idea that I can lose weight by walking to the bar and having a martini while standing there.

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