With their thick, curved sole and wide straps, MBT walking shoes seem to be quite an unlikely item to catch the fancy of the young generation. Even so, for the past few years, it has been recommended as a contemporary solution to keep back problems and cellulite at bay. Know more about these shoes in this write-up.
I heard about MBT walking shoes from a friend, who highly recommended these shoes. She is a fitness trainer at a gym who said that they are great for toning your leg muscles, increasing muscle activity, and helping you attain a correct posture and stride. Thus, I took the time to do a bit of research on these shoes and decided to try them out myself.
The acronym MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology. These shoes are designed for stimulating walking in sand. The multilayer curved sole of the shoe helps create a natural gait on an uneven walking surface. They force the body to use all the major and stabilizing muscles, thus, training the body to move with the correct posture and stride. These shoes are meant to make the core muscles stronger, active, and increase shock absorption.
These shoes were invented by a Swiss engineer Karl Müller in the early 1990s. He was on a visit to Korea, and while walking barefoot on the soft paddy fields, he found his back, knee, and Achilles tendonitis pain reduce considerably. He also found the Masai tribesmen never suffered from back pain, and they are known for their well-toned legs and perfect posture. Putting these facts together, Muller found out that this was because of the ground under their feet. The flat, hard, and unnatural surfaces that we normally walk on, add to our woes of back, knee, and leg pain.
Thus, Müller came up with a shoe that had a curved sole, no heel, and can mimic the movement of walking on soft grass or sand. He created this prototype in 1996, and by the year 2000, he had managed to sell more than 20,000 pairs of these shoes in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.
There are many celebrities, like Jodie Kidd, Jemima Khan, Cher, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Heidi Klum who are said to have these shoes added to their footwear collection, thus, boosting the popularity of these shoes.
Does Masai Barefoot Technology Work?
This question is really important due to its heavy price tag of $270 to $300. There was a study undertaken by the Sheffield Hallam University that concluded these shoes help the knees, hips, and ankles better than any other shoes. It showed some amount of reduction in the strain felt by the body. However, there was nothing to suggest that it helped reduce back, leg, and knee pain, as well as ankle troubles.
These shoes claim to be good for several reasons:
- Improving posture and gait
- Toning and shaping the body
- Activating neglected leg muscles
- Reducing joint, muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries
- Reduction in stress on the knees and hip joints
However, there are many users who do not think these shoes are some kind of a ‘wonder walking device’. Some people claim that using these shoes have increased their back and hip pain instead. Also, those who do not learn to maintain a good posture with or without the shoes do not have much difference to feel. Thus, to be on the safe side, you should always consult a physiotherapist or an experienced trainer regarding how to use them properly before trying them out.
Where to Buy These Shoes
You can visit MBT stores in your city and try them on. You may find it a bit uncomfortable initially. You need to make sure the shoes are a bit snug at the heel. You can walk around the store and try to get used to them. But, this may take time and you may have a change of mind.
You can even visit online stores and purchase these shoes. However, make sure you visit an authentic website and an authorized retailer. Do not get tempted to buy cheap shoes that are sold for as low as $100, as most of them are knockoffs. Do not buy shoes that are half the size large or half the size small. Make sure they fit your feet perfectly. Once you get home your walking shoes, wear them for about 20 to 30 minutes and walk around. This will help you make sure they are of the correct size and you start getting used to these shoes.
There are plenty of choices available. You need to check out the various shoe sizes available according to your gender and find one that fits perfectly. These walking shoes are best for normal daily activity, like walking. These shoes are not recommended for running. You may find loads of positive and negative reviews related to MBT shoes. Each individual may have had a different experience with the shoes. There is no sure-shot evidence that these shoes do offer what the manufactures claim. Hence, make sure you speak to a physiotherapist before buying one.