Saturday, November 28, 2015

Skechers Shape-Ups and the Rothbarts Foot: An Ankle Injury Waiting To Happen

Skechers Shape-ups lawsuit Recently Skechers Shape Ups rocker bottom shoes have been in the news. Skechers is facing a federal class action lawsuit over allegedly exaggerating the health benefits of their Skechers Shape Up shoes and reaping millions of dollars of profit through misleading marketing claims. 
One such claim for Skechers Shape Ups is that because they automatically exercise your pelvic and leg muscles as you walk, using them is a simple way to stay in shape, and “you can get in shape without ever setting foot in a gym”.
In fact, there are many ways to get in shape without going to the gym. Walking, whether barefooted, in standard shoes, or in rocker bottoms will tone the muscles to varying degrees. 
But, far more important than the quality of workout, is the impact that rocker bottoms have on your feet and ankles.
A Good Idea Gone Bad
The concept of rocker bottom footwear began in the 1970s, when doctors placed their patients with a broken foot or leg in a leg cast with a rocker bottom platform, similar to the one shown in the photo below. This platform made it easier for them to walk within the confines of a leg cast. Because the foot, ankle and leg were supported in the cast; biomechanical issues (such as potentially twisting the ankles) were not an issue.
walker-bottom shoe and walker-botttom cast
A false assumption was made that if the rocker bottom works well in a cast, then it would also work well in a shoe. In the 1990s, the first rocker bottom shoe was marketed to the public and since that time many brands, such as Skechers Shape Ups have become popular.
Are rocker bottoms really as beneficial as they claim?
Normally, you use your foot and leg muscles to move the weight of your body from your heel to your toe as you walk. But with rocker bottom shoes (such as Skechers Shape Ups), the rolling action is done for you, reducing the need to use your muscles and making it easier to walk. At first thought, this sounds good; but the result is that your foot and leg muscles (due to decreased use) get weaker the longer you use the shoes.
Do a self test- First walk in your rocker bottoms, paying attention to how hard you are using your leg and foot muscles. Then walk barefooted in soft sand. Which gives your muscles the better workout?
Can they potentially cause ankle injuries?
A 2009 study conducted by researchers Albright B.C. & Woodhull-Smith (2009) suggested that rocker bottom shoes may increase the risk of falls. I believe the reason for this is because (unlike rocker bottom leg casts) there is no structural support of the ankles and because the muscles in the leg and feet are not being optimally used, they become weaker and prone to injury.
If you have a Rothbarts Foot or PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity, wearing Skechers Shape Ups or any rocker bottom shoes can be disastrous:
Both the Rothbarts Foot and PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity create a twisting motion in the ankle when you walk, making the ankle joint especially vulnerable to sprains. If you have one of these two common, abnormal foot structures and you wear rocker bottoms, the combination of using less muscular activity in the foot and leg muscles, plus the inherent ankle instability seen in the above two foot structures, can lead to ankle injuries.
Rocking in your shoes may seem like a fun and easy way to get fit. But a safer and even simpler way to get in shape ‘without setting foot in a gym’ is by walking barefoot in soft sand; which strengthens your ankles, tones your entire body, is natural, fun and free.
Albright B.C. & Woodhull-Smith W.M. (March 2009). “Rocker bottom soles alter the postural response to backward translation during stance.” Gait & Posture
For more information on how the quality of your shoes impacts your health, read:
If Your Shoes Could Talk, What Would They Say?   
Worn Out Or Not – More About the Heels Of Your Shoes

Professor/Dr. Brian A. Rothbart
Chronic Pain Elimination Specialist
Discovered the Rothbarts Foot Structure and the PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity
Developer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy
Inventor and Designer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Insoles
Founder of International Academy of Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy
Author of Forever Free From Chronic Pain

As you learn more about my innovative therapy, you may find that addressing and effectively treating your foot structure may be the missing link to ending your long time battle with unrelenting muscle and joint pain.

If you would like to make an appointment with me to see if I can help you to permanently eliminate your low back pain, go to:  Schedule a Consultation.


UPDATE: On February 16, 2011, ABC Action News and Good Morning America are reporting that an Ohio woman represented by attorney Ronald Edward Johnson Jr.  is suing the company that produces Skechers Shape-Ups. She states that the shoes, which she wore for several months, caused her to develop stress fractures in both hips, even though she has the bone density of a young woman.

Holly Ward, a waitress who spends her work days on her feet,  says she was attracted to the Skechers by ads claiming the shoes would reduce pain and help you get in shape.

But as Ward told interviewers on Good Morning America, "The extended use of these shoes injured me catastrophically. The femoral bone is the strongest bone in the human body and I fractured not one but two of them without being in a car crash or any traumatic incident."

Ms. Ward now has pins in both hips and is eduring painful physical therapy.
ABC Action News states that it "spoke to half a dozen orthopedists and most were skeptical that shoes alone could cause stress fractures." What those specialists may have overlooked is the possibility that Ms. Ward has an as-yet-undiagnosed abnormal foot structure that would make potentially make wearing Skechers Shape-Ups or any similar athletic shoes extremely dangerous for her. I have contacted Ms. Ward's attorney to offer information on this issue and will watch this case with great interest. You can see more information on this lawsuit at the law firm's blog here.
UPDATE: In May 2012 the court ordered the makers of Skechers Shape-Ups  to pay $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission, which says Skechers made deceptive claims about the rocker-bottom shoes. In the Skechers settlement, the FTC said the company falsely represented that clinical studies supported the claims of muscle toning and weight loss.
The settlement also says the company made similar claims about its Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-up shoes. Customers who purchased any of the shoes listed in the settlement are eligible for refunds.

Other shoe companies have also come under fire from the FTC for making false claims. Last year, consumers who purchased Reebok's EasyTone and RunTone shoes were given refunds after the company claimed they would strengthen muscles.

The Skechers shoes were endorsed by paid celebrities like Kim Kardashian and fitness model Brooke Burke

while medical doctors and fitness trainers like Kevin Valluzzi warned that  the shoes could cause serious injury. In an interview, Valuzzi stated  that when he first saw advertisements for Skechers, he couldn't believe such shoes were allowed on the market and he was quick to denounce them to his clients.
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64 Responses to “Skechers Shape-Ups and the Rothbarts Foot: An Ankle Injury Waiting To Happen”
  1. My thoughts are that these rocker soled shoes are quite good for people with Hallux Limitus and that is about it.  The only way a shoe will give you a 'better workout' is by making the foot / gait less efficient thus requiring more energy input.  My 2c…..

  2. Dear Dr. Rothbart,
    You said exactly what I suspected:  that rocker soled shoes don't allow full use of the muscles. 
    When walking in soft sand, try to pick a level surface.  Walking on a tilt causes stress on the muscles and joints.
    Also, walking on a paved path can be alternated with walking on the grass which gives more of a full leg and foot workout, too.
    Thank you for your article.

  3. Laurie says:

    Loved what these shoes did to tone my rear but, the price is high! I have twisted my ankle severly four times. Any uneven pavement or grassy walking is a disastor. It is so easy for your ankle to twist and roll., if yu think thats a joke try it… No joke, I would not recommend wearing these sneakers unless you are willing to watch carefully every step you take, They can be an accident waiting ti happen..

  4. Rothbart says:

    Dear Laurie,

    Well said.
    What you are describing frequently happens if you have a Rothbarts Foot or PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity. The reason being, that the foot twist (caused by these two foot structures) is increased by the action of the rocker bottom shoes.
    Thank you for your comment.

    Professor/Dr Rothbart

  5. Jennifer Townsend says:

    Dear Professor Rothbart
    At last I have found an answer to my chronic R ankle pain, burning and swelling, not to mention frequent sprains.  The latest sprain resulted in being carted off to A&E as I couldn't move my R foot and entire R leg, much less put any weight through it.
    I am 62, was born in 1948 with severe R clubfoot, had immediate splinting after birth and till age 8, then surgical clubfoot repair, culminating in final surgery at age 18 when the surgeon transplanted bone from my R hip to form a calcaneal bone, the Achilles tendon was split, the tarsals and digits were broken and reset and I was on crutches for 2 years not putting any weight on the R foot. After a month the calcaneal bone got an infection and I nearly lost my foot.
    I have battled on all my life, trying to keep fit, going to the gym, playing tennis, trained in sports massage therapy and became a yoga teacher to help with balance and flexibility, and 5 years ago discovered MBT trainers, which I thought were the answer, giving good support and encouraging me to walk through up on to the ball of the foot.  They seemed really comfortable, although my R calf felt tired at the end of the day, I knew it was because the muscles were getting a workout.
    Then the sprains started, The doctors have washed their hands of me saying 'what can I expect at my age' – 'it's now become arthritis and I have to live with it' –  although I continue working as a sports masseur and therapist and trainer.  I have performed deep tissue massage on the gastrocs, soleus, tibants, Achilles tendon and sheath etc, I do all the rehab exercises and wobble board religiously, I continue with Yoga balancing, and still the pain and burning and swelling continue.
    I have now discontinues the MBT trainers and just wear ordinary Reeboks now.
    What more could I do?  I am determined not to give up or retire to sit in a chair.
    Please help me
    Jennifer Townsend 

  6. Rothbart says:

    Dear Jennifer,

    The history you related to me suggests that you were born with one of the foot structures I have discovered. If you have one of these foot structures, Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy will help you immensely and eliminate much of the disability you have described.

    For more information, go to my patient website.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  7. pharmaslayer says:
    There is a long history of these shoes causing problems.  The lawyers in this website are actively representing the victims of these dangerous sneakers in order to bring the manufacturers to justice.

  8. Ivette W says:

    Professor Rothbart,
    Have you or anybody heard about the rocker shoes causing torn tendons in the foot? I wore my rockers to the Orlando parks for 3 days, now I am in an immobilizer for 3 weeks.
    Ivette W

  9. Rothbart says:

    Dear Ivette,

    Some people have a high state of tonus (tension) in their muscles and so the tendons in their foot are more prone to injury. The rolling action of a rocker bottom shoe can increase this potential to injury.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  10. Linda says:

    I loved my sketcher for walking ON FLAT surfaces, I have twisted my ankle a number of times on uneven ground or gravel,, but never thought it might be the shoes,,, well walking  the other day,, hit a uneven asphalt area and twisted ankle, down I went and ended up with a fractured ankle,, Not sure yet if I will need it operated on,,, My  Shetchers are going in the trash now,, both pairs I have,, Should be a warning on these shoes about where to wear them,,

  11. Rothbart says:

    Unfortunately, the experience you have had wearing the Sketchers Shape Ups is not unusual.

    In my opinion, all rocker bottom shoes should be taken off the market. Placing your Sketchers in the trash is an excellent idea.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  12. DANA CANIFF says:

    I have been wearing the original sketchers every day to work and no problems. However, I started power walking and doing the stairs and now have extreme pain in my ankles and heals. I am normally pretty athletic and have never had ankle pain like I have now. My heels are also throbbing. The only relief for me is to elevate my feet and lie down. After researching these sneakers on-line, I am beginning to feel like I made a very bad mistake purchasing them.

  13. Rothbart says:

    Dear Dana,

    Rocker Bottom Shoes, such as Sketchers Shape Ups, in my opinion are biomechanically unstable and should be taken off the market.

    Your particular experience wearing them are not surprising (see other posted comments).

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  14. lcwahl says:

    A co-worker had told me about a Sketcher Shape up shoe recall since I wear them at work.  I work retail and bought several different shoes trying to find one that let you be on your feet for long periods without going home with leg, feet, and back pain.   I bought a pair of Shape ups and absolutely love them.  I no longer have leg, feet, or back pain after working a long shift on my feet when I wear them and also have lost 10 pounds and notice definite toning in my calves and upper leg.   I have never experienced any loss of balance or ankle twisting while wearing them and my family will tell you that I am not the most graceful in or out of shoes.   I'm sorry to hear that these shoes have not worked for some people.

  15. Rothbart says:

    I’m glad you’re satisfied with your shoes. It’s obvious you do not have an abnormal foot structure. The warning given here is directed to people that do have an abnormal foot structure which may or may not have been diagnosed. People that do have a Rothbarts Foot or Preclinical Clubfoot Deformity would be put at great risk of injury by wearing shoes such as these. And since the majority of people who have one of these abnormal foot structures go undiagnosed, I urge people experiencing chronic pain to err on the side of caution and refrain from wearing shoes of this type. The risk is simply too great.

  16. Laurie Wick says:

    I purchase a pair of Shape-up last spring.  I started a gradual process of walking in them.  When I increased my walk to approximately 1 1/2 miles I would experince severe burning on the top of my foot and would either have to stop or unlace my shoe.  This happened every time.  After about 5 episodes I gave up on the $90 shoes and then a short time later I began experiencing severe heel pain and burning.  In the fall I went to an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in feet.  I had X-rays and exam and PT and a night splint for plantar fascitis without much relief.  It just recently occured to me that the shoes are what caused my problem.  Very discouraging as now I can't even go for long walk with regular shoes as I have too much pain.

  17. Rothbart says:

    Dear Laurie,

    I understand. As you read the many other comments from my readers, you will see that you are not alone.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  18. Here is a comment that was posted on First Toning Shoe Injury Lawsuit Filed Against Skechers, February 26, 2010:
    "I purchased a pair of Skechers last June. I watched the DVD and followed all instructions. After wearing them for about a month and following the instructions to compensate for the rolling in of my feet, especially on the right side, I fell, hard, and severely bruised my hip.
    After returning home, I inspected the shoes and discovered that one of them was defective on the inner ankle side. I tried returning the shoes to Sports Authority, but they wouldn't take them back. So I emailed Skechers, and they emailed me back with return information.
    I was to mail the shoes, at my own expense, to the return center. If they determined that the shoe was defective, they would send me a replacement shoe. If not, I could have the shoes back, but I would be responsible for the return postage.
    I figured that wasn't a very good deal. So my sister, who lives about 4 blocks from Skechers Headquarters in Manhattan Beach, CA, volunteered to bring them in. She did, but they would not accept them. They would not even let her speak to a superviser.
    I have since had to have cortisone injections in my hip and now must have knee replacement surgery.
    Thank you very much, Skechers."

  19. alan says:

    I have been having bad heal pain after wearing the skechers at work. This is my second attempt to get use too these shoes i have lower back pain and bought these for that reason my back pain is a lot less wearing these shoes i must admit. I am a machinist and on my feet 10 hrs a day but the heel pain i now have in my left foot is so bad that it hurts to put wait on it. So im out 100.00 bucks cant wear them i new it was the shoes because this is the second time this has happened to me got some very good running shoe for the back pain only time will tell when the heal pain will stop. So if your going to keep walking these might ok but i stand for long periods at a time so all your weight is on the ball of your foot

  20. Rothbart says:

    Dear Alan,

    Got it! Thanks for your comment.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  21. jennifer says:

    bought the sketcher shape ups because i was trying to get in shape and wanted something that would be comfortable to wear because i had a did not cause further problems with my right ankle injury but did cause severe heel pain in both feet and in sides of feet.i stopped wearing the shoes about two months ago but the pain has not got any better.i can only stay on my feet for about 30 minutes at the most before they start hurting pretty bad,this is a major problem for me because i have a 5 yr old son that i cant even play with for very long anymore and being a single mom i have problems cleaning house and cooking meals at times.i just found out about problems with shoes a couple days hoping with time ill be back to my normal self

  22. Rothbart says:

    Dear Jennifer,

    Rocker bottom shoes are unstable for everyone. If you were born with one of the two foot structures I discovered, the combination of the rocker bottom shoes plus the foot structure can create double havoc.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  23. Lori says:

    My daughter bought me my first pair of sketchers shoes for chirstmas 2009. That day I started taking walks in them….. my left foot is a bit longer then my right one and one toe tended to rub the tip of the toe so after 8 months I tried some cheaper shoes, that didn't last long because I soon realized I hadn't even noticed in the 8 months with my shape up my lower back pain had all but stopped completely the new shoes brought it back real quick….. I bought a new pair of sketchers. I've had them for 6 months now,  I own two pairs of shoes one pair of heels for the rare time I dress up and my shape ups, summers coming I'll probably get a pair of flip flops soon but for the most part 98% of the time if I'm wearing shoes I'm wearing my shape ups. This evening I walked 6 miles, yesterday I walked 7.75 miles, last week I walked a total of 32.6 miles and last month I walked 93.6 miles all in my shape ups…. I'm not saying shape ups are for everyone but the fact is some people can't wear regular tennis shoes either and I don't see them coming with no warning label. And worse yet I've actually twisted my ankle to the point of needing x rays several times from wearing heels don't see no warning label on them either…. the fact is no one shoe or shoe type is right for every foot, if you buy pair of shoes that don't work for you then don't wear them but there are millions of people out there that wear and love their shape up shoes it's a shame that not every one can but why shouldn't I be able to get them because a select few can not wear them? I would rather see a law suit against the stupid makers of high heals then my sketchers…..JMO

  24. Rothbart says:

    Dear Lori,

    It is good to hear that your Sketchers are working well for you.

    You mentioned buying flip flops. Usually people who can comfortably wear flip flops do not have an abnormal foot structure that predisposes them to chronic pain.

    There are many reasons that high heels can create problems for everyone (normal or abnormal foot structure), one of them being the thin, long heel which you must balance your weight on.

    One of the reasons that Sketchers are dangerous for everyone (normal and abnormal foot structure) is because the design of Sketchers places the Achilles Tendon on a stretch, which makes the tendon more predisposed to injury.

    with regards,
    Professor/Dr. Rothbart

  25. paula dwaidar says:

    I bought my 10 year old a pair of Step Up Shoes. How do you know if these shoes are going to cause problems?


  26. Rothbart says:

    Dear Paula,

    I understand your concern.

    Look at the bottom of any pair of your 10 year old’s shoes. If the heels are worn unevenly, there is a good chance that your child has an abnormal foot structure that can create problems.

    If your child has one of these common foot structures, the Skechers Shape-Ups will most likely create problems (much like the ones you have read in this blog).

    For more information read my blog – Are Shoes Destroying Our Feet.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  27. Becky says:

    I bought a pair of Skechers Shape-Ups about 6 months ago.  I do floral work and I thought these shoes would be good since I stand and walk alot when I work.  They were great to begin with, but after about 2 weeks my heels started to get sore and hurt, so I bought a pair of the gel heel inserts, but didn't help much.  I bought a pair of New Balance, but my heels continued to be sore and  hurt.  I had to start wearing shoes that didn't have a back because the pain was too much for any shoes with a back.  After a couple of weeks wearing those, the pain was no better and there was swelling.  I went to my doctor yesterday and I was told I have Achilles tendonitis.  He put me on Prednisone for a few days and said to stay off my feet as much as I can.  I don't like having to miss work.  I had never had any problems with heel pain until after I started wearing the Sketchers Shape-Ups.

  28. Rothbart says:

    Dear Becky,

    Rocker bottom shoes (like the Skechers Shape-Ups) have a tendency to stretch the achilles tendon. This places that tendon at a higher risk to become inflamed, which apparently what happened to you.

    Another good reason to avoid wearing rocker bottom shoes.

    Professor Rothbart

  29. james says:

    I am 53 year old male I now have chronic sprained ankle I started wearing these shoes 6 months ago I now have to wear an ankle brace. I will stop wearing them as it seems they have destroyed my ankle I have had three serious falls. lucky only my ankle was hurt it has been swollen now for three months I am going in for MRI next week.

  30. nicole says:

    I purchased two pairs of shape-ups, one to walk the track with , the other;pair to wear to work. I worked more than I exercise. I wore my sketchers shape-ups on the weekends because that is when I work. After a year, I noticed I started having heel pain in both of my feet. I have soaked them, took over the counter pain reliever but nothing seems to help. I am now out of $200 bucks and full of heel pain. They got rich off of my pain.

  31. Rothbart says:

    Dear Nicole,

    Shoe companies are in the business to make money. Making shoes that are good for your feet and body unfortunately does not sell shoes.

    Professor Rothbart

  32. CRYSTAL says:

       when i first saw the shoes I wanted them so I could lose weight I then became pregnant and the doctor aid it was ok to keep wearing them and I also have fibromialgia and the lump on the back of my neck casued by poor posture. I was told by an ortho wearing them would help my fibro and my posture issues but shortly after i started wearing them I developed severe knee pain which i was told was caused by my pregnacy but it only got worse every night I spent in the tub soking and downing pain tylnol to ease the pain. So then 6 months in I am at my moms house walking down the stairs I slip and fall i do not know if my ankle gave way or what but i wrapped it and after it healed i kept wearing them the doc kept saying it was ok but it just got worse and after the baby came i wore the all the time you know to try and lose the extra pounds but it hasnt realy helped and my knees and ankles stay in pain and i even bough the sandles because I thought they would help but I stay in pain my knee pain and ankle pain keep me up most nights and i have been wondering if it was my bdy but now i suspect the shoes and i wonder if it has done permanent damage becasue even nw since i stopped waering them i get the same pains and i am only 26 ut after reading these stories i know it is the shoes and maybe i shuld join the lady in her lawsuit becasue i have no insurance and cant afford to go to a doctor for my constant pain which i now know was caused by the shoes

  33. Rothbart says:

    Dear Crystal,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I wish you the best.

    Professor Rothbart

  34. Barb says:

    These shoes are AWESOME if you have a job where you stand in one place for long hours but obviously not recommended for walking or running.  I bought them for this purpose so I did not have an issue with them.   They take the pressure off your toes and heels and prevented my feet from hurting.

  35. Rothbart says:

    Dear Barb,

    Thank you for your comment.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  36. Dorothy Routt says:

    I bought Skechers Shape Ups, I am on my feet and walk a lot during my entire shift.  The total exhaustion and fatigue in my feet, ankles, legs and now hips has gotten to be too much.  After a few days new shoes never bothered me.  I actually feel exhausted and attribute that from how much pain from the legs and feet.  I actually walk funny by end of my shift even if only six hours.  I am convinced all is entirely from these shoes.

  37. Karen says:

    I have purchased Sketcher Shape-up shoes since they hit the market and have worn them almost every day, all day.  I have retired 5-6 pairs after wearing them out without any complaints to report.  In fact why I had originally given them a try was due to three years of pain in both my Achilles tendons. The day I began wearing the Shape-ups, all my pain was gone and has never reoccurred.  I am on my feet much of the day and I also walk a 4-mile distance, several times a week for exercise.  The only negative observation is that after several months of constantly wearing a pair,  my legs feel tired ( and that's not usual for  me).  Once I replace with a new pair of shape-ups, I have always been good to go for several more months.
    All these bad reports make me wonder if I missing something. I am an active 59 year-old female.  Does anyone else have anything positive to report ?  I'm puzzled.

  38. Aaron says:

    I wear my shape ups all the time, I have recently noticed pain in my ankles. The pain is on the outside of my ankles, it always goes away after I'm up and walking around for a while. I started wearing my shape ups all the time because they really help with my heel spurs, now I'm wondering if the pain is from wearing these shoes. I have also found that you really have to watch where you walk and how you walk in these shoes at all times.

  39. Rothbart says:

    Dear Dorothy,

    You are not alone. I have received many comments from people who have bought rocker bottom shoes and have ended up having a lot of pain in their body.

    My research has proven that these type of shoes should be avoided.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  40. Rothbart says:

    Dear Karen,

    In this world, there are very few things that I can think of that are bad for everybody. And that includes rocker bottom shoes. From your email, it is quite apparent that you are able to wear these type of shoes without experiencing any problems.

    In my experience, you are in the minority. Most people that use this type of shoe experience problems, mild to severe.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  41. Lori says:

    I bought these and wear them often. I never knew they could cause injuries. However, I have started having pain in my hip and I'm only 45. Can I take back to the store for a refund?

  42. Rothbart says:

    Dear Arron,

    Ankle pain is a common complaint associated with wearing rocker bottom shoes. If you never had this problem before, the probability that your ankle pain is due to the shoes, is quite high.

    I would suggest discontinue wearing those shoes. Throw them in the trash, where (in my opinion) they belong.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  43. Rothbart says:

    Dear Daisy,

    If your hip pain started soon after wearing these shoes, it is a pretty good indication that the shoes are creating the hip pain.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  44. Ashley says:

    So I have a pair of these shoes. They are not Sketchers brand though, they are Doctor Scholls. The first pair I bought were Danskin brand and I had those shoes for 2 years with no problems. I only bought a new pair because after 2 years they are pretty worn out and the rocker bottom is just about worn down to nothing. The only reason why I bought the Doctor Scholls brand this time was because they were cheaper. Still no problems. I do have ankle issues from twisting my ankles numerous years in a row (before I ever heard or bought these shoes). I absolutely love these shoes. I would recommend when you first get them to not wear them 24/7 even though I did cuz they are very weird to get used to. What I don't understand is that these people with these different food or ankle diseases, why don't they wear special shoes. I was under the impression that if you had some type of problem like that you were only supposed to wear certain shoes. Kind of like a diabetic has to wear a special shoe, and they know they can't wear something like a Shape Up. I think people got overly excited about this 'new' product and rushed out to buy them and wear them and made their own mistakes. I've had no problem, like I said, and I wear them everywhere I go. I actually dislike regular shoes very much and would be highly upset if they took these shoes off the market.

  45. Rothbart says:

    Dear Ashley,

    You are absolutely right. Rocker bottom shoes do not create problems for everyone. In fact, if you have a stable and healthy foot structure, not only can you wear Rocker bottom shoes safely, but you can even wear high heel shoes within reason.

    The problem lies in those people who were born with an abnormal, unstable foot structure – two of the most common being the Rothbarts Foot and the PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity. I estimate nearly 80% of the population are born with one of these two foot structures.

    It is these people that should not wear the Rocker bottom shoes. If they do, these shoes put them at higher risk for developing chronic musculoskeletal pain symptoms. You can read about these experiences from the many comments that appear on this blog.

    with regards,

    Professor Rothbart

  46. Jane Kaminski says:

    I'm shocked! I can't believe all these emails….EXACTLY what's been going on with me for months now. I finally just wondered if there was a connection with these stupid shoes that I wore for about 4 months last autumn/winter,  did a google search and all this information has confirmed it.  I'm speechless.  My feet went from the common female surface pain of a corn or a callous now and then to awful, awful chronic arch and heel pain that just ruless my life now. Ankles that swell on the inside, pain under my big toe…my feet are just filled with pain all over, every day.  I can't believe what I'm reading.  Is this ever going to go away or have we ruined our feet forever?  I used to power walk, walked everywhere…now it's ruining my life.  The caution I have to use with my feet is of course hurting the rest of my body…my hips, back, etc.

  47. Rothbart says:

    Dear Jane,

    I’m amazed as well!

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    with regards,

  48. Carole Richmond says:

    I work in a big box store with lots of walking on concrete floors. I've worn sketchers and MBTs for 3 years now. I love them. I never expected them to do everything they claimed, but the soles are so thick that they are extremely comfortable on the concrete floors. Someone mentioned that they're not good on uneven surfaces and that may be true, but I don't know, since I only wear them at work. Bottom line for me is that they are the most comfortable work shoes I've found and I certainly hope they don't discontinue them!

  49. Rothbart says:

    Dear Carole,

    If you are fortunate enough to be born with structurally normal (stable) feet, then you can wear almost any type of shoe with no/minimal problems.

    Rocker bottom shoes (like the Shape-Ups) are an intrinsically poorly designed shoe. However, it does allow you to walk using less muscular activity.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  50. Rothbart says:

    Dear Carole,

    Thank you for your comment.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  51. Margaret says:

    I found this site whilst trying to find online retailer to replace my Skecher's Shapeups!!
    I am now aged 77 and 10 years ago had severe pain on top of both feet, making walking very difficult. I discovered MBT's and have worn rocker bottom shoes ever since. MBT, Chung Shi, Scholls, and Skechers.
    They have enabled me to keep walking daily – even went on an intense muddy and rocky walking holiday for a week. Never had a fall or strained ankle.
    I cannot speak too highly of this type of shoe – without it I was heading for a mobility scooter!! I have referred them to several friends, Good job we are all different.

  52. Rothbart says:

    Dear Margaret,

    If your feet are structurally normal (e.g., they do not twist as you walk), you can wear rockerbottom shoes comfortably.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  53. cranbud says:

    The rocker shoes were prescribed by my doctor for an arthritic toe. They help me tremendously! Two years prior, they helped with numbness in my leg due to damaged nerves in my back. Clearly, in all cases, rocker shoes are not bad. For some, they are a life saver!

  54. Rothbart says:

    You are correct. Rockerbottom shoes do not adversely effect everyone. If you were fortunate enough to have been born with a structurally normal foot, your chances of injury, from wearing rockerbottom shoes, are much less then if you were born with a structurally unsound foot (e.g., the Rothbarts Foot or the Preclinical Clubfoot Deformity).

    Professor Rothbart

  55. We've heard a lot of mixed reviews about these shoes- people seem to be polarized with their experiences. However many of our clients have experienced severe injuries caused by strain and falls produced by the rocker bottom. One of our clients fell and maintained a very serious head injury. Others have broken hips, sprained ankles etc.
    We believe that those who are elderly or who have poor balance and are in poor physical health seem to have a lot more issues than their smaller, younger counterparts.

  56. Rothbart says:

    Dear Estey,

    You are absolutely correct. People are polarized regarding their experiences with the rocker bottom shoes.

    The key issue is the foot structure the person was born with. If he/she was fortunate enough to be born with a structurally stable foot (e.g., non twisting/normal pronation), that person will be able to wear the rocker bottom shoe with far less potential for injury that someone born with a structurally unstable foot (e.g., twisting/abnormally pronating).

    Two of the most common and structurally unstable foot structures are the PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity and the Rothbarts Foot. If you were born with one of these foot structures, you are at higher risk for developing joint or muscle pathology when you wear the rocker bottom shoes.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  57. Carl Pedersen says:

    I was told by my surgeon to get rocker bottom shoes. I recently have had ankle fusion surgery and he said the bottom would do for my foot what I can’t do when I walk, since I have no ankle movement. After reading all these things negative about the shoes (hip problems, back problems, etc.) I am wondering if it’s worth the risk.

  58. Rothbart says:

    Dear Carl,

    Rocker bottom shoes are an excellent choice for specific foot and ankle conditions. An ankle fusion is one of those conditions.

    Having said that, there is one caveat: If you have either a PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity or Rothbarts Foot, rocker bottom shoes should never be worn.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  59. Carl Pedersen says:

    Thank you for answering my question. I have started wearing the rocker bottom shoes, and I do feel that they are helping. My new concern is that, before the fusion, I had arthritis so bad that I literally walked on the side of my foot (outside). The surgeon said he corrected the deformity that resulted from that, but when I walk, I feel like I am still walking with my foot turned out. When I look, it isn’t apparent. I’m thinking it’s in my mind since I walked like that for many years. By looking, will my surgeon be able to tell if I have Rothart’s foot the next time I see him, or are there tests that have to be taken.

  60. Rothbart says:

    Dear Carl,

    There are specific tests that can be run by your surgeon to determine if you have the Rothbarts Foot or not (See Three Minute Screening for Rothbarts Foot).

    If you do have the Rothbarts Foot, rockerbottom shoes will create the type of symptoms you have described.

    with regards,
    Professor Rothbart

  61. Shanna Anderson says:

    I bought one pair of these and every single time I wore them I would have extreme pain running along the top of my foot up through my ankle. At first I thought it was from them not being broken in, but it was bad enough that after wearing them for a while I quit. It wasn’t worth the pain. Glad to know it wasn’t all in my head!

  62. Rothbart says:

    Dear Shanna,

    Welcome to the club! You are not alone in your experiences with the Skechers Shape Up shoes.

    Professor Rothbart


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