'Toning' Shoes for Girls: What Do You Think?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  221 comments   :  25,876 Views

I'll admit that I'm very conservative when it comes to what my daughter wears. You'll probably never see her wearing short shorts with writing on the backside (at least as long as I am buying her clothes). I'm not a fan of clothes that promote specific brands, whether it's Nike or the Disney Princesses. I don't look down on anyone who makes different choices for their children- I'm just doing what I think is best for mine.

One of the latest products to come on the market for young girls is Sketchers Shape-Ups. Sketchers CEO compares the shoes to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign for kids, saying they designed to encourage more childhood physical activity. He says the product is only promoting exercise, which is good for kids. Personally, I'm not completely buying that reasoning, and as you can already guess, I will not be buying the product.

Adult Sketchers Shape-Ups are designed to help tone the butt and thigh areas. (Whether or not they actually work is a different discussion entirely.) I don't see why a 7-year-old should be concerned with the shape of her butt and thighs. In a time when girls get so much pressure to look a certain way, this is just one more product that contributes to the idea that it's normal to be unhappy about how you look. And now here's a tool to do something about it.

The shoes start at a size 2 (so their target audience begins quite young), and right now they are only available for girls. Sketchers says that similar to their rollout of the adult shoes, they will start with females and then eventually make them available for young boys. Cartoon advertisements for the product are now being shown on the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. One ad shows a skinny cartoon girl in her cool pink Shape-Ups being chased by boys dressed as junk food.

There is currently an online petition started by parents to discontinue the product. They think it sends the wrong message about body image to young girls, and I have to agree.

What do you think? Am I overreacting, or do you agree that a product like this inappropriate for young girls?

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  • 221
    I think you are right, silly and stpid producs. My daughter has brand marks all over her, mostly because I buy second hand clothes a lot but" toning shoes.." no way!. - 9/26/2012   12:47:07 AM
  • 220
    advertising is such a game. Personally, I love my shoes because they are comfortable. - 7/15/2012   2:50:57 AM
  • 219
    I love my sketchers. They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. That said I have an issue with most of the clothing designed for girls from toddlers and up. they are something even and adult might think about before purchasing. they are to provocative.
    I do not agree on forcing them to take the shoes off the market. It is up to the parents to make these decisions. If people don't buy them that will take them off the market. I strongly believe in free enterprise. People need to take responsibility for their own actions and choices. - 5/24/2012   10:42:30 AM
  • 218
    Bottom line...they don't work, and I would rather pay my money for shoes that aren't possibly going to cause a postural problem with my children in the long run. - 5/22/2012   10:11:13 AM
    Just saw on the news that one company had to pay a huge settlement becasue of false claims.----basiclly they do not work! - 10/3/2011   12:59:45 PM
  • 216
    I think a product being advertised that way is inappropriate dor girls. However, my husband wears sketchers shape ups because they are the only shoes that give him enough comfort to make his joints hurt less! He has arthritis, so finding a good pair of shoes was difficult. If they advertised the girls' shoes via great foot support rather than "toning", then that would be much better and more accurate! - 7/14/2011   12:48:07 PM
  • 4TMKDP
    I think you're spot on!! Kids have enough to worry about and I would rather they concentrate on their education, not what they look like and does that boy like me. We need to change the culture. - 6/18/2011   3:34:11 AM
  • 214
    Oh, you sound like such a sensible person!!! And I totally agree with you on all of these issues! - 6/11/2011   9:57:08 PM
    I doubt the shoes help you tone, etc. The reason I do like the shoes is that if I wear any other shoes one of my feet starts hurting as I have pedicular fasciitis. The Shape Ups are the only shoes that I can wear so I buy them just for the support they give my feet. I finally just bought the sandals to as I am tired trying (and buying) sandal after sandal that doesn't work and I don't want to go another summer only wearing shoes.

    I don't like how they advertise the shoes for the girls but I do like that there is a shoe out there that offers the foot support that all shoes should have. - 6/8/2011   1:22:37 PM
    I agree with the article. My daughter has enough on her plate as it is. I don't think she needs to be worrying about whether or not her butt or thighs are toned. If parents are worried about their children's weight than they need to start teaching their children healthy habits such as the right foods to eat and proper exercise, not to mention when to turn off the tv and the video games and just get outside and run around. - 6/6/2011   6:14:49 AM
  • CASEYJO200
    I agree that children should not wear shape up shoes. Adults can make their own decision. This is insane. Also when is Nick and Cartoon Net going to be commercial free?? - 6/5/2011   10:46:32 AM
    Lena106-I wore shape up shoes for a year. Because the heel is undercut the shoes threw my weight forward onto my toes and the balls of my feet. I have type 2 diabetes and developed numbness in the big toe and next two toes on my left foot. Every day I wore the shoes the numbness got worse. Since throwing the shoes away the numbness has improved at little and the numbness in my right foot toes has gone away.

    I don't think these shoes will help your son. If he will do exercise with you, have him try this. Have him stand on the bottom stair of a staircase with his heels over the edge, then gently lower his heels to stretch his tendons and calf muscles. Since there will be no sensation on the aches and heels (nothing touching) maybe he will do it. Hope this was helpful - 6/5/2011   8:16:22 AM
  • 209
    I'm disappointed that these are being made for little girls, and extremely disappointed in the way that they are being marketed.
    Aside from the sociological commentary, they're dangerous for kids as they are still growing. Kids are still learning proper balance, and being on a "rocking shoe" is going to do much more harm than good, especially with growth plates, etc.
    Even fully grown adults should exercise caution and limit the amount of time they wear these shoes.
    My verdict would be to save money on the shoes and enroll your kid in a sports club/program instead. - 6/3/2011   4:59:40 PM
    I love the shape up shoes for adults but I do not think children should wear them. I don't care how they are advertised but if you read up enough or have bought them you will see a section saying "do not run in these shoes" what they don't tell you is that doing so can and will cause stress fractures. My question, how do you stop a child from running? Well you can't, so please do them a favor and don't buy the childrens shape ups. The adults help me with my back/leg/foot/ankle/knee/hip aches. But for work I had to buy running shoes because I have gotten stress fractures from running in the shape up shoes. Outside of work however they are still my favorite. - 6/3/2011   6:03:21 AM
  • 207
    This may sound very strange but I am happy that they have these shoes now, not for my daughter but for my son?! My son is on the autism spectrum and has sensitivity issues in his feet which cause him to toe walk. Due to the stupidity of health insurance companies, they will pay for a highly invasive surgery to cut his leg muscles to "fix" this but will not pay for ongoing physical therapy. These shoes make it impossible for him to toe walk and force correct heal to toe walking, tada! everyday physical therapy for his toe walking. I am glad I saw this post and I am going to go out and see if I can find him a pair. - 6/2/2011   10:36:09 AM
  • LUCIA243
    Just one more comment of agreement. I have two little granddaughters and no was they need to be wearing this type of shoe. I think it was nothing but a sales gimmick from the company. Thanks goodness that are a lot of "smart commers" - 6/1/2011   6:30:31 PM
  • 205
    Not a fan at all of the concept but I do have a pair of the shoes for myself and they relieved a lot of my back, leg and foot pain when i have to be on my feet for long periods and I think if they would market those benefits instead it would be a lot better... for those reasons alone if they did come out with boys versions I would buy them for my son to try as he is always having aching legs lately but I'd NEVER buy a product promoting weight loss for a child! - 6/1/2011   3:45:50 PM
  • 204
    I still think the shape up shoes are rather a gimmick... if you want 'em go for it. However, if kids are being taught healthy habits and running and playing, why would they need a special shoe? - 6/1/2011   3:02:23 PM
  • 203
    I agree with you. And, I think one of our strongest statements as consumers is not to purchase that particular product. Taking it a step further would be to not purchase any product by a brand. - 6/1/2011   3:01:30 PM
  • 202
    I think that children should be encouraged to be healthy the natural way, as in not openly at all. I think children should grow up learning what is healthy, and what is not. This creates a lifestyle that they will probably stick to for the rest of their lives. These "shape-ups" for kids encourages a "diet", not a healthy lifestyle. I was over-weight all through my childhood and my parents sent me to a doctor to get me a gym membership when I was middle school. This created a big self-esteem issue for me growing up! Children should be taught healthy choices from the time they are young, but shape-ups are not one of them. - 6/1/2011   11:16:18 AM
    Run and play! - 6/1/2011   7:09:56 AM
  • 200
    This is quite nauseating. What makes me even more sick is that there will be parents out there buying these for their children. Personally I think toning shoes are a load of crap and that only good old fashion working out will get you the results you desire. - 6/1/2011   6:54:32 AM
    You are not overreacting at all and I agree with you children need to be children. Let the children develop their muscles running outside even barefoot, like we did, or play water fight, like we did, or make them play the games we played when we were children. I am tired to be labelled a overreacting parent everytime I stand for my children rights to be children. I live in Ireland and I didn't see that ads on telly yet but I keep my eyes open! thanks. - 6/1/2011   5:40:39 AM
  • 198
    No you are not overreacting. Kids need to be kids and not worry about what their behinds look like. I would not buy these for any young child. Exercise needs to be done with the correct shoes not something that might hurt them.
    I have never purchased these cause I just have a hard time believing that wearing these types of shoe would do any good.
    - 5/31/2011   10:45:29 PM
  • 197
    I'll admit when I started reading this...I didn't think anything of it and didn't see a problem with these shoes for kids. However, after reading the article I completely see your point of view. Kids don't need to wear "toning" shoes rather go on hikes, play at the beach, the park etc. I love articles that make me think differently! - 5/31/2011   7:28:53 PM
    You're not overreacting, I think that's just incredibly inappropriate. I was just talking about this with coworkers today. No way is any child of my wearing short that show butt cheeks! And toning shoes for children? Ridiculous. I don't think it's fair to compare this to the "Let's Move" campaign because Michelle Obama is wanting kids to get up and move, play, or do whatever, and not be concerned about how their butt looks. No child should really have their mind on that anyway. - 5/31/2011   7:12:08 PM
    Its ashame our society can't leave our kids be kids, learn to read at 2, Make them worry about their butts and leggs before there out of diapers. Give them formula till their a year old, along with food, wonder why kids are over weight at a young age? Oh yes video games let get them learn to play video before they can walk. I would like to see kids be kids, not grown before their time. I may be way off but I love kids and hate to see them grow up to fast. - 5/31/2011   7:02:39 PM
  • 194
    These shoes for girls are totally ridiculous. So now these companies are targeting 10 year olds. I would gladly sign the petition to have them stopped. - 5/31/2011   5:49:04 PM
  • LILI777
    A few years back when I was at a good weight, walking wearing MBTs toned my hamstrings amazingly and lessened the appearance of cellulite. Of course, children don't need to worry about cellulite. Also, I'm a bit confused about how any one particular shoe could "promote" exercise! - 5/31/2011   4:55:05 PM
  • 192
    This is dumb. I am not convinced these things even work for adults, but to put them on really young children for toning butts and thighs? And they are only available for girls....start to chip away at their body images right away.Totally unnecessary. Kids need to just play and have fun like ....kids. - 5/31/2011   4:07:45 PM
  • 191
    It is stupid! - 5/31/2011   4:03:05 PM
  • CARIKU_321
    I'm so tired of this companies exploring our children and getting away with it!! Girls have it so hard now a day, they have to look like those anorexic models, and they get sick, very sick and eventually some of them die from not eating, or get hooked on drugs to loose weight, this girls are 5'8 and 120 lbs and think they are fat so they become addicted to crystal meth to look good and they don't, their faces turned yellow, they have acne, they are mean and nasty........and all for what? Men out there like those models but they love real women and if your man don't appreciate your figure then he is not worth your time, he needs to love you for who you are inside.
    I think little girls should be worry about getting good grades and learning important things, like to become a professional and independent intelligent woman that can take care of herself, not about self image at age 7, play with your real dolls not barbies, participate in sports, go shopping with mom for comfortable play clothe and shoes, not pretty dresses and high heels...........
    Sorry if I have insulted anyone, but life is hard because of what people think, well I think that all it matters is how you feel about yourself that counts, not what other think or say you should/shouldn't do.........
    HAVE A GREAT DAY EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 5/31/2011   2:36:15 PM
  • PEONIES2013
    There is no way, no how, I would ever buy these shoes for any daughter of mine. Look at children of years gone by, how did they get muscle tone in their legs? By wearing regular, everday sneakers and playing OUTSIDE, not sitting in front of the TV or computer. Parents didn't pick up McDonald's on way to drop them off at school, order pizza every week, let their video games babysit for them. Parents are the ones who are supposed to encourage their children to play outside, not a fancy, expensive "toning" sneaker.

    And I can tell you right now that if I had a fancy pair of shoes like that, I would certainly not be running around with them on. I would want them to stay as clean and sparkly as they were the day I bought them, and would have put on an old pair of pllay sneakers to go around in.

    Are these shoes even safe for children to do "children" things... like biking? Jumping rope? - 5/31/2011   2:21:01 PM
  • RONIE11
    I personally love my sketchers... I'm on my feet all day and the extra arch support helps me so much... I also can say YOU DO GET A WORKOUT but with that being said I wouldn't be on a tread mill for 8 to 10 hours a day so why would I wear these shoes for 8+ hours a day.. a bit of common sense needs to be aplied here... but for small children thats entirely different.. I had issues with my feet for my entire childhood and my mom put me in the best shoes possible and thats what I do for my children... I also wouldn't sign my child up with a personel trainer.. or make her/him go to the gym every day... but as adults we do.... if my child wanted dance lessons or gymnastics I would suport that.... the bottom line is whats good for adults is not always good across the board... we as parents need to use our brains and comon sense when it comes to whats best for our children... - 5/31/2011   12:42:08 PM
  • 187
    Wow...this is the first I've heard of this. I am appalled! I refuse to buy the adult shoes, so I sure as heckfire am NOT buying them for my children. Maybe someone should work on affordable extracurricular activities for children and better PE programs rather than marketing products to them that is going to scar them psycho-emotionally for life and leave them fighting their 'demons' as we are now.....not necessarily the legacy I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. - 5/31/2011   11:14:45 AM
  • 186
    I would be concerned with children's foot and posture development. They need stable shoes with solid arch support, and these shoes are designed to do the exact opposite. I absolutely do not support them for children! - 5/31/2011   11:07:12 AM
  • 185
    I have a pair of these, they are great. I bought them because they fit my wide feet and were comfortable. But they are hard to get used to, and I think they would be very unstable for little girls. (I have the flip-flops) - 5/31/2011   10:23:11 AM
  • 184
    Girls have enough to worry about with the media showing only skinny people! Leave the girls alone and let them play as children do while they still can. Another way to sell more shoes. - 5/31/2011   10:13:42 AM
  • 183
    Just like banning fast food producers from marketing to young children, we should not allow the media to directly tell children that they are "not hot enough" and need special apparel to become so.

    Then we can focus on the rest of the media establishment and make it so that the average model weight is not 110 lbs and we are not told every day that the only way to be attractive is to be a waif. - 5/31/2011   10:10:47 AM
  • 182
    I do not think you are overreacting. I think this sends just one more message to our already inundated youth that you're not acceptable as a human being unless you fit our 'perfect model' mold.

    Rather than sign and online petition, how about boycotting not just the young girl's shoes, but all Sketchers products. Further, write to the networks that air those commercials and explain that until that ad is pulled, you and your family will not be watching their channel. Instead, you will be taking your kids to the playground, the local pool, going out for a bike ride, or doing some other healthy activity in their perfectly acceptable NON Sketchers shoes. - 5/31/2011   9:59:02 AM
  • 181
    I do not think you are over reacting. The way they are going about this is all wrong. Why target young girls first if child fitness is your aim? Girls already have enough pressure. Also I am not sure these shoes are a great idea for kids, who run, jump, skip, ect, not just walk.
    This being said, I have a pair of toning shoes myself. I am a nurse and am on my feet a lot, as well as being a walkaholic. I find them extremely comfortable. Those who say they have stability issues perhaps didn't give them enough of a chance. The initial feeling of rocking or wobbling throughs some people of, but you get used to it quickly. I feel no less stable then in regular running/ walking shoes. Also, they have eliminated my foot pain (associated with being on my feet for a long time) and improved my gait and instep. Not for kids, but these really are great shoes.
    - 5/31/2011   9:41:43 AM
  • 180
    I loved the commercial, the shoes promise so much. Anyhow, with that said, I purchased my first pair. Were the shoes comfortable. My Mom's feet and back was hurting from standing all day, I got the shoes for her Christmas present. She loves them. For both of us, it helps with back pain. I was sad when mine wore out, so I got a second pair.

    I would be concerned about a child wearing them, the height of the sole would be a major concern, the child could twist their ankle easily while playing. The shoe has it's place for adults, but not children.

    ps. I don't see a difference in my backside or legs but I will be buying another pair. - 5/31/2011   9:03:16 AM
  • 179
    I disagree with advertising (or making!) these shoes for children! I have alignment problems with my knees due to not wearing proper footwear (physician-prescribed orthotics) for a foot condition when I was a kid, and I'm concerned that the wobble motion may cause issues in developing bones.

    All that said, I don't like the Sketchers Shape-Ups at all. I have friends who love them, but they're uncomfortable. I wear the more expensive MBTs, though, and I love them. I had to stop running and doing aerobics (basically anything with foot-to-ground impact) due to foot pain and swelling (unrelated to previous). The MBTs are the only shoes I can wear for more than a couple hours without pain. I wear them to work every day and usually wear them for walks. I'm trying to get back into running now, but I wouldn't wear them for that kind of activity - too easy to trip yourself and too hard to move to the side in a hurry! I can't believe that commercial markets running in those shoes. - 5/31/2011   9:02:57 AM
  • 178
    I went to Sketchers.com to see these shoes for myself. And either it's too early for them to sell them online or they've already pulled the product. There were a LOT of shape up options for men and women, but none for kids ... thank goodness! - 5/31/2011   8:15:19 AM
    It is sad that consumerism peddles its captilistist propoganda to small vulnerable children and foster unhealthy attitudes and beliefs. When I was a child, it was candy cigarettes, etc. There really should be laws prohibiting advertisements that attack youth's psyche! - 5/31/2011   7:37:49 AM
    I just looked at the advert on youtube. If nothing else, it's SO ANNOYING!! - 5/31/2011   7:20:25 AM
  • SOOTY98
    I have had these for about 4 months now and its done a world of good for my feet, legs and I can now walk for a lot longer. But I agree that its inappropriate for young children to wear them as they are still growing. If they start to wear these trainer now they may have problems latter in life. Children programmes should promote all sport activites running, tennis, football etc. I think a perticion should be made to goverment for these types of advertisments and campanies to be band - 5/31/2011   6:36:18 AM
    I can't believe these shoes are good for adults, much less for children who are still growing and developing. How can bone and body alignment not be affected when we force our feet to conform to pressure that does not fit the way they were created? Even for people that find them comfortable, what is is doing to the body that will cause trouble in days to come because of adjusting a a new alignment? - 5/31/2011   6:10:07 AM
  • 173
    agree - inappropriate in the extreme, from the idea to the execution to the ads. - 5/31/2011   5:47:25 AM
  • 172
    Yet another example of Societys double standard whereby men who attempt sexual relations with young gorls are labelled paedophiles and yet parents send their young children out in wholley inappropriate attire.

    Why would you want you toddler to know or care when actually all they want to do is run around and play. Let children be children. Adult life is long enough without starting it so early. - 5/31/2011   5:20:27 AM

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