Everyone’s up in arms over the the fine slapped onto the Skechers company by the FTC regarding their (admittedly ridiculous) advertising claims that the shoes would do everything from improving posture to magically kickstarting your metabolism into melting those nasty pounds away.
And – shocker! – they used Kim Kardashian to lie for them!
Look, people, if anyone thinks there’s truth in advertising… Well, let’s just say I have some oceanfront property to sell you in Nebraska. It’s got a fabulous private beach too.
Come on, people… I’m a size 16. Even when I work out consistently and watch every single thing that I eat, and lose a grand total of three inches… I’m still a size 16. It happens. My body is happy there. The last time I was at the doctor for a physical, she said I was quite healthy, thank you very much.
The point is that anyone who is my size and shape who thought that they were going to get to look like Kim Kardashian just because they bought a pair of shoes is not only gullible but stupid. There is no magic pill for weight loss. Let me reiterate this: no magic pill.
Would it be nice if every company that sold a product did so completely without embellishing? Of course it would. In my own business I am completely above board and up front. I make it a point of pride to do so. Most small business owners are the same. But when it comes to big corporations, I kind of figure that someone, somewhere, is probably lying.
That’s how you make the big bucks, people.
It’s also why I don’t ever plan to go multinational corporation with my company.
But getting back to my point…
Oh yes. Why I (still) love my Skechers Shape Ups.
Because I totally do.
I own four pairs right now. I’ve worn holes in three others. I wear them for long work days, schlepping wedding supplies. I wore them on vacation – walked upwards of 50 miles in them – and adore them.
Yup. I bought Skechers Shape Ups. More than once. I’ll continue to buy them too, despite the advertising, um, miscues.
Because that funny little rounded back on the shoes? It’s done a lot for me. And made my walking a heck of a lot better.
You see, when I was ten years old, I stepped in a gopher hole during PE at school. I didn’t know it at the time, but I broke my ankle. I also apparently aggravated some already-relatively-loose tendons. I stayed off my foot for a week or two, thinking it was sprained (yup, thanks mom for NOT taking me to the doctor to get that ankle checked out!). And then went on my merry 10-year-old-tomboy way. Back to volleyball practice. And soccer at lunch. And running around the playground like a hooligan.
And every few months I’d step on that ankle in just the right way. And it would give way. Wrench to the left or right, painfully rolling, twisting, and tearing. It would swell to bowling-ball size. I’d ice it, elevate it, stay off it. Or limp around like an idiot in heels, trying to make sure my job got done (oh yes, I recall very well the day of the Yo Yo Ma concert downtown when I didn’t bring any flats with me and had to limp around for three hours straight). I’d deal with that for almost twenty years before a doctor (finally!!!!) sent me to physical therapy for it.
I went diligently for months, learning to balance on a balance ball, building up my strength in the ankle. It’s just a bad tendon, they think, but every time it twists, it gets weaker. Still, there are things I can do. Exercises. It helps. I still do them. But the thing is, the tendons can’t really be strengthened. Only babied. Eventually they figure I’ll have to get surgery to fuse together the bones.
Let’s just say that’s not a good option for me.
I have to admit that I probably would not have tried the Skechers Shape Ups had a friend not told me that her mother’s doctor recommended them for ankle stability. I’d seen the commercials. I thought they were stupid (I still do). They actually turned me off buying the shoes which… I’ll stop short of saying, “the shoes that have changed my life,” but they’ve come close.
I remember thinking, “How the heck can a pair of shoes improve your stability?” and also, “Ugh, now I’ll look like all those stupid people who wanted a tight butt from the commercials…” but I went to my local Big 5 and tried them on.
And they felt… Very strange.
I’m a toe walker by nature. It’s part of the reason my ankles were unstable (probably the biggest reason, actually). So to have these (big, heavy) heels on these shoes felt… Unnatural.
But I tried them. I consciously walked heel-first in them. Rock-step, rock-step. It felt kind of nice. Awkward. But nice. I was sure I looked like a clown with big strange shoes on my feet. But hey, I could feel my ankle engaging with every step.
So I bought them.
A day or two later they didn’t feel so awkward. I learned how to walk properly in them. Because my heel was making contact with the ground first – subconsciously, once I figured out how to use them – I had very little chance of twisting my ankle.
Do I still? Of course. I’m a klutz.
But it’s rare that I’m just walking, in my Shape Ups, around the house or the office or the block, and stumble for no reason. I used to do that a lot. I’d just be walking, on a perfectly flat surface, and – BOOM! – I’d twist my ankle horribly and be in pain for a week or more. Now, if my ankle wrenches, it’s because I was running, or I didn’t see an uneven patch of ground, or I wasn’t in my Shape Ups. Because I still walk toes-first in my other flats. I’ve tried to train myself but it’s my natural way to walk. Which is why I like that it feels very strange in Shape Ups, which forces me to walk the way other people do – heels first.
These shoes are good for me.
And about all the claims of how they’d make you lose weight? Meh. They’re about as founded as the late-night infomercials that claim to have the latest fat busting exercise machine that you only have to use for five! minutes! a day! I do actually feel like there are certain muscles that are more toned since I started wearing them – and I can definitely feel said muscles at the end of a long day wearing my shoes – but there’s not really a good measurement for that. And since I’m pretty much always going to be a size 16, I’m not too worried about it.
I’m just really happy these shoes exist.
So everyone who’s been badmouthing Skechers and Shape Ups wearers, can you please lay off?!? Not everyone who bought them was duped by the company. Not everyone who bought them actually bought into the claims that they’d make you drop a zillion dress sizes in a week. And some people actually really find them to be good shoes. Gimmicks aside. These shoes actually made a difference in my life. Not the one they claimed to make. But a difference nonetheless. I plan to wear them for a really, really long time. I hope they keep making those funny-looking shoes forever. Because I love them. Still.