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Fashion or Whatever: _Shaping up with Skechers’ fitness footwear_

Skechers Shape-ups is fitness footwear with an enhanced kinetic sole for maximum toning. Columnist Teresa Jue models the pair her mother recently bought for her.

By Teresa Jue

March 1, 2011 11:57 p.m.

When I came home this past weekend, my mother gave me a hint. She got me butt-toning shoes.

I’m not delusional and I have a realistic image of what my butt looks like. But I have been pretty sedentary of late, since my recent hobbies include a whole lot of sitting, napping and more sitting, and I’m sure my mother noticed.

Making the best out of an utterly humiliating situation, I took the passive-aggressive gift from my mother: a pair of Skechers Shape-ups.

Made popular by that sweaty Super Bowl commercial in which Kim Kardashian ditches her hot trainer for a pair of shoes, Skechers Shape-ups is fitness footwear with an enhanced kinetic sole for maximum toning.

According to the pamphlet that came with the shoe, Skechers Shape-ups are designed to “promote weight loss, tone muscles and improve posture” while being “in style.”

Of course, being the vain pessimist that I am, I was wary of the shoe, especially Skechers, which I immediately associate with third grade and glittery platform athletic shoes. I would have never thought that I would be wearing a pair of Skechers well into my adulthood.

But here I am, trying to see if I can tone my posterior down, although judging from the use of Kardashian as a spokesmodel, I would think that Skechers would blow up my butt to a disproportional level.

And despite the flack that fitness shoes have for being ugly, these weren’t too bad, what with the pink trim and discreet Skechers label. And then I put them on.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but it was like walking on clouds of cotton candy or marshmallow fluff. The rounded cushion made it seem like I was walking on expensive mattresses, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.

Then, it was time to test them out in public, where surprisingly no one batted an eye at these inanely high fitness shoes. And then I understood why the shoe came with an instructional DVD, because these things are wobbly, in the sense that I can totally sideswipe into a bush on Bruin Walk at any given minute, especially being as loopy and accident-prone as I am.

However, I wanted to gauge what people really thought about these butt-toners on my feet, or “fitness shoes,” as they are more euphemistically called.

Third-year geography student Jean Wong said she looked up this type of shoe on the Internet before, when she considered buying a pair.

“Research said these shoes would actually be bad for your health and fitness in the long run. I think if you want to get in shape you should just exercise,” Wong said.

I followed up on what Wong said and read about a class action lawsuit against Skechers Shape-ups about a woman who got hip fractures as a result of wearing the shoes.

I still decided to exercise, except with these contraptions on my feet, which I now learned could totally make me decrepit.

As I did my regular routine in Wooden, I felt like my calves were on fire. Doing the StairMaster in these shoes was way more strenuous than usual, and what’s even more embarrassing is that the StairMaster would not stop, so if there’s an “Out of Service” paper taped to the first machine, well, you know whose fault that is.

Running was a whole other unstable story. It wasn’t that I couldn’t run normally, it was more that my gait and posture was modified so I ran looking like Forrest Gump, since my usual slouch turned into straight-posture-ville.

And walking up these hills was a major and ironic pain in the butt. I know UCLA is shaped like a bowl, but wearing these shoes, I thought, “Does it really have to be?”

So, at week’s end, I didn’t really notice more visible toning, but I did notice more leg burning. I got more tired after a day’s walking than I would just wearing regular shoes, so these shoes are a definite workout. So all in all, I’m not entirely mad at my mother for gifting me a present wrapped in a superfluous amount of insults.

However, if you see me or Kim Kardashian with butt casts in the faraway future from the overuse of butt-toning shoes, please don’t laugh and point.

Ever tried out fitness shoes and felt like your butt was getting smaller with each step? E-mail Jue at [email protected]

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