Tell me about MBT shoes, or Sketcher Shape-Ups

Sketcher Shape-Ups are really advertising hard. They’re a brand of shoe modeled after MBT shoes as near as I can tell.

They have sort of a rocker bottom so that you get the motion of walking in sand all the time, thereby strengthening your back, tightening your abdominal muscles, firming your abdominal muscles, etc. etc.

Have any of you ever used them? What did you think? I’m recovering from a severe ankle sprain (was in a cast for a month), and seems like a pair of these could help in my recovery.

Some links for fun…

I don’t know how much actual exercise they give you, but Dang! they are comfy. I’ve been wearing them since xmas

These things look like a replay of the “Earth Shoes” of the late 1970’s.
God knows what ahppened to them-most people who bought them wound up trashing them-they caused backaches and foot pains.

I tried them on yesterday at Sears and they were really comfy to walk in. Unfortunately the ones I tried had a tiny uncomfortable spot where the strap comes across and I knew it would eventually rub a blister.
These were the kind I tried so I’m sure it’s not like that with all of them:

I got a pair of Shape-Ups a few weeks ago and they’re insanely comfortable. You do get a little bit of calf pain the first few days because things are moving a bit differently, but that resolves quite quickly.

The really big difference I’ve noticed, however, is in my foot. I sprained both my ankle and my foot last fall, with the foot sprain being right below the ball of the foot–right where you get the most flex and motion when walking. It had still been bothering when I was on it long term right up till I got the shoes, but with the shoes there is nothing. No pain, no tenderness, no swelling, no stiffness. I think it’s because the rocker allows me to roll up on my toes as I walk without flexing that part of my foot, like a splint that doesn’t make you limp. They were the only pair of shoes I took with me on vacation, where we walked something like 10 miles a day. No foot problems at all, except for a couple blisters from a day I stupidly wore a pair of really thin socks.

The only thing I remotely don’t adore about them is that when you go down steps the rocker can make you feel like you’re about to tip forward, but that gets better over time.

I have a pair of MBT shoes. I have plantar fasciitis, so I’m always on the look-out for anything that would help with the pain. During a bout of pain because I hadn’t changed my shoes often enough for a while, I went to the shoe store to try out the MBTs. I was going to just check them for sizing and then order online. But when I put them on, my pain vanished. I was so astonished, I walked around the store for a while. And still no pain. I asked the salesperson if I could walk around the mall in front of the store to see if the pain would come back. I walked around and it didn’t. They were on sale for less than the online price, so I bought them.

When I got home, I found this article online, talking about people’s mixed reactions to the shoe. One person even implied that she got a stress fracture from the shoe. I had 30 days to return the shoe if I wanted. But I kept them. Here’s my experience so far wearing them for about 5 months off and on.

They can alleviate the pain in the beginning, but the pain in my heel often returns after wearing them for a while. And there’s no set time for when that happens. I’ve gotten a pain right under my toes above the ball of my feet when I’m not wearing them. But that goes away after a while. I’m still watching it.

One of the big reasons that I kept them is because they do improve my posture, and it has helped when my back gets tight. But the real reason is that I feel happier when I’m wearing them often. I don’t know why that is. It might have to do with the improved posture or something. But I’ve noticed that when I’m a little down, putting them on helps my mood a tiny bit sometimes. I haven’t heard anyone else say that, and I know it sounds weird, so it could just be association or something, but that’s my experience.

I’ve not noticed the mood elevation thing, but then I’ve not really had mine very long. I have, however, noticed that if I’m just standing around, like waiting in line, I tend to find myself bouncing and rocking on them. I guess 'cause they’re springy, maybe, and that appeals to my inner 4yo. Maybe that’s why they make you feel better?

I have MBTs, have had them for almost a year. I wear them whenever out and about running (not literally) errands. Mine are VERY heavy, which is fine, I figure that adds to the exercise aspect. I find them very comfortable, and I love the rolling feel of walking in them. But I have noticed one thing: when I come home and my 15-lb dog runs up to me to be picked up and hugged, I have to be sure I have something to lean against during that process, or I will lose my balance. In fact, they seem to be all about balance–when I am standing still, I am constantly having to make tiny core adjustments to stay balanced. Which, again, is the point, I gather. But gathering up a dog (or a child) can really throw you off!

I’ve had my MBTs for a little over a year and I love them. I have nerve and tendon damage in my right ankle, as well as cartilage loss in that knee so walking/running can be very hard on me. These shoes help so, so much. I have no pain in my knee in them and my ankle lasts far longer then in other sneakers. Once I got used to them I didn’t have any balance problems. I have noticed it working out my butt and lower back/core muscles, so as far as that it does what it says it does.

TLDR version: I also have ankle problems and I love mine.

I’ll second (or third) this. They are SOOOOO comfortable. I have knee and joint troubles and they’ve helped so much with that. Well worth the money. Oh whoops, I forgot to say which brand I have. Skechers.

I bought some Shape Up Sketchers this weekend. I adore them. I don’t normally spend that kind of money on shoes but it was totally worth it. They’re so comfy.

I needed new “walking shoes” when I was living in Basel, and I prefer velcro. I’d noticed a pair in the window of a store close to my office; the sole was funky, it looked like a rocking horse’s, uh, rocker, but I decided to give it a try.

They’re about to go to the trash after some 4 years of service; I’ve got another pair (this one with laces). They’re comfy; when I’m waiting for something I like rocking back and forth on them (weeee! my own personal rocking horse! I never had one as a kid!), but, most importantly…

the idjits who come up with dress codes do not count them as trainers, therefore I can wear them to work! YAY!

(My last boss, Sheboss With The Stick Up Her Ass, was one of those people with no style at all who freak out at the sight of a blouse in a color other than white)

Oh, and if I don’t wear them for a while (mostly in summer, where I’m also likely to wear “high heels” in the form of high-back espadrilles), my calves notice it and go “ough? ey! oh well, ok” when I wear them again. My tolerance for flats has gone out the window, too.

Sorry, forgot to say: MBTs.

My wife and I both have Shape-ups, they’re amazingly comfortable. Finally a shoe with enough arch support. I’ve been seeing that a lot of people like these for plantar fasciitis relief.

I especially like mine for walking or standing long distances - they’re great for theme parks and situations where you don’t get to sit down much. They’re not hard to balance in at all. Plus the Skechers ones aren’t bad looking, if you don’t look hard they look pretty much like regular sneakers. The MBT ones are more expensive and most of the men’s ones are kind of ugly.

I saw on that they have wides, too. Since I wear a 14 wide that was an easy enough decision to make, and I haven’t regretted it at all!


I work in a hospital and have seen both the Sketchers and other brands in service. As a Sketchers wearer I can say I IMMEDIATLY felt a difference in my back pain from being on my feet all day. Recently I talked to a nurse who wore them and she said the one downside was she had trouble driving in them (I don’t find this a problem) but “feel my calves!” Her calves were rock hard. No lie. I’ve had a co-worker comment on how much weight I’ve lost in my keister as well.

Like some Danskos I own (for 8-plus years) they will practically never wear out. Worth the investment. And a write-off, if you count it as a uniform expense.

ETA: I have the lace-up kind. I mention it because the strap kind was mentioned earlier.

I have the Sketchers and I love them. I haven’t noticed any improvement in my physical fitness but they sure are comfortable. As Tigger says, they’re bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN! I’ll never go back to normal tennis shoes.

I have MBT’s and Shape Ups . I paid a total of $110 for both. ( $99 for the Shape ups and less than $10 for the MBT brand new. I work at the Salvation Army. When they came in I was like Spongebob jellyfishing!)

I love these shoes because I have plantar fasciatis (whatever, can’t spell it.) My feet have been farked up my whole life and my shoes have always, always, always cost me $100 or more. Birkenstock clogs are my house shoes. Dansko’s ( which never freakin’ wear out and I never thought I would ever find something that would sway me from my love fest for them.) and now these funkadelic shoes.

I am on my feet all day long walking 41K sq feet of tile in a store. I listen to others whine and complain about their backs and legs and I tell them, " Support your arches and you support your body."

I have noticed a marked difference in my butt calves and hamstrings. Yes, I am walking alot and have been since I started this job in September, however, the muscley bits seems deeper, since I landed these shoes in Feb.

My knees, which have been bothering me to almost making me pick up the phone to make a DR’s appointment, don’t bother me now. When you stand, you stand on your arches. So you kinda wobble, like a drunk (at first, you get use to it very quickly.) and are never passively standing there. You are actively standing there.

I loves me my shoes.