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'Miracle' Sneakers: Marketing Gimmick Or The Real Deal?

  • USA Today, Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:15 AM
Who wouldn't be interested in a pair of sneakers that promise more shapely butts, legs and abs just by wearing them? The ads call such "toning shoes" an athletic footwear game-changer. But do they work?

Michael McCarthy reports that a growing number of doctors are saying the shoes don't deliver on their marketing promises and warn that they could cause injuries by, among other things, changing a person's gait, or way of walking.

The shoes, which have a rounded sole that stretches the wearer's leg muscles with each stride, represent the fastest-growing segment of the $17 billion-a-year athletic footwear industry, driven by a 90% female customer base. Market leader Skechers has football pro Joe Montana wooing male customers. Sales could explode 400% this year, say some.



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