Rocker Bottom Shoes Specialty By John and Ellen Macaully / January 14, 2015 Rocker bottom shoes (or as you may know them, toning shoes or rocker soles shoes) have grown enormously in popularity in the past decade. Many of its user love the way the feel that they are able to tone their legs while going about their regular daily activities. The shoes use soles which have a slight bit of curve to them, much like a rocking chair might have. Most all of the major manufacturers have a shoe of this type in their current product line, with offerings for men, women, and even children among them. Few, however, have considered the possible health ramifications these types of shoes may have on your body. Not many people take the time to consult their doctor before beginning wearing shoes of this type, as they would (or should) with any other type of exercise program. In short, the gait (meaning: a person’s manner of walking) which these shoes cause their wearer to have are deeply troubling to physicians. They force the person who is wearing them to walk in a very unnatural way, which can be dangerous especially for seniors or those with disabilities. A significant number of patients have explained to their doctors that they keep wearing the shoes even after injury because they “feel it in the right spots.” The science behind these types of shoes is unproven, and should be disregarded completely due to their significantly higher reported incidents of injury. When walking normally, our body’s first response to maintain posture and balance relies heavily on the muscles which are found in one’s foot as well as the ankle. Rocker sole shoes claim to work by intensifying this effect. The way the shoe’s bottom is curved forces the ankle to work much harder than would be necessary if they were on a solid flat surface. When our balance is thrown off even more than is done by our natural walking gait, like for example when one is wearing rocker bottoms, our hips are also forced to compensate for the added stress. A person trying to maintain balance on a rocky boat is a similar situation to what is forced by these shoes. The fact that wearing these shoes intentionally causes you to feel like you are going to lose your balance and fall over should be enough indication that wearing these is not recommended by physicians. There has also been a much higher observed rate of ankle and hip injuries by patients who were wearing these types of shoes. It would be advisable to simply not wear rocker bottom shoes if you value the health of your legs, feet and ankles. Particularly so if you are an elder person or have had mobility issues in the past. As always, consult your physician before beginning any type of exercise regimen or at the first hint of any type of injury.