We’re testing a couple of “fitness shoes” that are the latest craze. I’ve got a new pair of Reebok EasyToners that I’ve been wearing around town. I really like the firm footbed and wide width of the shoes. I also really appreciate that they’re black with just a bit of reflective silver. Why can’t all athletic shoes look good?

My initial reaction is that standing in these shoes is a lot like stepping onto a BOSU, but without the bounce. Took a moment to find a balance point on the pads that shape the sole, but noticed nothing else during my initial walk.

I taught a Core Vitality class in the EasyToners. We do a lot of work coming in and out of lunges, balancing on one leg, and shifting weight from one foot to the next. Here’s where I started feeling the difference between my old Ryka studio shoes and my new Reeboks. Holding a lunge was a challenge – not that I’m unfamiliar with the form, but because there isn’t enough flexibility in the forefoot of the shoe. In fact there’s a big bubble of a pad right where I usually place weight. Once I feel this I can correct for it. I had a similar experience with my balance work, but quickly adjusted. All in all just minor adjustments that I would make with any new shoe.

Walking a half mile home on a gentle uphill grade I really noticed that I was walking uphill. The forefoot is already higher than the heel, so I was essentially moving uphill on flat ground-hence the claim that wearers will use their gluteals up to 28% more than in regular shoes. I have experience walking in negative heel shoes, but I confess my first response was to lean forward to speed up and work my gluteals LESS. Once I leaned back I enjoyed the ride. Tailbone dropped, correcting the excessive lordotic curve in my low back.

So far so good. This week we’ll test them out teaching some other classes. In the meantime, walking upright.