I have been walking for health off and on for several years. I never invested in a pair of good walking shoes. I always figured just any old sneaker would do. Then I started noticing Sketcher Shape Ups commercials on television, which planted a seed in my head that I had to have these shoes.
I began doing my research. I found there are many different walking shoes on the market. I wanted walking shoes that did as the Shape Ups purport to do: boost your walking routine, add to your workout, and better your posture.
I found there are similar shoes out there, like MBT, which prompted me to read reviews on both shoes for comparison. Most reviews I read about both shoes were good and most consumers liked them.
Next, I started doing price comparisons. The Sketchers are generally less expensive. In addition, if you really shop around, you can find great deals.
Originally, I intended to get the Shape Up sneaker type shoe. However, I could not find my width size in the store to try on. This put me back online only to find wide width for women's Shape Ups have to be accommodated by purchasing the men's equivalent. This threw a wrench in my shopping because no store that carried the shoes had them in men’s version.
I considered ordering them online but found the men's sizes to be more costly. I decided to wait.
The commercials kept taunting me. Therefore, I started looking for more alternatives. Then I came across a review from someone with wide feet like me. They opted to buy the Trim Step style, which has the same Shape Ups step design but is more like a sandal. I found the shoes online and ordered them.
The Trim Steps arrived the next day. I immediately put them on. The width fit a bit snug but livable, which is working out as I break the shoes in. The shoe length felt longer than they should for the same size shoe in a different brand/style. With socks on, the length issue is not a problem.
Shape Ups come with an introductory DVD with an extended version of the television commercial and two workout routines: fifteen and thirty minutes. The workouts are okay but anyone who has taken gym class in school already knows these moves.
The Shape Ups are pretty much what they claim to be. Walking in them is cushy and it takes a little time to get used to them. I can feel a difference in my stride. I have noticed an extra oomph in my walk workout and my legs appreciate it.
The leather uppers are good quality. The bungee lacings seem as if they will lose elasticity over time. The Velcro straps have pulled open on me while walking a few times, so they are not very strong. However, the sole is fantastic and seems very durable.
Would I buy the Trim Steps again? Probably not. Would I buy Shape Ups again? Most likely, if I can get a wide width for a decent price.
Update On Mar 23, 2010: I wanted to post a little update about my Shape Up Trim Steps. The initial tightness around the width has loosened up and they are much more comfortable. Given this, and how much I am liking the shoes effects, I may reconsider my statement about not purchasing the Trim Step style again. I may even purchase the more expensive men's Shape Up sneaker rather than wait for a women's wide width.
Having walked in these shoes for several months now, I am noticing a vast improvement in my butt and inner thigh area. In light of this review, I decided to evaluate how this is happening by really paying attention to how I walk in these shoes compared to others I own. The sole action of the shoe design really makes you walk heel to toe. Your stride is more exaggerated and you are forced to step off your toe, which essentially causes you to work the back of your leg more. The inner thigh workout seems to come from the center balance you gain from the center of the shoe. The more I walk in my Trim Steps, the more I like them.
Update On Apr 18, 2010: While shopping at Academy recently, I found they now carry the men's Shape Ups sneaker (about $109 for them). They have also added many other styles and colors to the women's selections. Another addition they added to their stock is a variety of Sketchers Tone Ups flip-flops for 39 bucks.