Educating Patients On Excessive Wear Of Skechers Shape-Ups

Jenny L Sanders DPM

Another patient came in today with hip pain, heel pain and metatarsalgia secondary to excessively worn Skechers Shape-Ups. These shoes are everywhere (podiatry conferences included) and many patients have jumped on this “lose weight and tone while you walk” bandwagon.

Unfortunately, what patients do not realize is that when these shoes wear out — and they wear out fast — significant lower extremity problems can arise. While the soft medial EVA is initially good for shock absorption, it compresses quickly. This creates an excessively pronated shoe, even when barefoot pronation is otherwise minimal.

The above image is of the Skechers Shape-Ups my patient brought in today. Watching her teeter totter down the hall in these unstable shoes rivaled even the wobbliest high heels I have seen.

If your patients opt to wear these shoes, make sure you instruct them on how to determine when the shoes are worn out. Even the best treatment plan will be ineffective if your patient returns to wearing these shoes.


Interesting! I was wearing a pair (by another company) and a physical therapist walking behind me made mention that I was really turning my feet in. I had not even noticed. When I took off the shoes, I noticed that sure enough, the inner edges were really worn and throwing my feet out of alignment. It happened so gradually over time that I thought they were comfortable. I will probably not get another pair. Thanks for increasing awareness!

This whole situation drives me bonkers. The technology surrounding this wave of destabilizing rocker sole shoes is quite old and has significant clinical efficacy.

In situations where the individual underwent a rearfoot or midfoot fusion, or has significant midfoot arthritis, the combination SACH heel and rocker profile can help increase activity levels and reduce pain. For those with relatively healthy lower extremities, the overall design of these shoes can contribute to unnecessary lower extremity deficiency.

I personally don't even like using the solid rocker sole designs (Aetrex, PW Minor, Sanus, Wolky, etc) unless there is specific pathology where I need to ultra-stabilize the midfoot and remove ground forces to the forefoot.

Seems to me that acquiring tighter buns is a poor trade-off for foot pain and reduced activity.

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