Adeena Babbitt, a 33-year old public relations executive, sports her
FitFlops day in and day out. An avid walker like most Manhattanites, she is
hoping that these new shoes -- the very ones that TV host Oprah Winfrey gave a
"thumbs up" to on a recent show -- will tone her butt and legs as she carries
on business as usual.
Developed by a personal trainer with input from a biomechanical engineer,
FitFlops have a thick midsole, which encourages wearers like Babbitt to use
feet and leg muscles more efficiently while walking. Research conducted by
the manufacturer has shown that this thick midsole works the gluteals,
hamstrings, thighs, and calf muscles more.
They are not cheap. FitFlops cost close to $50, much more than standard
But are they worth it? It all depends on who you ask.
"They are really comfortable, so I definitely walk more, but I am not sure I
am seeing any discernable results in my thighs, butt, or calf," says Babbitt,
who started wearing FitFlop shoes about a month ago. She's still optimistic
that she will start seeing a change in her physique. "I love them and
everywhere I go people ask about them."
One thing is clear: FitFlops, which come in a host of colors and are
available at many retailers such as Macy’s and Lady Footlocker, are flying off
In addition to sandals, the company also makes a clog and an ankle-length
FitFlops are "the multitasking ideal," says Katie Neiman, a spokeswoman and
research coordinator for FitFlop Ltd. in London. "They give people the
opportunity to add exercise into their increasingly
The company also reports receiving letters and testimonials from individuals
who experienced relief from back
pain, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, heel spurs, and more
when they started walking in FitFlops.
But even she admits they are no magic bullet. "You will tone -- provided you
walk and don't just stand around," she says. "We strongly advise combining
FitFlops with a healthy diet and a more active
FitFlops: What the Experts Say
While FitFlops certainly have their fans, not everyone is sold on their
"The intentions are good, but these shoes are not all they are cracked up to
be," says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, an exercise physiologist for the American
Council on Exercise in San Diego.
"It has a nice thick shock-absorbing heel that tends to prevent
overpronating, which in theory is a good thing," he says. In people who
overpronate, the foot continues to roll in when it should be pushing off,
twisting the foot, shin, and knee -- and causing pain.
But, he says, "I would rather take someone who is overpronating and train or
teach them how to position their foot or recommend orthotics," he says.
"FitFlops are a temporary solution. What happens when you take them off?"