About MBT Shoes
What is MBT?
MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology. Simply put, these are shoes that were designed to simulate walking around barefoot in the sand. Since this is a natural condition for the foot – as opposed to wearing shoes – there is thought that these newly designed shoes would be able to create a more healthful step. Designed with a curved sole, the foot needs to walk in a slightly different manner in order to keep from falling over, but the double layered design is helping to cushion the foot the entire way.
These shoes are meant to be worn on a daily basis in order to allow the body to move in a more natural way. By making the body change the way it touches the ground, the core muscles of the body need to engage more, resulting in possibly a flatter stomach and a stronger back. With all of the back injuries and problems that plague our sedentary lifestyle, these shoes seem to be the antidote to our office job lives.
MBT Shoes were virtually unheard of just a few years ago, but since their introduction to the U.S. market in 2003, the company has doubled its sales every year. The latest sales figures show that MBT sells over a million pairs of their ‘anti-shoes’ every single year. What’s the big draw? Well, according to many of the top fitness figures around the world, MBT shoes are more than just footwear. They can help you get in shape and stay in shape if you wear them regularly.
Where Did They Come Up with the Idea?
When the designers were first coming up with the idea of MBT shoes, they looked to East African runners. Noticing that they trained barefoot for races, even marathons, the researchers began to wonder if their lack of injuries and pain was due to this lack of footwear. By watching how the foot hit the ground, they began to see that the rolling motion of the foot engaged the rest of the muscles of the body, stabilizing it and protecting it from harm. But since the researchers realized the people weren't about to run barefoot on the pavements of their cities, designing a shoe became the top priority.
How MBT Shoes Can Get You in Shape
MBT shoes are designed on one basic principle that is well-known to physical therapists. The body responds to instability by making muscular adjustments to combat instability and rebalance itself. In other words, when the body is off balance, it works to readjust itself. That readjustment uses muscles that are not needed when our bodies are artificially stabilized – and the readjustment extends much further than your feet. In order to get your body ready to take the next step when you are walking on a yielding surface like sand, you will use muscles in your feet, ankles, calves, the front and the backs of your thighs, your glutes and your abdomen. That is a whole lot of working out without even thinking about it.
Research studies have shown that walking in sand actually expends from 1.75 to 2.35 times the energy that you use when walking on flat, hard ground. Even better, you are working harder, but your body is taking less punishment – a yielding surface like sand puts far less stress on your joints because it absorbs the impact of your weight rather than rebounding it up through your body.
Less Stress, More Work
It all adds up to more activity and effort expended to walk in MBT shoes. Any fitness buff knows that more effort and more muscle activity results in better tone in the muscles involved. In addition to helping you tone your muscles by increasing the activity and effort that you put out, MBT shoes also make it easier to put in the effort.
The same research shows that MBT shoes put as much as 19% less stress and pressure on your knee and hip joints. That means that you can exercise more often and longer without the pain and risk of stress injuries on your ligaments, joints and muscles. It also makes MBT shoes an excellent choice for people who work on their feet all day long. Nurses, restaurant servers, food service workers and retail sales staff could all potentially benefit from wearing comfortable, stress-reducing MBT Shoes, not only in stress and pain relief but in getting a workout while you work.
A Healthy Way to Lose Weight
Though MBT Shoes have been well-known in Europe since 1996, they have just started making their reputation here in the United States. One of their biggest selling points among women of all ages is their reputation for helping you lose weight and tone up your muscles. In Europe, MBT Shoes are rated as medical equipment and marketed as a fitness aid. The design of the shoe with its unusual rocker bottom and three part inner sole was engineered to make your body work the way it was built to work. That ‘work’ includes increasing muscle activity and decreasing strain on your joints and tendons. In the process, the Masai Barefoot Technology built into the shoe encourages better posture, better muscle tone and more energy expenditure in everything from standing still to running full tilt.
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