Since the MBT debuted in the late nineties, other companies have been scrambling to manufacture a shoe that can not only compare to the MBT but also outwear and, of course, outsell. Reebok is one of those companies. Reebok is also a company that has been producing shoes – particularly sports and outdoors footwear – much longer than MBT. With the Reebok EasyTone, has Reebok managed to develop a shoe that offers the same benefits as the MBT for a fraction of the cost?
The Reebok EasyTone Difference
Unlike other competitors, Reebok did not attempt to reinvent the MBT. They actually designed a shoe that claims to offer health benefits using a different shoe design that results in a different step altogether from the MBT. The MBT is known for the fact that the cushioned sole forces you to roll forward, leading to a long step and stretch. The Reebok does something different. The sole of the shoe has two “bumpers” of cushion at the toe and heel. (These are also referred to as “balanced pods.”) These bumpers result in quicker heel strike and a quicker toe strike. So instead of a longer stretching step, you walk with shorter, quicker steps. Two very different sets of mechanics and technology. So right off, I am impressed that the Reebok Company has attempted something new. But how does it perform?
Reebok EasyTone Performance
Of course, like the MBT, Reebok EasyTones are supposed to increase muscle tone and strength. The entire collection is designed (in type and style) as athletic footwear. These shoes are made for exercise. They provide the same standard of design and quality that comes with all Reebok shoes – that’s a good thing! That said, Reebok makes wonderful trainers and fitness shoes, but their EasyTones don’t quite make the cut.
They do create a more unstable walking surface, but not to the same degree as the MBT. I suspect that the decreased sole thickness was to create a more visually appealing shoe (something that stands out less in a crowd), but the results stand out less, too. They are easier to walk in, but I felt like I was getting fewer benefits because of that. The point isn’t exactly for it to be “easy.” Moreover, I found the forced shorter, quicker steps to be quite uncomfortable. These shoes almost demand a workout as opposed to MBTs which just generate it with an easy stride. Easy Tones also did not offer the level of support or foot massaging comfort (probably from the quicker steps).
Reebok EasyTone Pros:
- Wide variety of colors and styles, including flip flops
- Attractive, trendy look
- Light & flexible
- Forces more effort in walking than standard shoe
- Offer statistics to demonstrate results – such as 28% more muscle tone in your calves
- Exercise video option to get the most out of your workout
- Competitively priced
Reebok EasyTone Cons:
- The “bumpers” are not that thick
- Their research is conducted in-house by Reebok – this always makes me question the objectivity of the results
- BIGGEST CON: Everything the Easy Tone does, the MBT does better!! (except for price)
- Wide variety of colors and styles, including sandals
- Attractive, trendy look (especially with spring line)
- Light & flexible
- Better traction
- Improved body balance and strength
- Muscle toning and strengthening
- Better posture and steadier gait
- Relief of tension
- More stable arch support
- Proven to correct physical problems (like back & neck pain, plantar fasciitis)
- Supported by independent research
- They are heavier shoes
- They are a bit more expensive ($117 - $435)
Here is a video that provides an overview of the benefits of MBT Shoes:
The Easy Truth
MBT shoes are phenomenal – truly incredible in what they offer. They have loads of independent research to support their claims and a very loyal following. I am part of that following, but I am also objective. Reebok makes great sneakers, and Reebok Easy Tones do deliver to a degree, but the same degree as the MBT. While I am impressed by the Reebok EasyTone on a lot of levels as an alternative fitness shoe, it just does not offer the same health and fitness benefits that the MBT does. MBTs are worth the extra price if you are looking for the complete benefits that a thick, convex sole shoe can offer. With these kinds of shoes, you get what you pay for.
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