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Like any great product that comes along, imitators are soon to follow. The MBT line of footwear designed to improve the fitness of your entire body is no exception. There are at least half a dozen different companies that now manufacture a shoe that looks a lot like MBT shoes and claim that their product offers the same benefits as the MBT. Most people know that it is really hard to improve on an original like MBT shoes. However, not all imitations are bad, right? There may be reasons to change the original, and perhaps Skechers Shape Ups has figured out a way to further advance the comfort, support, or design of the MBT.
Where To Buy Skechers Shape Ups And MBT Shoes
The #1 Toning Shoe Retailer sells both Sketchers Shape Ups and MBT Shoes. They provide free shipping, the lowest prices, and have a very liberal guarantee. Click the link if you are interested in purchasing either of these shoes.
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I am not going to lie to you; I preferred MBTs before I began looking into Skechers Shape-Ups, so I know that I was biased against them. I really love MBT shoes for a lot of different reasons. However, that said, I researched Skechers thoroughly and in depth for one main reason. Price. MBT shoes are more expensive than Skechers Shape Ups. I’m not a fool. If I can get my favorite, most comfortable shoe for less money, I will. Okay, let’s get on with the comparison.
Skechers Shape Ups look like a dressed up version of the classic MBT Shoes design. MBT shoes are definitely becoming far more attractive, and their newer (low profile) designs that are more mainstream. Skechers has expanded their Shape Ups beyond walking shoes. They have added running shoe and hiking shoes. Their focus is on toning, while MBT has always focused on addresing health issues with toning being a added advantage. MBT has been designing shoes for fit, feel, and support – essentially orthopedic shoes (they call them physiology shoes). Appearance has mattered but it has been secondary. With the newest Spring and Fall Collections, MBT seriously improved the appearance of their shoes.
Design & Shape
Here’s where my search got really interesting. The whole reason that both companies claim their footwork offers wearers health benefits is that the sole of the shoe is curved, right? Wrong. That is the claim that Skechers Shape Ups makes. Their focus is on the sole of the shoe. The shoe has a curved sole that is attached to an essentially flat shoe.
MBT focuses on the WHOLE shoe (like the whole body – get it?). The curved element of the MBT is not just at impact – it’s in the footbed, too. Why is this distinction important? Because the benefit of the MBT shoe comes from the shoe simulating an uneven walking surface and providing the foot with a natural fitting footbed.
Skechers have a curved sole – but the inside is just like any other shoe – flat.
Winner: MBT Shoes
Who Promises What?
The first thing that I noticed about the Shape-Up is that the Skechers Company makes some pretty bold statements about what these shoes can do for you and your health. This is actually a big deal. If you look at the two companies’ websites, you will see that the language that Skechers uses is very different from MBT.
Skechers Shape Ups: More Results, Faster
- “lose weight”
- “easy to shape up in Shape-Ups”
- “tone muscles”
Most of the language of the benefits of Shape-Ups revolves around looking better and the results are really vague. Yes, it is about being healthier, but the emphasis is really on appearances. AND, the research they offer is not cited or specific. I couldn’t actually tell who did what – just that Skechers, itself, did the research.
MBT Shoes: Pro-Body Benefits
- “relieves tension in neck”
- “eases joint pain”
- “burns more calories”
- "supports the feet and ankles"
- “helps solve knee and hip issues”
- "relieves upper and lower back pain"
The MBT Company focuses on how the shoes will directly impact your entire body and how. AND, they offer a myriad of research – conducted independently of the company – to support the overall health benefits that can result from wearing MBT shoes.
Winner: MBT Shoes
Price (This Will Surprise You)
This is a biggie for most people who just do not have a lot of money to spend on shoes – especially a pair that really doesn’t translate well across different settings (MBTs and Shape-Ups are not great office or formal footwear). The obvious winner here is Shechers Shape Ups. Or is it? Since I am committed to giving you reliable information (and I really like to save money), I did a little math.
The average price for a pair of Skechers Shape Ups is $110.00.
The average price for a pair of MBT shoes is $245.00. There are less expensive designs (approx $170.00), but the average is over $200.00.
So Skechers Shape Ups cost half as much – sort of. I have had my MBT shoes for over a year. They are still as durable, springy, cushioned, and comfortable as when they came out of the box. Many reviews of Skechers Shape Ups (too many) say that the sole begins to peel off after just a couple of months of wear. So, let’s look at those numbers again.
MBT Shoes for 2010 – Buy 1 pair in January that will last at least over a year. $245.00
Skechers Shape Ups for 2010 – Buy 1 pair in January. Another pair in April (generously giving the shoe 4 months instead of what seemed more like a 3 month average). Another pair in August. Another pair in for the holidays. Hmm…. 4 x $110.00 = $440.00 Yikes! Skechers may not be a less expensive alternative, if you sacrifice quality.
Update: Although the average price for MBT Shoes is over $200, there are many style price under $200 and a few are sale priced below $100. See our recommended retailer for the largest selection and best prices.
If you shop locally, you can find Skechers Shape Ups on sale for under $50. You won't have much choice as far as styles and sizes, but there are deals out there.
Winner: MBT Shoes
Where To Buy Them: Shape Ups or MBT Shoes
My Favorite Specialty Shoe Retailer carries both shoes. This family owned shoe retailer was one of the first to sell shoes online in the mid 90s. They carry a large selection of Skechers Shape Ups, and have the largest selection of MBT Shoes anywhere. Free shipping (even for returns), a Lifetime Return Policy, and the best after the purchase support you will find anywhere makes them the most trusted shoe retailer you will find online.
So that’s my research. MBT shoes really do rate above Shape-Ups. Now Shape-Ups are still very good shoes. But in terms of the health benefits that they offer, Shape-Ups fall short, and you do not save in the end.
Oh, one last thing, if you don’t believe any of the above – before you buy online, go to a store that sells both and try on a pair of each. Sorry Shape-Ups, game over! MBT Shoes will win by a landslide.