Empirical evidence backs up what most of us knew all along.
The absurd “toning” shoes that companies are now making a pretty penny (it’s a $17 billion a year industry already!) with that promise to tone various parts of the body or burn more calories compared to regular shoes are debunked by a couple independent studies at UW-La Cross. They tested energy expenditure, muscle activation in a number of different muscles, heart rate, VO2, and RPE (rating of perceived exertion) between regular running shoes (New Balance) and several “toning” brands: Sketchers Shape-ups, MBT, and Reebok EasyTone and apparently found no statistical significance between them.
It should be noted that these 2 studies are not yet published in peer-reviewed journals. The studies are also small in nature, however data should come before commercial claims do, and so far there is no credible supporting evidence – “studies” from the shoe companies I am unable to find in peer-reviewed journals.