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Aug 26

Written by: Larry Huppin, DPM
8/26/2010 4:10 PM

Rocker sole shoes have become very popular in the past few years. Often marketed as “toning shoes”, there really is no evidence that they offer any exercise or fitness benefit over regular shoes. Rocker soles, however, have been shown in a number of studies to be an effective  treatment modality for foot conditions including metatarsalgia, forefoot ulcers, midfoot arthritis, ankle arthritis, hallux rigidus and heel pain.

The best known brands of the rocker shoes are MBT and Sketcher Shape-ups. They are not however, in our opinion, the best of the rocker soles. The problem with the MBTs and Sketchers is that they have extremely soft and unstable soles under the heel.  This makes them unstable in the frontal plane.  The manufacturers claim that this lack of stability increases the “toning” function of the shoe, but have no evidence to support this claim.

Instead, if you are going to prescribe rocker shoes for your patients we recommend rockers with a firmer heel. The two best brands we have found are Cogent and Ryn.  For the most part the heel of these brands is firmer and more stable in the frontal plane.  Check your patient's shoe, however, as there may be a few models with a less stable heel.  Also, other companies, including Aetrex and Orthofeet, are planinng on bringing rocker shoes to the market in the near future. 

Use the links above to take a look at the shoes and call a ProLab Medical Consultant if you have any questions.

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