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Masai Barefoot Technology shoes claim to cure what ails youWant to reduce cellulite? Improve your core strength? Well, lace up a pair of MBTs and start walking. CNET News.com's Kara Tsuboi puts the latest shoe technology to the test. She talks to a personal trainer and a podiatrist to see if there's any merit...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Do you like taking long walks on the beach? Not for romantic reasons, but for exercise. Well there's a new high-tech shoe out there that claims to mimic walking barefoot in the sand in order to give you all those same great health benefits. Working your legs, your gluts, I think we ought to check this out. Whoa, that's cold! The shoes are called MBT, short for Masai Barefoot Technology. >> That's the first physiological footwear meaning that it benefits the entire structural system, so it's not just working on the feet like orthotics would work on the feet, it's working on the structural system, the circulation, it's working on your muscle groups. >> Neil Block [presumed spelling] the owner of the San Francisco based Nomadic Outfitters argues the shoes are ideal for people with joint problems or those who want a full body work-out or those who wanna even remove cellulite. >> It doesn't feel like a work-out, which is the beauty of the shoe. All you have to do is wear it. >> Designed by Swiss engineers and inspired by the Masai tribes in Africa, the curved sole throws off the body's stability forcing you to balance on the center of your foot. >> It's basically a portable Pilates and it's build in core strength in your quads, in your upper abdominals, so you're being held and as you wear them longer, it's like you're in a constant mounting pose. >> Perfect posture however, has a price. A pair of these pumps starts around 230 bucks. Another commonly heard criticism of the MBTs is their looks. >> I call them the [inaudible], kind of sexy ugly. >> Well, start me up. Time to give them a try myself. >> Think [inaudible] cute little ballet flats and hello MBT. >> I do feel like my shoulders are back a little further already. >> Yes, alright we're leaving Nomadic Outfitters to give these babies a test drive on the streets of San Francisco. Let's go. Feels weird already. ^M00:01:58 [ Music ] ^M00:02:04 >> This has, kind of become more like a status thing, in a way that would people see these MBTs, like, whoa, it's an MBT, it's cool, like kind of cool now. >> Well, that all depends on who you ask. >> What do you think of these shoes that I'm wearing? Be honest. >> To be honest, I think they're like slightly orthopedic. >> Would you ever buy them? >> How much do they cost? >> 240. >> Probably not. >> They remove cellulite? That's a hard one to believe. I always look for comfort. Things that make my feet feel good. I'm not too worried about the rest of it. >> Would you ever try on? >> I would, I would. They look great. I like the, that you have some height in the heel too. >> These are supposed to remove cellulite, improve your posture, increase muscle tone. We're doing a demo right now. >> Okay, well you don't look like you have much cellulite. I guess they're working. >> I'm only wearing them for 10 minutes, but thanks. Would you ever buy something like this? >> Not for a gimmick like that, no. >> That's the question. Are they a gimmick? Or just wearing the shoes really ease pain and provide a workout? >> Most of us want something that's gonna be a quick fix, especially if there's something included in pain in there anywhere. But a shoe is probably not going to solve all of our problems. >> Stacey Earl, a muscle activation technique specialist argues you need to get to the real source of your pain. >> I really though like they're a very rigid shoe. They were soft enough, but in the end, would I wear a pair? No. And I wouldn't put a client in a pair. I really thoroughly believe that I need to figure out what's going on with them first, make all the corrections that I can to get the muscles to fire properly to support them. And I really wouldn't want to use the shoes as band aid. >> I've done some research and interestingly enough, the studies that I've done with the MBTs shows that they're really not any better than a really stable shoe with a good orthotic. >> Dr. Jenny Sanders owns San Francisco's financial district Foot and Ankle Center and says that while she hasn't seen any injuries from the MBTs, she can't recommend them either. >> One, they're expensive, they run about $250. Two they're heavy, so a lot of people have difficulty adjusting to the weight of them. Three, they're big, so they don't work for every foot type. >> Bad or future technology, you try it on. I'm Kara Tsuboi reporting for CNET News.com ^M00:04:33 [ Music ]