Do Shape-Ups really work?

Flip Flops provide no arch support according to podiatrists.

They're all the rage...and advertisements tout better muscle tone and posture. They're some grand claims for a shoe...and it seems everyone wants to know if they really work.

Are shape-ups all they're cracked up to be?

Podiatrist Dr. Shwetal Patel with Quincy Medical Group said, "Shapes ups are a good shoe. They're made out of a rocker bottom sole and throws your center of balance off and that causes you in turn to be able to use your leg muscles more than what you're used to so can they build muscle tone and cause you to burn some fat absolutely. They should be used with a good exercise routine, but certainly a good shoe."

In fact Dr. Patel says Shape-ups mimic the natural human gait, which is healthy. But he adds they do take some getting used to.

But Dr. Patel says there are some main stream popular shoes that are risky choices for your feet, even if they are in style. The first is relatively obvious...high heels. They hold the foot in a very unnatural position and can lead to long term problems.

The other shoe you should do without are popular with the young and old... flip flops. Though trendy, they lack arch support, eventually causing your foot arch to collapse. But it turns out, even though they're comfortable now, they could make for long-term and painful foot problems later on, ranging from pinched nerves, bunions, hammer toes, stress fractures and early arthritis. Children who wear flip flops now may see serious foot problems in their 20's and 30's.

Dr. patel said, "Some of the problems we see down the road and you may not appreciate them soon and that's why people keep using these but you could see hammer toes because of things you are doing abnormally to these tendons to try to keep that flip flop on your foot, wear and tear on your joints because you are allowing the foot to collapse with no support, so your foot is taking a position over time it is not meant to be, so it may accelerate arthritic problems."

Dr. Shwetal Patel is holding seminar called "Shoe Myths Busted" Wednesday night from 6:30pm to 8p.m. at the Quincy Medical Group building on Hampshire Street.

He'll speak more on the importance of diabetic shoes and separate fact from fiction on claims made from popular shoe brands.