There's a new kind of shoe that has the health conscious going crazy and, surprisingly, it has little to do with fashion. You've probably seen their commercials with slogans like "Shape up your abs and butt just by walking". These "miracle" shoes are called rocker shoes and as of time of writing in 2011 there were three different types of rockers.
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Unstable rocker shoes force the wearer to constantly make micro-adjustments to her posture in order to maintain stability when moving or standing. These shoes use air, special foam such as EVA memory foam or other soft materials to provide cushion while also supporting the entire foot. Unstable shoes force the muscles involved in maintaining balance to constantly work, which strengthens and tones them, according to the makers. Unstable rockers rock in all directions, making them difficult for some people to wear, but they also provide the most fitness benefits. Unstable rocking shoes include Skecher's Shape Ups, the Reebok EasyTone, the Aravon Riley and the Aravon Ria and the entire line-up of shoes from Joya, Z-Seven and MBT.
Stable rocker shoes differ from unstable in that they only rock in a front-to-back direction, as opposed to the 360 degrees of unstable rockers. Although these shoes do not provide the hard work out of the unstable or double rocker shoes, they are more comfortable to stand in and still have claims to health benefits. They also allow those who can't wear unstable rocking shoes due to health or comfort issues to enjoy some of the benefits of rocker shoes. Stable rocking shoes include Dansko's Volley and Veda shoes, Finn Comfort's Samara and Finnamic shoes, the New Balance WW1615 and WW 1645, the Mephisto Sano line and those by Ryn Footwear.
Though less common than the traditional styles of rocking shoes, there is a subtype of rocker shoes known as the "double rocker". The double rocker shoe has two rocking areas, one in the front of the sole and one in the heel that translate the energy of movement from one end to the other through an orthotic foot bed.
There are two companies that make double rockers exclusively and their shoes look different from each other. Cogent Footwear's shoes copy the designs of traditional sandals, running shoes and business shoes and the sole looks much like a traditional rocker.
Z-Coil, on the other hand, makes double rocker shoes that, for the most part, have a unique look with the rocker on the heel being a large spring attached to a rubber sole. Z-Coil makes shoes in a large variety of styles, including casual, business and hiking, most of which have the coil exposed. Double rocker shoes are considered stable shoes, as they work one direction out at a time, but the Z-Coil can also be adjusted to different directions.
Many off-brand or lesser known rocker shoe brands can be found on the Internet, including sandal-type rockers made by Cambrian and Eastland, sneaker rockers made by Aetrex and Cherokee and clog rockers made by Sanita. eBay often has a selection of off-brand rockers such as flip-flops and rocking boots. However, rockers outside of the main brands are often not tested thoroughly and can be risky to wear.
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