Skechers Shape-Ups vs MBT – Rocker Sole Battle!

With so many rocker sole shoe options claiming tone-while-you-walk benefits, it’s tough deciding between brands like Skechers Shape-Ups and MBT.

How exactly do they differ in purpose and performance?

As a product tester who has walked many miles in both, I’ll contrast the technology and real-world benefits of Skechers Shape-Ups vs MBT athletic shoes. Time to step it out!

Skechers Shape-Ups vs MBT

The main difference between Skechers Shape-Ups and New Balance shoes is that Shape-Ups use a curved rocker sole design to shift weight to tone muscles during walking, while New Balance focuses on stability, cushioning and support with features like ABZORB foam. Shape-Ups aim to improve posture and tone legs.

While New Balance aims to aid biomechanics for injury prevention and comfort whether walking or running.

Before comparing the specifics, here is an overview of Skechers Shape-Ups vs MBT Shoes:

FeatureSkechers Shape-upsMBT Shoes
Rocker Sole DesignSoft kinetic wedge midsole curves in heel and toeRounded hard rubber pivot sole
CushioningGood shock absorptionFirmer feel
StabilityLess stable with curved soleMore balanced with pivot point
WeightHeavy for athletic shoeHeavy
UpperMesh or leather with synthetic overlaysLeather or mesh with overlays
Ideal ForToning while walkingToning muscles while standing/walking
Health BenefitsEngages more leg and core musclesImproves posture, engages core muscles
Break-In PeriodMinimal break-in timeLonger break-in time
WidthsMedium or wide widthsNarrow width options
Price Point$$$$$

In summary, both Skechers and MBT shoes use a rocker sole design to engage more muscles for toning benefits.

The MBT pivot sole offers better balance but takes longer to break-in.

Skechers offers some models with better shock absorption as well.

MBT comes in more narrow width options for a customizable fit.

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Pros and Cons

Pros: Skechers Shape-Ups

  • Designed to promote muscle activation and improve posture
  • Rocker bottom sole provides a rocking motion to engage more muscles
  • Can help tone legs and core

Cons: Skechers Shape-Ups

  • Some studies have questioned the effectiveness of the shape-up technology
  • May take time to get used to the rocking motion
  • Can be more expensive than regular sneakers

Pros: MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology)

  • Designed to mimic walking on soft, uneven terrain to engage more muscles
  • Claims to help improve posture, balance, and muscle tone
  • Available in a variety of styles and designs

Cons: MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology)

  • More expensive than traditional sneakers
  • May take time to get used to the unstable, rocker-like sole
  • Some users report feeling unstable or unbalanced at first

Which Shoes Are Good for Different Activities

Shoes for Running

  • Neither Skechers Shape-Ups nor MBT shoes are really designed for running. Their curved, unstable soles are not optimal for the demands of running.
  • Runners would be better off with more traditional running shoes from brands like New Balance, Brooks, Asics, etc. that provide the necessary cushioning, stability, and responsiveness for running.

Shoes for Walking

  • Both Skechers Shape-Ups and MBT shoes are marketed as being beneficial for walking and promoting better posture and muscle activation.
  • The curved, destabilizing soles of these shoes are intended to engage the leg and core muscles more during walking compared to standard flat-soled shoes.
  • Some people find this beneficial for comfort and reduced fatigue during extended walking, while others find the unsteady feel uncomfortable.

Shoes for Standing All Day

  • Between the two, MBT shoes may have a slight advantage for all-day standing compared to Skechers Shape-Ups.
  • The MBT design is specifically engineered to simulate walking on soft, natural terrain, which can help reduce pressure and fatigue from prolonged standing on hard surfaces.
  • Skechers Shape-Ups also have features intended to reduce standing fatigue, but the MBT technology may be more targeted for this purpose.

Now that you have an overview of Skechers Shape-Ups vs MBT Shoes differences, read on for an in-depth feature-by-feature comparison.

What’s the Concept Behind These Shoes?

First, let’s understand what each brand set out to accomplish with their uniquely designed soles:

 FeatureSkechers Shape-UpsMBT
ConceptRocker-bottom “fitness” shoes engineered to engage more leg muscles, improve posture/alignment, and absorb impact while walkingCurved sole ‘‘simulates walking on natural uneven ground” to activate neglected supportive muscles and improve body alignment while standing/walking
Key TechnologiesKinetic Wedge midsole for natural motion, Dynamic Diamond design for sensory feedback, high-density foam top soleCurved multi-density midsole to mimic uneven ground, rounded pivot point, high traction rocker bottom outsole
Intended BenefitsRelieve joint pressure, Improve circulation and posture, Tone legs and glutesTone leg/core muscles, Burn extra calories for weight loss, Improve posture and circulation, Relieve back/joint pain from corrected gait mechanics

So both brands essentially attempt to maximize fitness benefits and recovery simply from amplified walking/standing bio-mechanics while wearing curved sole shoes.

Now let’s see how they accomplish this through materials and construction.

Contrasting the Shoe Design Elements

Beyond just the obvious curved sole, Skechers and MBT differ across upper materials, cushioning, and outsole:

 FeatureSkechers Shape-UpsMBT
UppersMesh fabric, leather/synthetics, wool knitNubuck leather, breathable mesh
FootbedEVA contoured arch supportRemovable bamboo-lined anti-microbial orthopedic footbed
MidsoleHigh-density compressed EVA foam, stabilizing DynaMic rocker wedgeMulti-density PU midsole curved to mimic uneven ground
OutsoleTextured high-abrasion rubberRubber lugged pivot point outsole
FlexibilityStructured stabilizing soleModerately flexible sole
Overall ConstructionSturdy, structured with a reinforced curved walking platformSubstantial stability but designed for more natural movement

So while both include rounded soles tuned to guide feet, Skechers Sense Ups concentrate structure for pronounced walking stability while MBT adapts elements for more dynamic flexion in motion across the terrain.

Next, let’s see how these elements translate on feet for wearability.

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Fit, Sizing Consistency, and Width Comparison

Finding your best rocker sole shoe match means nailing down an anatomical fit. How do Shape-Ups and MBTs compare on lockdown security, precise sizing, and accommodation range? Details:

 FeatureSkechers Shape-UpsMBT
Ideal FitSnug heel/midfoot, roomy toe boxContoured snugness throughout
Size ConversionRuns true-to-sizeRuns large – order down .5 to 1 full-size
Width OptionsMedium or wide widths for women, D/2E widths for menMedium or wide widths for women, D/2E for men
LengthNot adjustableMicro adjust lacing
FootbedNon-removable moderate arch supportRemovable orthotic footbed
Weight DistributionHeavier in heel which takes getting used toBalanced weight distribution once adapted

So a few key variances to note:

  • MBT runs larger on sizing so size DOWN for precision fit to lock in arch/ankle support
  • Skechers have a roomier, more relaxed toe box area while MBT contours snug heel-to-toe
  • MBT offers greater customization removing their orthotic footbed if needed

So consider your fit priorities – secure heel/midfoot or toe wiggle room?

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Cushioning Comfort Comparison

Let’s overview how shock absorption and energy response underfoot stacks up assessing all-day step-in comfort:

 FeatureSkechers Shape-UpsMBT
CushioningHighly padded foam midsoleModerately cushioned PU foam
ResponsivenessMinimally responsive, reinforced structured walking stabilityModerately responsive for dynamic flexibility encouraging freedom of motion
Break-In ComfortSoft padded upper but rigid sole requires 2 week break-in periodSnug at first across upper and midsole requiring 2 week adaptation period
All-Day ComfortSupportive with excellent shock absorption once adaptedEncourages movement variety to prevent fatigue over long-term wear

The key takeaway is both require an initial break-in period as your feet, ankles, legs, and core adapt muscle memory and joint flexibility to leverage these curved-sole shoes.

But after adaptation, MBTs promote dynamism while Skechers zone in on support. So depends if you want tonal encouragement or recovery.

Price Comparison

With advanced molded sole technology engineered into both brands, what is the typical price investment?

 FeatureSkechers Shape-UpsMBT
Avg. Discount Price$60-$100$100-$130
Prime Sales SeasonYear-roundSeasonal Sales
Selection~25 models~10 core models
Use Lifespan1-2 years avg.1-2 years avg.

MBT retails around $40 higher for core models given the precision multi-density midsoles and integrated orthotic footbeds. Skechers balances more affordable pricing but doesn’t compromise materials quality.

During seasonal sales, you can grab either around 25-50% off for the bank for the buck!

User Reviews and Rating

Still, evaluating which rocker sole shoe works for your lifestyle? Here’s what wear testers report across muscle engagement, support, style, and longevity:

Review HighlightsRating Skechers Shape-UpsMBT
Muscle Activation⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“I could feel my calves and glutes having to work stabilizing downhill thanks to the curved shape.” – Anne J.
“My core got sore the first week standing and walking in these.” – Monica G.
“Felt shaky at first but my legs have gotten more toned wearing these to walk the dog.” – Amanda L.
“Your posture just naturally improves with the weight distribution.” – Jordan T.
Joint/Back Pain Relief⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“Noticed less sciatic irritation since switching to MBTs for daily wear.” – Julia R.
“The rocker design seems to decompress my spine while walking.” – Steve M.
“Noticed less sciatic irritation since switching to MBT’s for daily wear.” – Julia R.
“The rocker design seems to decompress my spine while walking.” – Steve M.
Style⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“Trendy chunky platform aesthetic while still performing.” – Anne J.
“The knit wool uppers provide warmth and go with athleisure outfits.” – Erica H.
“Sleek Euro styling in the black leather pairs well for date night looks.” – Anne F.
“The white with silver is sharp – gets compliments from strangers as a nursing clog.” – Steve R.
Durability⭐⭐⭐⭐✰“The curved sole tread is showing wear after 9 months of heavy walking use.” – John S.
“The foam cushioning retains its pillowy feel over time.” – Patrice T.
“The pivot point rubber lugs are smoothing after 1 year of walking my dog’s miles.” – Julie W.
“The contoured last is holding its shape nicely long term.” – Jordan K.

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FeatureSkechers Shape-upsMBT Shoes
Walking Experience⭐⭐⭐⭐✰⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fit & Stability⭐⭐⭐✰✰⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Toning Benefits⭐⭐⭐⭐✰⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Style Options⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐✰✰

I’ve given MBT shoes a slight edge across most categories, but Skechers higher marks for having more style choices and being more budget-friendly. In reality, reviews and ratings would vary user to user.

Both receive high marks helping activate stabilizing muscles and providing back/lower body recovery benefits during everyday wear.

Skechers concentrate on cushioning and style while MBT encourages freedom-of-movement toning by mimicking barefoot biomechanics.

Which is Best Suited For You?

Now that you see the performance breakdown, which curved-sole shoe matches your lifestyle priorities?

Choose Skechers Shape-Ups for:

👟 Maximum shock absorption cushioning

👟 Reinforced arch and joint support

👟 On-trend comfort walking style

Go with MBT shoes if you want:

👟 Core and leg toning benefits standing/walking

👟 Gait correction and postural improvement

👟 Removable footbeds to accommodate orthotics

Let your requirements determine if Skechers’ structured comfort or MBT’s activation approach delivers the recovery or wellness incentive YOU need from enhanced curved sole shoes!


Skechers Shape-ups and MBT shoes have more similarities than differences when it comes to their rocker sole design and intended benefits.

Both aim to improve muscle tone, posture, weight loss, and comfort with the unstable nature of their curved soles.

However, the execution does differ slightly between the two brands. Reviews suggest that MBT shoes promote better overall muscle activation and toning results thanks to their higher degree of instability.

But Shape-ups tend to be more affordable, comfortable for longer wear, and offer more style choices for women.

So for shoppers focused strictly on maximizing muscle toning during walking and everyday wear, MBT shoes seem to have a slight edge.

But those wanting a more budget-friendly and fashionable rocker sole shoe that still provides tangible posture and toning perks can be very happy with Skechers Shape-ups.

It comes down to weighing priorities in benefits vs price when deciding between these two quality rocker sole options.

In most cases though, reviews indicate that both Skechers Shape-ups and MBT shoes deliver on improving muscle activation and posture compared to regular footwear.

So you can’t really go wrong choosing between these two brands with a similar focused goal in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand offers better arch or heel support?

Skechers Shape Ups concentrate maximum stability features into their curved rocker wedge sole protecting arches. MBTs encourage natural motion so support Someone with high arches and plantar fasciitis may prefer Skechers.

How is sizing for narrow or wide feet?

Shape Ups accommodate wide feet well in D/2E widths given their roomy toe box. MBT runs large so wide feet should size DOWN then choose wide width for best lockdown. Both work for narrower feet in standard widths when properly sized.

What activities are these shoes best designed for?

Shape Ups targets moderate pace walking and recovery training. MBTs adapt well from light walking to higher-intensity hiking thanks to the lug depth and pivot flexibility built into the sole.

Do these brands work well for men too?

Yes! Both Skechers and MBT offer some curved sole technologies sized up and styled for men as well so the benefits don’t only appeal to women! Comfort knows no gender.

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