**This post picks on Reebok not because they sexually objectify women less than Nike in their ads or because Sketchers didn’t market butt-toning shoes first, but because Reebok currently making a killllliiinnnggg on these shoes. We’re talking billions.**
Ever since I saw the first advertisement for Reebok’s butt-toning shoes on tv I was so angry for several reasons.
1) These shoes take advantage of women with poor self esteem, or women that feel guilty for not having time to work out, who think that wearing shoes can work out your butt. Face it – Reebok hires women with already great butts and legs to model these shoes. Even Nike admits that the health benefits Reebok promises are unfounded and a just “quick fix” solution.
Reebok states: “Discover a 28% more of a workout for your butt, up to 11% more of your hamstrings and calves. So 88% of men will be speechless, 76% of women will be jealous, and 0% will know the real reason is all in your feet.” 28% more of a workout than what? Wearing normal tennis shoes?
How does the shoe even “work” at all? Two balance pods under the heel and forefoot create instability when the wearer walks, forcing the muscles to work harder. This is the same instability you would experience when walking in high heels. In fact, some sources say that these shoes can actually do more harm than good.
Natural Bias says that Reebok Easytones prioritize appearance over optimal function:
Although unstable surfaces can be beneficial for rehabilitation and injury prevention, this doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea to be regularly walking on “balance pods” that are embedded in rigid soles.
Furthermore, the toes provide support and neuromuscular feedback which is important for balance and is likely to play a role in promoting proper walking mechanics. It seems that the “balance pods” in Reebok’s EasyTone sneakers would reduce toe function even more so than a normal sneaker.
Another concern is that the slight instability created by the EasyTone sneakers likely makes them inappropriate for certain activities, especially sports. Any activity that demands additional strength, balance, and agility, which can be something as simple as running on a bumpy sidewalk to catch a bus, will increase the need for stability.
Because Reebok’s EasyTone sneakers are intentionally designed create slight instability, they oppose this need and can potentially increase the risk of injury in such situations. Although most people might consider this to be a matter of common sense, I’m sure there are some who would assume that the EasyTone sneakers are safe to use for any activity that regular sneakers could be used for.
2) The ads used to sell these shoes sexually objectify women. In nearly all of the ads women’s asses become the defining characteristic of women’s bodies. Literally, women are a sum of their parts, and most of the time their faces aren’t even shown (as in the ads above and below).
Here’s one of Reebok’s ads which characterizes boobs as bickering women competing for male attention. Kjerstin Johnson for Bitch Magazine also points out that their advertisements assume a heterosexual audience as noted by Reebok’s own percentages and their advertisements which refer to men’s attraction.
These ads also sexualize women with full-on nudity. Keep in mind – shoes can’t make you beautiful. But Photoshop, great lighting, self esteem, and good genes can! And most assuredly, no shoes can make you curvy or give you beautiful breasts.
Women! Are we buying sex, self esteem, or shoes? Can’t we work out to be powerful? To be healthy? Do we need sports bras that accent our workout shorts and waterproof makeup for the gym? (The answer’s no.)