Fitflops

Everyone these days is looking for an easy, hassle-free way of getting into shape, and in FitFlops - specialist footwear designed to give your leg muscles an extra work out as you walk - many believe they've found the ultimate quick-fix.

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So, do they work? Whenever you buy a product like this the small print is there to remind you that, although they are there to help, they are only truly effective when combined with regular (proper) exercise and a balanced diet.

The truth is some users have reported that they work, and others have been left a little disappointed with their purchase. Ultimately, you get a new pair of decent looking (and relatively affordable) shoes out of it either way - so you might be tempted to at least give them a try.

How they work

The company behind FitFlops claim that the design of their product is such that it essentially puts more strain in your muslces, and in turn helps you tone up your calves and thighs (and, apparently, bum) so you can get into shape on the move.

The standard FitFlop features a chunky sole with three different sections - the heel, the toe, and the middle bit - each with a different density so that your foot gets a full work out with each step you take.

The science behind this has been the subject of controversy, but anyone who's taken a long walk bare-footed will know the affect it has on your muscles the following morning. With a thick, arched sole, it also gives you a bit of extra comfort when compared to a normal sandal (which are often very thin and prone to wear and tear).

Shopping tips

First things first, FitFlop have told customers that they should source their purchases through the official channels and make sure they avoid counterfit imitations (which often look very convincing).

Whilst there is a conflict of interest from their point of view, it's probably some advice that's worth heeding. Poor quality shoes will likely break after a few weeks' use, and probably won't have the same - purportedly fitness-enhancing - design.

FitFlop designs shoes for both men and women, and despite the name they aren't limited just to classic sandals - you can also get loafers and trainers, as well as more formal looking footwear if you need some.

Those ones are little on the pricey side though, coming in at between £80 or £100 for both genders.

So to begin with, we recommend starting out with the standard sandal design you see in all the marketing material. They are only around £25 a pop, and they give you the opportunity to test out the veracity of FitFlop's supposed health benefits for yourself before you commit to a larger purchase.

Be warned though: although the no-frills design has a nice, sturdy sole, the top of the shoe is rather thin and, as such, it may not last you very long - particularly with the sort of rigorous power walking you'll need to practice to make it actually work.

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