MBT Footwear: The Anti-Shoe

As I was browsing through the magazines at the airport this past weekend on my trip back home from school, I stumbled upon an advertisement for these shoes: MBT. The Anti-Shoe. The ‘Anti-Shoe’ gig is what grabbed my attention. At first glance I thought it was a baby or kid’s shoe, but after reading through the advertisement and finding out it was anything but that, I had to laugh a little. The supposed benefits include the following: improves posture and gait, tones and shapes the body, reduces stress on joints, etc. By the way, they cost $250. I just wanted to see what you guys think about shoes like this…design, integrity, cost, etc.

P.S. I did not find these in the SkyMall magazine, although they seem like a perfect fit.

i ran across an ad for these the other day too…

the only judgment i can make is solely based on the aesthetics, for i have not tried them on or anything… but i find the look of the shoe terribly unattractive, although i am curious about how they perform.

I know there’s a bunch of shoe-junkie designers roaming around C77…

…any takers on a quick redesign sketch?

(I too, am fascinated by the apparent technology and thought that went into the function. But damn, they are ugly)

just some visual fun…



I think Tom Cruise rocks these

Aside from the aesthetics, I’m not sure why you would want to constrain your foot movements so much. It seems like the solution is in the other direction.

I dont really get these either, but know at least one person who swears by them. Aesthetically, for sure they are very odd. Although I do remember seeing some of the newer collection at the WSA show this past Feb and some of the newer products did look a bit better upper-wise.

As for the “Anti-shoe” Marketing… Seems 100% opposite to the product and position of the company. If anything, these are a shoe and a half, not a non-shoe! If the entire premise is that the shoe has some benefit, i dont really understand the position to be “anti-shoe”…

belongs in Skymall, indeed. Funny thing is I first actually saw these at 10 Corso Como in Italy a few years ago (one of the best edited fashion/design shops in the world, along with Colette, Paris), where they had “designer” versions of these (special leathers, prints, etc.) selling for 500+ EUR! I suppose some people just go for anything “different” and these are certainly “different”…


I wouldn’t wear those no matter what they do. LOL

Have to agree with you, R. A shoe and a half right there.

It’s fake technology and it doesn’t work - I’ve heard more than one podiatrist say so. They look revolting.

The first ones were the most revolting - all that money for something with an upper straight out of Walmart. Agree with Richard, at least they are trying to make them look better.

They sell like hotcakes by the way. A retailer friend of mine says the only thing that’s keeping the business going is those and Uggs. They have been really really popular for a couple of years, now in the UK.

LOL, that is exactly what I was thinking.

Haha, I totally agree with what everyone is saying here. Here is the actual ad in the magazine explaining their whole “Anti-Shoe” position. Any buyers?? :slight_smile:

That ad is interesting as well. With the text diminishing in size, it has the feeling that the company gets less confident in their statement as it goes along.

Really! We are!
Well, kinda.
i mean we are if you buy our product.

Maybe this should be a one hour design challenge… the antishoe

I’ve been working on a diabetic footwear project for about a year now, and podiatrists recomend shoes like this sometimes because they distribute pressure more evenly across the foot, minimizing pressure points that form ulcers. But there are a lot of better options out there.

Haha, I noticed that too when I looked at the ad for the first time.

Colin-- I was looking at your sketches and work for the diabetic footwear and floor mat. Definitely looks like a challenging area to design for. You’ve got some nice concepts goin…

Thanks Phil

We went with the mat, because of the user research. It turns out no matter how good the shoes are the people don’t want to wear’em. Mainly because they look silly like these MBT’s.

The design of these MBTs are based on rocker bottom model of pedorthic footwear. The foot remains relatively immobile while going through the gate cycle. This is very helpful for people with advance arthritus and other big bad foot problems. Usually this type of rocker bottom footwear is prescribed by a certified pedothist and made custom for the individual’s foot problem. Often the patent will buy a shoe and the Cped will cut it up and add midsole material where the patent needs it. There are a couple of companies that sell rocker bottom shoes in line as well. A Cped ussually supervises the sellection of these shoes and makes sure they aren’t actually doing harm to the patient before letting him/her out of the store.

MBTs are sold to anybody without this consultation. They scare me and I don’t recommend them as they radically change the user’s gate. Their big marketing story is that they help the user loose weight because the sole is so soft, it takes much more energy to walk in them. a very questionable claim at best.

Dept stores love them because their margins are enormous. Well above 60%. and they have huge sell through. I am just waiting for the backlash of people with injuries.

MBT Shoes: These boots weren’t made for walkin’
A hugely popular training shoe which promises wearers better posture and less pressure on the joints can increase the risk of falling over while walking or running, new research revealed yesterday.



shoe guys?

I know there’s a bunch of shoe-junkie designers roaming around C77…

…any takers on a quick redesign sketch?

(I think) MBTs (Masi barefoot technology) are built to emulate walking on soft ground. The heel has a really soft cookie in which makes you stand on the ball of your foot. Try walking around on the ball of your foot for a few hours and you feel what it can do for your leg muscles - surprisingly effective in improving your stability muscles. This then improves your posture. I’m pretty sure they are not built to be a stability shoe or offer support - quite the opposite.

I wear Nike Free which have a kind of similar effect for me in some ways - you rest on your forefoot more because of the lack of support. (they also strengthen your feet in other ways).

They do look a bit wrong though. The brogues are sick.