Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoes are being marketed as the “anti-shoe” as they are supposed to imitate walking without shoes. The MBT shoes design was based on the walking pattern of the Masai people of Africa who walk with a very upright posture. They are also notable for their lack of posture or back problems. The company designed the shoe to try and copy this gait pattern to help these posture and back problems.
There has been some research carried out comparing to walking in the MBT shoe and a normal everyday type shoe. The company claims that the change in the gait pattern can help those with postural and back problems. They also claim that the increased muscles activity is like getting and extra workout. The critics like to point out that the shoes increase muscle activity and that this is a bad thing, but the marketers call this as getting an extra workout.
Do the MBT shoes work? They certianly do work well for some people and they will necessarily work as well for other people. They are probably a very useful shoe to wear for short periods during the day to get a training effect, as this short term variation in walking pattern and posture may be beneficial to a lot of people. Training for using the MBT Shoe is also important. Podiatry Arena has a number of threads on the MBT Shoe or Masai Barefoot Technology Shoe.