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MBT – A Shoe That Sucks

In January, my mom got me a pair of MBT walking shoes. I asked for them, making this essay on their utility not her fault. Regretfully, I must report that the MBT has to be one of the biggest rip-off’s in the history of footwear. Allow me to explain.

MBT is a shoe that looks like geriatric wear. The sole is rounded, with most of the padding under the middle of the foot, causing a rocking motion from back-to-front when walking. On average, they cost $250, though they can be had for less on Amazon and other sites around the internet.

After hearing about the awesomeness of these shoes from several people, I used holiday funds from my mom to buy my own. I threw myself into my workouts, walking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Charleston to Mt. Pleasant and back several days a week, a five-mile round trip. The walking bed is concrete, an extension off of one side of the bridge for pedestrians and bikers to utilize.

By April, my MBT soles were worn down to the under sole on the front toe. June saw them further worn on the outer edges of the heels. Given that I was gone for most of June and didn’t wear them much in July due to the hellacious temperatures in Charleston, August finally found them completely worn out.

Yes, I could tell that they worked my hamstrings and bottom differently than regular walkings shoes. Absolutely, they changed my gait and increased the strenuousness of my walks.

In the end, though, for the amount of money invested, that these shoes wore out in less than four months is unacceptable. I made them go for eight, but that was through sheer laziness on my part. I will not buy another MBT shoe if the quality is going to be this inferior. Today, I purchased a pair of Adidas sneakers with fun pink stripes. They were cheap, but I suspect they will last more than four months.

When they wear out, what should I purchase next? Has anyone tried the Sketchers version of MBT? Or the Reebok type? I’d really appreciate any feedback from readers for future sneaker purchases.

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. Michael Carnell #

    I miss walking the bridge! I love that walk. Do you do the annual bridge run? And yes, this really is lazy ole me writing this.

    I know nothing about these shoes, but I can tell you this. Everytime I have believed the hype and thunder surrounding a product like this I have been disappointed. I don’t know if it is the way I use things or the willingness of others to falsely proclaim weak products, but it almost never fails. Especially with items like shoes that are so personal.

    Btw, my shoes normally wear out from all the teeth marks. Having ones foot in ones mouth all the time tends to do that.

    September 19, 2010
    • Michael, I don’t run. Ever. When I got done with 9th grade PE, I vowed I would never run again, and I haven’t.

      I guess I should’ve realized these shoes were hyped, but several people told me how much they loved them, too.

      September 19, 2010
    • I didn’t mean to imply that you had to have run the bridge. I walked it in the Bridge Run two years ago. It was a lot of fun – of course that was because i was doing it with friends.

      Trust me, I don’t just run willy nilly. You can rest assured if you see me running that there is something chasing me. And that it is above ordinary in the scary or dangerous category.

      September 19, 2010
      • I had to run today to catch MTM in the car, because he didn’t see me walking back from the bridge. Running just a few yards wore me out. I’m a wus.

        September 19, 2010
      • So, does he do that “wait for you to get close to the car then pull up” trick? I love that. ;) Not that I would ever do it to my wife, of course….

        September 19, 2010
      • I cut through a parking lot, and he didn’t see me, so I had to run to catch him at a light before he left me.

        September 19, 2010
  2. Melinda Corley #

    I purchased a pair of the Sketcher shoes. I love them. I read the instructions, to take it slow on beginning to wear these shoes….but did I pay attention…..oh no….I hit the Tanger Outlet mall full force. The shoes have a very comfortable feel and I was greatly enjoying walking in the shoe, I hit about every store walking in these shoes, thinking to myself, hmmmmm….maybe these shoes are over rated for what they are suppose to do!!!!! Finished up my shopping, and the rest of my day and hit the bed.
    I woke up the next morning…….oh boy…..I could hardly walk, the back of my legs and my butt felt like I had ran 5 miles. I assumed then that the shoes were the cause for the next 3 days of soreness.
    I actually wear these sneakers just here and there, I have oodles of other sneakers, but these are the most comfortable pair that I have. I will be purchasing another pair once these start looking to shaggy, instead of just a pair of regular sneakers. I love my pair.

    September 19, 2010
    • Melinda, I may try the Sketchers next. Thanks for this glowing review of them. :)

      September 19, 2010
  3. michael maher #

    The nice thing about the soles of the MBT is that one cannot be stable on one foot, thus making kicking your husband in the behind near impossible.

    September 19, 2010
    • Michael Carnell #

      Wives will always find a way!

      And where is everyone today? They are all either very lazy or care nothing about shoes. Come on people, have you no sole?!

      September 19, 2010
      • I was out walking the bridge, from my house to Mt. Pleasant and back. Takes a LONG time. Then, I had to clean for the English people to come back tomorrow night.

        September 19, 2010
    • I am a woman of many talents, Dear. You never know……..

      September 19, 2010
  4. michael maher #

    Maybe they’ve all stepped out…

    September 19, 2010
    • I hate it when you try to one up me! You such a heel…

      September 19, 2010
      • michael maher #

        I am sorry. I will try to toe the line, and not always be the punster who steps in last.

        September 19, 2010
    • There you go again, trying to sock it to me. If you don’t stop that, I am going to have to put my foot down!

      September 19, 2010
      • I just don’t even know how to step in to this…….

        September 19, 2010
    • Boo……

      September 19, 2010
      • You are such a tender foot when it comes to these things. What? Are puns your Achille’s Heal or something?

        September 19, 2010
      • When I am standing in the presence of such witty punsters, I am in awe of their ability to run circles around me.

        September 19, 2010
      • Sorry! Didn’t mean to make you jump through hoops. I was just afraid if this thread got away from us that you would boot me out.

        September 19, 2010
  5. I didn’t buy MBTs when I wanted to because of the cost, but I did get a pair of (black on black) Skechers Shape Ups when they were on sale on Zappos about a year ago and I love them. The sole isn’t as high as MBTs and they’re easier to walk in. I didn’t believe the hype – I was just looking for a comfortable pair of shoes (and they are – it feels like walking on cushions). However, after the first few times I walked the park in them (3-4 miles), I definitely felt it in muscles I didn’t know I had. I’ve had mine for about a year and use them at least 4 times a week – the soles are slightly worn, but not at all near where I’d need to replace them yet. Tread is still intact and I’ve definitely seen results in my calves and the back of my thighs. The other bonus is that I can walk longer and farther because they are so comfortable. I have flat feet and 3 miles in regular trainers always make me have shooting pains in my arches and sore feet the next day, but I haven’t had that problem with these shoes at all. And they’re a heck of a lot cheaper than MBTs! I got mine on Zappos, so free shipping, and they’re true to size. (I didn’t have to go a half size up like I usually do with walking or running shoes).

    September 19, 2010
    • Kelly Love, thanks for this Zappos tip. You are the second person to comment here that Sketchers are great. I’m glad to hear that several people like them and that they are a viable next alternative for me. For now, I have a 20 buck pair from Costco that will probably wear out in a month.

      I agree with both you and Melinda that the motion of the shoe makes a big difference. I always feel things in my legs and butt that I didn’t know were there when I walk in them.

      September 19, 2010
  6. Lou Mello #

    Hi there, Andra, just home a little while after driving back from Ohio. Yes, I did close the gate behind me so no more Ohioans can escape.
    Just got a chance to read your post today and enjoy the Michaels’ repartee, so I’ll leave the wittiness to them today.
    TK and I both have Sketchers and wear every weekend wherever we go, very comfortable although we haven’t really speed walked in them. They do take a little getting used to, but, you can get at Tanger Outlets for about $90 to $100 and they hold up very well so far.
    So, step up and concentrate on going heel to toe and all will work out.

    September 19, 2010
    • Thanks for the review on Sketchers, Lou. I will definitely try those next. Everyone here and on FB indicated they are great.

      I like you Ohioans. :)

      September 19, 2010

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