Masai Benefit Technology (MBT) shoes are marketed as the anti-shoe by the manufacturers as they are supposed to mimic barefoot walking. The claim that they mimic or simulate barefoot walking due to the rocker on the sole.
The shoes design was inspired by the native Masai people of Africa who have a very upright posture and a gait or walking pattern that is very much like flowing over the ground. The Masai are also notable for their lack of postural or low back problems. The people walk barefoot all the time. The makers of the MBT shoe claim that the reason for the lack of these problems is the barefoot walking and the gait pattern. The company designed the shoe to try and copy this gait pattern.
There has been research done that has compared to walking in the shoe and a control shoe. The gait patterns between the two are different. The muscles activity in the lower limb is higher wearing the MBT 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. As a result of this they originally claimed that the shoe can help things like cellulite due to the increased activity.
The critics like to point out that an increase in muscle activity is a bad thing as this indicates an inefficient gait. They also point out that the differences in gait patterns between the shoes and control shoes does not show that one is better than another, it just shows that they are different. The claims about treating cellulite have been ridiculed, and the company have removed them from the website. Clinical trials have set out to test the efficacy of the shoe at helping those with postural and low back problems. They do appear to help some people and they do appear to make other people worse.
Do the MBT shoes work? They will work for some people and they will not work for other people. They are probably a useful shoe to wear for short periods during the day, as a short term change in walking and posture may be beneficial and helpful to a lot of people.