Myth or Fact? Calorie-Burning Workout Gear

Just when you thought that working out in a ratty old cotton t-shirt is perfectly fine, you’re bombarded by an unending slew of workout clothes that promise to help you burn calories while you exercise just by wearing them.

Color me skeptical! My grandmother always tells me that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. A fit and healthy body is something that requires good old hard work and patience. There is no quick and easy solution to losing weight or getting fit, but I guess companies that produce our exercise gear also recognize our generational thirst for instant gratification. They’ve responded to that by marketing line after line of shoes and clothes that promise to help you shed even more calories by wearing them. Is this a real scientific breakthrough or just a clever marketing ploy?


Zaggora produces sports bras, tops, pants, and outerwear made out of “fabrics [that] heat you up when you’re active, burning calories for you.” They’ve claimed it works by using patent-pending Celu-Lite Technology that produces additional heat over your skin.

So…I guess it’s no different than wearing a sauna suit? The fabric produces additional heat, which makes you perspire more than you already do during workouts. But if all you’re doing is excreting additional sweat, then isn’t it just water weight that you’re losing? And what about risks of dehydration from losing excess fluids? For all its bombastic claims, 500,000 fans can’t be wrong…or can they? My curiosity is officially piqued!


In 2011, the United States Federal Trade Commission compelled Reebok to pay out a $25m refund to people who bought their RunTone and EasyTone shoes under the premises of false advertising. The UK sportswear company claimed that new technology in the sole of the RunTone sneakers were capable of expediting the toning of leg and butt muscles. This turned out to be almost unfounded.

Since the payout of the charges, Reebok has rebranded the EasyTone as a walking shoe; and instead of claiming that it is the “better way for a better butt,” it now offers “softness and micro-instability with every step.” In a more recent case of fraudulent claims made by toning shoes, the Kim Kardashian-approved Skechers Shape-Ups will finally start refunding people who were duped into thinking that the sneakers will help them lose weight. While toning shoes do engage muscles that we don’t normally use for locomotion, there’s been very little concrete proof of their efficacy in fat burning and weight loss.

(Tangent: the Reebok website claims its EasyTones have a “Soft collar lining [that] adds a touch of feminine comfort”. Seriously? “Feminine comfort”? What does that even mean?!)


Like the clothing produced by Zaggora, these neoprene shorts by Trimbo claim to work by producing a sauna effect. While trapping heat and encouraging sweat glands to go into overdrive, the heat also promotes blood circulation to the point of “reducing the appearance of cellulite.”

Again, I’m on the fence with this one. Aren’t you just shedding water weight by doing this? And I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how I feel about people who work out in gladiator heels…

I think it’ always healthy to maintain a sense of skepticism when you encounter any product that promises to help you on some expedited road to fat loss. I’m going to remain on the fence where all these products are concerned, but if you’ve tried an exercise outfit or shoe that has worked out for you, share it with us here!