Do MBT Shoes Really Work?

Ed Forteau's picture

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MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology.  The company that makes MBT Shoes (also known as the anti-shoe) is Swiss Masai.  The uniquely-designed, multi-layered, cured sole is designed to simulate walking in sand (similar to the natural walking environment of the Masai in Kenya).  This creates a natural, uneven walking surface and forces the body to use all the major and stabilsing muscle groups, thus training the whole body to move correctly.


Do MBT Shoes Really Work?

Many people wonder if MBT Shoes really work.  In this review, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of MBT Shoes, best place to buy them online, and what you can expect if you decide to purchase them.

MBT Afiya

Some of the claims made about MBT Shoes include:

  • They activate neglected muscles
  • They improve posture and gait
  • They tone and shape the body
  • They can help with back, hip, leg, and foot problems
  • They can help with joint, muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries
  • They reduce stress on knee and hip joints

I've owned my MBT Shoes for over three years - using them primarily for taking 3-4 mile walks.  Once you become comfortable walking in MBT Shoes, you will notice your calf muscles will be worked in a way you don't experience in ordinary shoes.  For the first few times you wear them, after about 20 minutes the soreness goes away, and walking seems effortless.  Your stride shortens and becomes quicker, and you naturally walk with your back straight and stomach pulled in.

One of the claims you may have heard is walking one mile in MBT Shoes is the equivalent workout of walking two miles in ordinary walking shoes.  I was unable to find any studies to substantiate this claim.  Personally I have noticed my muscles get more of a workout when I am wearing MBT Shoes.  Since I purchased them they caused me to me more motivated to walk more, and for longer distances, which has lead to weight loss.  This is pretty common, and I have heard the same thing from others who wear them.

I have had chronic back pain my entire adult life, and walking in these shoes takes the strain off my back.  I have also talked to several people who also own MBT Shoes, and they say they are the only shoes they wear because they relieve their back pain.

Another question people ask all the time is...


Where Can I Buy MBT Shoes?

MBT Sport 3Most cities have one (or two) stores that carry MBT Shoes.  The problem is, local stores don't carry all the styles and sizes.  I tried MBTs on at two different local stores, and in both cases I was presented with shoes that were a half size too large (and told the heel should be loose when wearing them).  The truth is, the heel should be snug.  Both stores did let me walk around in them.  I even walked outside the store, but you really need 20-30 minutes to get used to them.  When you first walk in MBT Shoes, you tend to walk on the balls of your feet (instead of walking from heel to toe).  You feel like you are walking on stilts, and you feel a bit unsteady.  Trying them on in the local store actually reduced my confidence in them, because you don't have time to get comfortable in them.

A better approach is to purchase them online.  Most MBT Shoe styles run true to size.  If you normally wear a half size, purchasing them online may be your best option because => the online store I recommend <= carries all sizes (including half sizes) - and best of all, they offer free shipping, will also pay the shipping on any regular priced items returned, they are far and away the largest selection of Authentic MBT Shoes (styles you won't find anywhere else), and they have the best prices online.

They are the #1 authorized MBT Shoe retailer, and the first (and only) MBT Concept Store. Because they are a concept store they have access to more styles than anyone, so you will find more styles and sizes there than anywhere else.  There are a lot of websites selling knockoff MBTs at prices below $100, and people have had a lot of problems when ordering from those sites (see the comment section below).

They are one of the first online shoe retailers (online since 1996), yet this family-owned specialty shoe retailer has been in business for decades - and has grown to eight physical store locations.  A "feel good" success story.  They do a good job of creating a home-town boutique feel to their website and the way they conduct their online business.  It is a refreshing change from the mega-online retailers. It's not a big box store - you're truly supporting a successful family-owned business.

Local shoe stores usually do not carry half sizes.  I would not recommend buying a size that is that is a half size large or small.  Because of the way the heal sensor works a smaller size could be tight around your toes, and a larger size could cause your heel to side up and down in the back of the shoe.  Spend 20-30 minutes walking around your home with them to make sure they are a good fit. 

Another frequently asked question is...

Can You Run In MBT Shoes?

I personally wouldn't recommend it.  MBT Shoes are made for walking.  Because of the collapsible heel, running in these shoes is difficult and takes some practise.  You can jog in them, using short strides.  Swiss Masai calls this floating.  The motion is different than regular jogging.  MBT Shoes are best used for walking and normal daily activities. However, Kenyans often win marathons using this type of stride.


MBT Shoe Size Conversion Table

Men's Shoes Size US MBT Sizes   Women Shoes Size US MBT Sizes
Size 8 Size 41   Size 5.5 Size 35
Size 8.5 Size 41 2/3   Size 6 Size 35 2/3
Size 9 Size 42 1/3   Size 6.5 Size 36 1/3
Size 9.5 Size 43   Size 7 Size 37
Size 10 Size 43 2/3   Size 7.5 Size 37 2/3
Size 10.5 Size 44 1/3   Size 8 Size 38 1/3
Size 11 Size 45   Size 8.5 Size 39
Size 11.5 Size 45 2/3   Size 9 Size 39 2/3
Size 12 Size 46 1/3   Size 9.5 Size 40 1/3
Size 12.5 Size 47   Size 10 Size 41



Customer MBT Shoes Reviews

I usually read many reviews before I make a significant purchase.  One of the things that impressed me the most, before I purchased my MBT Shoes, was the overwhelming number of positive customer reviews on these shoes.  There are literally hundreds of MBT Shoes Reviews by customers, and I couldn't find a single legitimate negative review.  A few people complained about the shoes size being too small, or they had an issue with the store they purchased them from (which is far and away the most common complaint).  100% of the reviewers had positive things to say about the quality of the shoes.  Simply put, if you spend any significant time on your feet, MBT Shoes will be the most comfortable shoes you will ever wear.  Everyone who owns them absolutely loves them.MBT Faraja

There is no question MBT Shoes are a significant investment, so I was pleased to find out that Swiss Masai made arrangements with Resole America to resole your MBT Shoes with original parts for just $65.



Where to Buy MBT Shoes Online

I recommend purchasing MBT Shoes from >> The #1 MBT Shoe Retailer.  We've arranged an exclusive discount with the #1 MBT Retailer, who has the largest selection and lowest prices - so take an additional $10 off the lowest prices you will find. The $10 discount is off any purchase over $100. Click the link to go there now.

This online store is family-owned (with 8 physical locations), has a stellar reputation, provides free shipping, offers a lifetime  money-back guarantee, will pay the shipping cost on any returns (with no restocking fees), and and has the GUARANTEED lowest prices online (see their website for details).  They are MBT's most trusted retail partner.


The 2014 Fall Line of MBT Shoes

Have you seen the new MBTs? MBT has a great new line of shoes - available from our recommended online retailer (just click the New Arrivals link).  They are the only retailer that carries all of the new MBT styles.

The new Fall line of MBT Shoes features the women's Budu, Raawiya, Time Service Lace, Hiari Lace, and Jahi. The men's Isimo Military, Ubora, 1996 Limited Edition Celtic, Time Service Lace, and Zuberi Lace.  This year's New Fall Line is one of their best yet.


The 2015 Fall Line of MBT Shoes on Sale

The new line, which includes the MBT Himaya GTXwomen's Himaya GTX, Leasha Trail 5 Lace-Up, and the Afiya. Prices starting at $174.95. And the men's Himaya GTX, Asante 5S, Simba Lace, and  the Jengo 5 Sport Neutral. My new favorite? The Himaya GTX. A little pricey coming in at $219.95, but it is a waterproof shoe that looks great. 

Please Note: Many of the MBT Shoes that are discount priced have limited quantities.  If you find a style you like in your size - buy it, because it may not be available the next time you check.  They have the largest selection of MBT Shoes on Clearance you will find anywhere, but they do go fast. When I bought mine I liked them so much after the first couple of weeks, I went back to purchase a second pair and they were out of my size.

Back to the original question....

Do MBT Shoes really work?  The answer is YES.  If you decide to purchase them, you will be very happy with them.







Comments (17)

  • Jesse Miles

    8 years 9 months ago

    I purchased a pair of MBT Shoes a couple of months ago, after you told me about them.  I love them.  They really do work!  I purchased one of their casual shoes, and wear them all day.

    Jesse Miles

  • Courtney Miles

    8 years 9 months ago

    I have a pair of Merrells that feel like slippers.  The MBTs are heavier, and a bit stiff, but once you get past the first few minutes of wearing them, they are perfect for all day activities.

    Courtney Miles

    Fitness Editor,

  • Barbara Greenberg

    8 years 9 months ago

    Courtney, I love these shoes.  They arrived yesterday.  I walk everyday, and I am totally hooked on them.  Thanks!

  • Courtney Miles

    8 years 8 months ago

    People always ask me - Do MBT Shoes really work? - and I always say buy a pair and see.  Are you using them for everyday shoes, or did you get them for workout shoes?

    Courtney Miles

    Fitness Editor,

  • Barbara Greenberg

    8 years 7 months ago

    I had planned on using them just as walking shoes, since I walk 3 miles a day, but they are so comfortable I am using them as everyday shoes.

  • Marina K. Villatoro

    8 years 6 months ago

    They look funky, although I would be so into wearing them. anything for comfort on my feet. I've had bad experiences already to the point that i missed out on activities because my feet were in so much pain!

  • desanchess (not verified)

    8 years 7 months ago

    Wow! MBT presents great shoes. Believe me! they are the best. Let them be party shoes, casual or fashion boots, MBT offers you the best. These shoes provide a great feel coupled with extreme grip that is not present in other brands. Although they are expensive, but the money does really pay off.

  • lisa brown

    8 years 6 months ago

    DO NOT buy MBT shoes from mbtoutlet-us. If you have any problems they will not stand behind their product. They refuse to exchange or allow you to return. Their customer service department is unbelievably rude and are unable to write in undestandable English. They are located in China. Had I know this, I would have not bought the shoes from them. They do not send return information with their shoes nor will they give it to you by email. They do not have a customer service phone number. Whatever you buy from them, you are stuck with.


  • Courtney Miles

    8 years 6 months ago

    Thanks for your comment.  Sorry to hear you had such an problem with that vendor.  Quality vendors may charge slightly more, but they are much easier to deal with when problem arise.  Try the vendor I recommended.  I am a long-time, and very happy, customer of theirs. 

    Courtney Miles

    Fitness Editor,

  • Ed Forteau

    8 years 1 week ago

    Make sure you are purchasing from an authorized reseller of MBT Shoes.  MBT is becoming the most knocked-off shoe on the market.  Currently their aren't any authorized resellers selling MBTs for less than $119 (and those are in very limited quantities because they are close out mbt shoes).  If you find them selling for less than $100 they are not authentic.

    Ed Forteau


  • Brian Miller

    8 years 5 months ago

    This is one of the best reviews on mbt shoes I've seen.  I purchased a pair a couple of weeks ago.  I love them.  Ordered a second pair (on sale) today.  The store you recommend is great.  Got the shoes in 3 days.  Thanks!

  • Ginis Grunjie (not verified)

    8 years 5 months ago

    have found some great shoes from this manufacturer they have also great women's sandals comfortable and great quality

  • Sam Pounder

    8 years 4 months ago

    Fitness shoes seem to be the Big Think now.  MBT seemed to create this market.  I've tried some of the other shoes and I like MBT the best.  And I like the newer styles.

  • Ed Forteau

    7 years 10 months ago

    MBT Shoes have gone more mainstream with the new Spring line.  It has been the first time anyone has every said "cool shoes" when I was wearing my MBTs.

    Ed Forteau


  • Courtney Miles

    7 years 7 months ago

    MBT has new shoes coming out this Fall.  They are definitely worth checking out.

    Fitness Instructor. Travel Writer. Graphic Designer.

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    6 years 9 months ago

    Every year, MBT makes their shoes look even sleeker and more attractive. The new fall styles for this year ROCK! Thanks for the great information!



    Jessie Voigts, PhD


  • Elizabeth Kelse...

    6 years 8 months ago

    Bradley Family


    Thank you for posting this! I am a die hard MBT fan; I've worn them all over the world. I have restless leg syndrome, and walking for just half an hour in these makes it so I can sleep at night. I hope to get a new pair soon!

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