Shoes with curved unstable soles, such as MBT’s, are no better than traditional trainers for reducing lower back pain. A small but well-designed study found no significant benefit in people wearing “rocker sole” shoes.
In the study, 115 adults with chronic lower back pain who were randomly assigned to one of two groups: either rocker sole trainers or normal trainers. They were asked to wear these trainers for at least two hours a day over the course of a year. Additionally, they were asked to exercise once a week for four weeks and wear their trainers to these sessions.
Thee was good news – both groups back pain improved to some degree. However, the rocker sole-style footwear was no better (or no worse) than flat sole trainers in reducing disability or pain scores.
For a number of measures the rockers actually fared worse than their flat sole counterparts, including satisfaction with the trainers and a clinically important reduction in self-reported disability.