If an infomercial tells you that that eating this new brand of dark chocolate every day will extend your life by ten years, do you run out and buy a month’s supply of dark chocolate, or roll your eyes and change the channel? We all like to think we know better than to be taken in by the deluge of products meant to make us prettier, happier, richer, and more fit with hardly any effort on our end, but the truth is that we fall pretty hard.
Miracle Sneakers Are Less Than Miraculous
Take toning sneakers, the product of choice to be profiled by the New York Times. Sketchers, Reebok, and now New Balance have all released sneakers that claim to tone our lower half as we go about our day. Aside from the particularly charming ad campaigns (we’ll dwell on that some other time), there’s an issue with toning sneakers: They don’t work. The American Council on exercise conducted a study comparing three brands of toning sneakers to standard running shoes—here is what they found (from the New York Times):
Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation,” the study concluded. “There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Is
But oddly enough, toning shoes are only gaining in popularity! The toning-shoe market is expected to reach $1.5 billion this year, with a market that’s 85% female. Why is there such a large market for a product that doesn’t work? It’s all about faith. We want to believe that miracle products will improve our lives simply by existing, and we’re willing to throw our money at them to make it happen. But when it comes to advertising, skepticism is a good thing. Instead of placing our faith and our money in unproven products, we choose to put it where we know it will be the most beneficial—in our IRAs, our emergency funds, our trips, our dinners with friends. We choose to spend our money on investments and experiences that will make us happy…even if they take a little effort.
Tell us in the comments: What’s the most ridiculous product on the market today?