MBT Shoes

Before I get into this article, I have to let all my faithful readers know that I have never owned a pair of MBT Shoes or any other type of special footwear before. My interest in these particular shoes stems from the fact that I work on my computer all day, and have started to get some back pains and pains in my joints. However, since it is required to have the product before I can really comment on them, I have decided to join the new fitness revolution and buy a pair of these new MBT sneakers.

MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology and the shoes are designed to copy walking on a beach in the sand. It's a multiple layered, curved sole that obtains this by creating a natural, but uneven walking surface. This Masai technology is meant to make the core strengthening muscles more active, producing better posture, better back strength and increasing shock absorption for all of the joints. It also makes wearing these walking shoes quite a unique experience to say the least, and quite a workout.

I purchased a pair of the MBT Shoes called the sport white. When I received them, I was a bit thrown back on how weird they looked. They looked clunky and huge. I put them on and was instantly feeling weird. They rock back and forth, due to the curved sole. But after a few minutes of wearing these MBT's, I became use to the weird motion and began to walk around. They actually felt really good. Walking felt better from some reason. As you walk, the shoe actually propels you in a correct fashion. When standing still, you feel more upright and my back felt more straight.

As part of the campaign, the company plans to continue its two-month-old program called Try, Trust and Love, which takes MBT on the road to health and wellness expos, trade shows and fitness events nationwide. The program features an MBT-branded van and tent and allows people to try on MBT shoes for themselves, said Poe, who joined MBT in June and in 1987 founded the Ryka athletic footwear brand.

While knowledge of the MBT brand has commonly been spread via word-of-mouth recommendations, it is still largely unknown, said John Strong, the newly appointed VP of strategic sales. “That gives us the flexibility to really strategically grow this brand to premier retailers and to market it as the original and authentic brand in physiological footwear,” he said.

The company has also been focusing on expanding its distribution. New retail partners include Nordstrom, which will begin carrying product next month, and regional sporting goods chain City Sports, Poe said. Those are in addition to existing accounts such as The Walking Co. and New York’s Tip Top Shoes. For spring ’08, MBT will have 50 styles in the U.S., and 70 percent of that line will be new product, Strong said.

Regarding the Berkshire Partners stake, the private equity firm would not reveal financial details of the investment, but Berkshire — whose other holdings include Citizens of Humanity and Bare Escentuals — typically invests between $50 million and $500 million in companies. The Masai Group investment falls in that range, said Michael Ascione, managing director at Berkshire Partners. The remainder of Masai Group is owned by Klaus Heidegger and Hermann Oberschneider. Masai Group is led by CEO Norbert Kraihamer and headquartered in Romanshorn, Switzerland.

Ascione said his firm, which has for 20 years invested in the consumer product and retail industry, purchased the minority stake in Masai Group because of the uniqueness of the MBT brand and its potential for growth. “What we found is that people love the [MBT] product, and that’s always a nice base to start off,” Ascione said. “These consumers have a willingness to repurchase and buy additional product.”

The private equity firm, which also sits on Masai Group’s board of directors

I have been wearing them now for the last 6 months and I can honestly say that I am extremely pleased with the quality of this walking shoe. The positive changes I have seen in my back pain since I began wearing the MBT shoe is remarkable. I feel better and healthier and think this walking shoe has really helped my posture. I can look back and say that I am reaping some benefits from wearing these shoes and highly recommend them.

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MBT Shoes