Are Kim Kardashian’s Skims Waist Trainers Dangerous?

The history of the corset dates back to antiquity. Women would don the tightly-drawn, waist hugging fabric belts and men their fitted leather vests to accentuate and improve the shape of the human body. By the mid-1800s, only a few men wore corsets, but for women, the demand increased.

The desire for a smaller waist and an exaggerated bust line was a cultural phenomenon that mesmerized women from aristocrat to peasant. Today, the debate still rages: Do clothes look better on a skinny woman or a more shapely female figure?

Kim Kardashian West attends the 2019 Met Gala celebrating "Camp: Notes on Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019 in New York City.
Kim Kardashian | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Even today, most men will admit they prefer women with an hourglass shape. And many women have purchased clothing that was made to fit a less-curvy physique.

And with the explosive success of Spanx, an undergarment meant to slim and smooth the body, it’s no wonder Kim Kardashian has high financial hopes for her SKIMS shapewear line that is marketed as a new waist trainer.

Are waist trainers torture devices?

Kardashian certainly must work hard to maintain her small waist and voluptuous curves. But, she knows a great beauty invention when she sees it. This is why she likely realized the premiere waist training product — Premadonna and Waist Gang Society — was a great way to off-shoot her brand of waist trainers. After all, Kardashian’s body silhouette could serve as the brand’s marketing logo.

But, a waist trainer is a far cry from a body slimmer. A waist trainer uses a combination of high-compression fabric and a closure system, similar to a corset, that pulls in the waist and supposedly offers multiple benefits to improve fitness and appearance. The benefits these companies will use to market waist trainers include:

  • can promote improved posture
  • produces dramatic and shapely curves
  • a better core workout for waist slimming
  • increased body temperature (sweating)

Waist trainers are not meant to be comfortable. And if you are comfy in one, then know they’re not doing what they were designed to do.

Like a corset, waist trainers are meant to cinch, tighten, and compress your midsection. Is a slim and sexy waist worth the pain of wearing a device that could possibly reduce circulation, hamper breathing, and squish your internal organs into unnatural position?

Here’s what experts say about corsets and waist trainers

After the launch of Kardashian’s Skims, it didn’t take long for droves of health conscience fans to bombard the pop culture icon with negative feedback. Though, she made an insane amount of money just minutes after her Skims launch.

Experts from across the nation have cautioned women against wearing these tortuous devices for the sake of an hourglass figure:

  • may push organs into an unnatural position causing reducing performance
  • can deprive the body of oxygen and negatively affect the ability to breath
  • waist trainers may restrict the lymphatic system and can cause digestive issues

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) warns against any body-shaping craze that is tight-fitting. Waist trainers are devices that mold the body into an hourglass shape — basically a reinvention of the corset contraption. The ABCS believes you could actually be suffocating your body, because “waist training can deprive your body of oxygen, reducing lung capacity by an estimated 30-60%.”

You might find celebrities like Jessica Alba and Amber Rose boasting about their redesigned shapes while wearing waist trainers, but doctors around the world have are presented with patients suffering from severe skin chafing, acid reflux, breathing difficulties, bruising, and numbness of oxygen-deprived limbs.

While Kardashian’s Skims nearly sold out and raked in $2 million in mere minutes, a closer look is needed on the psychological desire to appear skinny, even while you may be harming yourself. After all, once you remove the waist trainer, breathe freely, and soak in the physical relief, you’re still left with the same body you had hours before.