One lawsuit was filed against Skechers in 2011, alleging a woman who wore Skechers Shape-ups during her work as a waitress developed stress fractures in her hips. The plaintiff, Holly Ward, told Good Morning America (2/16/11) that she has pins in her hips and must undergo physical therapy to recover from the stress fractures.
"The femoral bone is the strongest bone in the human body and I fractured not one but two of them without being in a car crash or any traumatic incident," Ward told Good Morning America.
So-called toning shoes were designed based on the principle of the stability ball - make the shoe somewhat unstable and the wearer's muscles must work harder to stabilize the foot. Furthermore, they were designed to change how people walk, further working the wearer's muscles. But some critics say the shoes have not been adequately tested for safety.
Although experts interviewed by Good Morning America were not convinced that the shoes themselves could cause stress fractures, there are published reports of strained Achilles tendons and injuries due to falls when people wore the shoes.
According to Consumer Reports (8/11), as of May 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received 36 reports of injuries associated with toning shoes on its new complaint database. "That's more complaints than for any other single type of product in the database, which was started in March 2011," the article states. While the majority of complaints included minor injuries such as tendonitis, 15 of the reports apparently included broken bones, some serious enough to require surgery.
READ MORE TONING SHOES LEGAL NEWS
A spokesperson for the American Apparel and Footwear Association said that the injuries are often caused by misuse of the shoes, but experts question why people should have to relearn to walk to wear shoes safely. Furthermore, some argue that there is little benefit to wearing the shoes.
"If you want to tone your legs and buttocks, we think you're better off spending time in the gym than wearing shoes that could send you to the couch with your foot in a cast," Consumer Reports writes (5/25/11).