Toning shoes are marketed as shoes that help people get into shape simply by wearing them while walking. The shoes have a "rocker bottom" which is meant to provide some instability to the walk, making the person's legs work harder during normal activities. Shoemakers promise that the shoes will provide the wearer with health benefits. Among the reported promises by the shoemakers are that the shoes promote weight loss, tone muscles, improve posture and reduce stress on joints in the legs.
Toning Shoes & Toning Sneakers
According to The New York Times (09/28/11) toning footwear resulted in sales of more than $1 billion in 2010. Meanwhile, Reebok sold more than five million pairs of toning shoes in 2010.
Critics argue, however, that the shoes do not work and, furthermore, that they cause injuries. Toning sneaker injuries include stress fractures, joint injuries and tendon ruptures. Critics also argue that because the shoes are unstable, people wearing them can suffer falls that cause harm, including violent ankle fractures. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reportedly received 65 toning shoe complaints from consumers between March and July 2011 (as cited by Trial Magazine). Among the toning shoe complaints were significant compound fractures caused by regular walking activities, and broken wrists and traumatic brain injuries caused by a fall while wearing the shoes.
Companies with toning shoes:
- MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology)
- AVIAiTone, iBurn, iQuest
- New BalanceTrue Balance
- ChampionPace toning shoe
A lawsuit has been filed against Skechers, alleging Skechers Shape-up shoes can cause serious injury. According to ABC News (02/16/11), the plaintiff in the Skechers toning shoes lawsuit alleges she developed stress fractures in both hips after wearing the shoes, and now requires physical therapy and pins in her hips because of the injuries. The plaintiff, Holly Ward, says she wore the shoes as a waitress and while on walks for five months and developed the stress fractures, despite having a healthy bone density. Skechers photo credit: onlineshoes.com
Skechers Shape-Up Shoes Injury & Skechers Toning Shoes Lawsuit
In September 2011, Reebok International agreed to pay $25 million to settle allegations that the company made false claims about its toning shoes. The lawsuit was filed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and alleged the company's claims that the toning shoes provided extra muscle strength were unsubstantiated. Specifically, the claim that the Reebok EasyTone and RunTone shoes "strengthen and tone key leg and buttock (gluteus maximus) muscles more than regular shoes" (as quoted by Reuters; 09/28/11) was considered misleading.
Reebok Toning Shoes Lawsuit Settlement
Furthermore, the FTC took issue with Reebok's claim that Reebok EasyTone shoes strengthen hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent, while they tone the buttocks up to 28 percent over regular sneakers. The $25 million was to go toward refunding customers.
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