Skechers USA Inc. took an expensive tongue lashing from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently for such dubious claims. The agency responsible for truth in advertising levied a $40 million fine against the company for claims and benefits made in association with the Shape-ups, Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups line of shoes.
The Skechers Shape-up promised to help the wearer lose weight, together with the potential to strengthen hamstring, leg and stomach muscles. Various celebrity endorsements helped to move a good many pairs of shoes. However, in the FTC's view such claims were unfounded.
Skechers isn't the only shoe manufacturer to score some flak for allegedly deceptive advertising. The FTC, in September of last year, also went after shoe giant Reebok for similar advertising missteps surrounding their Reebok toning shoes. Alan Collaco, secretary general for the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), told the India Times (7/6/12) that Reebok's Reetone, RunTone and EasyTone shoes did not live up to the claims.
"Claims that wearing Reetone shoes helps you get a better butt and better legs with every step and are proven to tone your hamstrings 28 per cent more were not substantiated," Collaco said, addressing an issue that is global in scope. "The ads were misleading and the complaint was upheld.”
Reebok was fined $25 million by the FTC for its ad faux pax involving the Reebok toning shoes.
READ MORE TONING SHOES LEGAL NEWS
With the Skechers Shape-Up, the shoe's curved 'rocker' or rolling bottom has allegedly caused some consumers to stumble and fall, causing injury. The Southtown Star (7/15/12) of Chicago noted that in both cases, disgruntled consumers may be eligible for full, or partial refunds stemming from the shoes they purchased, amidst claims the shoes allegedly did not live up to advertised promises.
As for those who may have suffered a toning shoes injury, time off work and the potential for steep medical bills may foster a growing crop of toning shoes lawsuits.