Shoemaker Skechers USA agreed to pay $40 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit over health claims it made regarding toning footwear, the agency announced today.
The consumer lawsuit claimed "toning" footwear known as Shape-ups, Tone-ups, Skechers Resistance Runner, and Shape-ups Toners toning shoes were falsely advertised to improve posture, promote weight loss, strengthen the back, improve blood circulation, promote sleep, reduce stress, reduce physical stress on knees, legs and ankle joints, and burn calories.
The settlement was reached in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission and 44 states and the District of Columbia. If approved by the court, the proposed settlement will result in cash refunds for each pair of shoes purchased in the following amounts: Shape-ups $40-$80; Podded Sole Shoes $27-$54; Tone-ups, non-podded sole, $20-$40; Resistance Runner $42-$84.
"This settlement represents an excellent recovery for consumers," said Timothy Blood of San Diego-based Blood Hurst & O'Reardon LLP, one of the lawyers representing consumers.
The 44-state investigation was led by the Tennessee and Ohio attorneys general offices.
"Skechers' unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health," said David Vladeck, head of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Reebok International Ltd. was invovled in similar settlement last year.
The Skechers ads challenged by the FTC included shape-ups ads featuring celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke. Airing during the 2011 Super Bowl, the Kardashian ad showed her dumping her personal trainer for a pair of Shape-ups. The Burke ad told consumers that the newest way to burn calories and tone and strengthen muscles was to tie their Shape-ups shoe laces.