We've told you before to stay away from so-called toning shoes because of apparent safety risks. Yesterday's settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and Skechers over the company's deceptive and unsupported claims gives you another reason to consider other fitness footwear.
Skechers agreed to pay $40 million to settle FTC charges that the company deceived consumers by making unfounded claims that its Shape-ups, Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes would help you lose weight, and strengthen and tone your buttocks, legs, and abdominal muscles.
Our medical experts have been noting since last May that there's little evidence that Shape-ups and similar rocker-style shoes are more likely than other athletic shoes to promote physical fitness. Orly Avitzur, M.D., a Consumer Reports medical adviser, also warned about injuries from toning shoes:
Many consumers, including several of my patients who suffered injuries, were duped into thinking that these shoes could allow them to achieve unrealistic results. Hopefully, this action will help deter such misleading claims in the future.
David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said Skechers' unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles: "The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health. The FTC's message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims."
In September, 2011 the FTC announced that Reebok would pay $25 million to settle charges that advertising of EasyTone and RunTone Shoes was deceptive and made unsupported claims that the shoes strengthened and toned muscles.
If you bought Skechers Shape-ups, Resistance Runner, Toners, or Tone-ups shoes, you can submit a claim for a refund.
See our Ratings of athletic shoes.