May 16, 2012 — Skechers will pay $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that the company made bogus claims that its round-soled, Shape-Up toning shoes could help shed pounds and tone muscles.
As part of the settlement, consumers who bought the shoes will be eligible for a refund. Anyone who purchased Skechers Shape-Ups, Resistance Runner, Toners, or Tone-Ups shoes after August 1, 2008 is eligible for a Skechers refund.
Skechers denies the allegations, but they have agreed to pay the settlement to avoid extended, expensive legal proceedings. The litigation against Skechers included FTC regulatory action, consumer class action lawsuits, and 44 states’ Attorneys General investigations. Skechers will also agree not to misrepresent scientific studies, tests, or research on any of its shoes in the future.
The shoes were touted as a way to “get in shape without setting foot in a gym.” The advertisements claimed that the round-bottomed soles on the shoes forced a person to “use more energy with every step” and work harder to maintain balance — similar to walking in sand.
The company claimed that just by wearing the shoes, a consumer could burn more calories, lose weight, improve muscle tone, improve cardiovascular health, and strengthen their butt, leg, and stomach muscles. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Brooke Burke, and Joe Montana were paid to promote the shoes in advertisements.
Not only is there no evidence that Shape-Ups can provide more weight loss and muscle toning compared to other shoes, an increasing number of people are filing Skechers injury lawsuits. Because of the unstable sole, some people have suffered severe falls or stress fractures. Injuries include broken bones, sprained ankles, lacerations, and more, resulting in pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, and more.