Skechers Shape-Ups are walking-shoes with a round sole, which changes the way a person walks. The company has promoted as a way to “get in shape without setting foot in a gym.” The round sole may make the shoes unstable, causing some people to fall and injure themselves.
UPDATE: $40 Million Class Action Lawsuit Settlement
May 16, 2012 — If you purchased a Skechers toning shoe after August 1, 2008, you may be eligible for a Skechers refund. As part of a $40 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Skechers has agreed to refund customers and also agrees never to misrepresent scientific information in the future advertising of its shoes. There is no scientific evidence that toning shoes are any more effective than regular fitness shoes, though the products were sold as a way to get in shape, lose weight, and improve cardiovascular health, all without setting foot in a gym.
What are Skechers Shape-Ups?
Skechers Shape-Ups are a walking shoe with a round sole, a revolutionary patented design intended to change the way a person walks, thus firming different muscle groups. If you own a pair of these popular walking shoes, you’ve probably seen ads that promote them as a way to lose weight, tone muscles, improve posture, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce stress on knees and ankles.
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and former NFL quarterback Joe Montana have appeared in advertisements, promoting the shoes as a way to improve a person’s health.
Though some people say the shoes are effective ways to tone new muscle groups, others are critical of the products. Nowhere in the advertisements is there safety information that would warn people about possible injuries they may suffer by wearing a shoe that changes a way a person walks. For older Americans, people who are out of shape, or people with pre-existing balance problems, they may be at higher risk of serious injuries caused by wearing an unstable shoe. Even people who have no pre-existing balance problems have been injured because the toning shoes were simply more unstable than a normal shoe.
Are Skechers Shape-Ups safe?
The biggest danger of wearing an unstable shoe is falling, particularly for older Americans. A serious fall can be life-threatening or permanently disabling. Other people who may be at higher risk of injury caused by the shoes include people who suffer from vertigo, poor balance, or weak ankles. People who already have an abnormal gait, such as inward-pointing toes, may be at a higher risk of serious ankle injuries. Even people who have no problems walking normally may seriously hurt themselves, because a shoe with a round sole is less stable than a normal shoe.
- Slips and Falls
- Head injuries
- Broken bones (particularly legs and ankles)
- Muscle strains
- Torn ligaments
- Hamstring injuries
- Achilles tendon strains and sprains
- Pulled muscles
- Knee injuries
- Stress fractures
- Hip injuries
- Ankle injuries
Long-Term Health Risks?
The effect of long-term use of the shoes is unclear. Skechers does not provide safety information about whether the shoes are safe to use as regular footwear, or whether their use should be limited to a muscle-toning work-out. Recently, a 38 year-old Ohio woman named Holly Ward was featured on the TV program Good Morning America. She had been wearing her Skechers Shape-Ups for the past five months at her job as a waitress and during exercise. She later suffered stress fractures in both of her hips. Ms. Ward filed a personal injury lawsuit and is now seeking compensation.