Reebok were facing claims that they made false claims about their toning shoes helped to strengthen the leg and buttock muscles. In September 2011 they settles with the Federal Trade Commission (USA) for $25 million. The settlements covered advertising that started in 2009 for the EasyTone walking shoes and the RunTone running shoes. The claims made (“proven to tone buttocks 28% more than other sneakers”) were unsupported. According to the FTC there was no evidence to support this and other claims made by the company.
The director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, David Vladeck said at a press conference: “Consumers expected to get a workout, not worked over.” “The evidence was wholly insufficient to support the objective claims Reebok was making.”
The settlement requires Reebok to deposit $25 million into an escrow account within 15 days. Refunds can then be applied for by consumers. Any money that remains will pass to the U.S. Treasury as disgorgement. Reebok will also be required cease making claims about the health benefits of its shoes unless they’re supported up by at least one well-controlled human clinical study.
Reebok issued a statement said that it had settled “in order to avoid a protracted legal battle”. “Settling does not mean we agreed with the FTC’s allegations; we do not. We fully stand behind our EasyTone technology.”