The Federal Trade Commission have announced that Skechers have agreed to pay $40 million to settle the charges it misled consumers with claims that its toning sneakers could do everything from help users lose weight to make their “bottom half their better half” without ever going to a gym. The settle will be used to provide refunds to the buyers of shape-ups. This follows the previous settlement with Reebok for $25 million
As part of the settlement, Skechers are barred from making unsubstantiated claims about the health and fitness benefits of Shape-ups and related footwear. The commission alleged Skechers also made deceptive claims about its Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes.
They also claim a chiropractor named Steven Gautreau recommended the product based on a clinical study he claimed was “independent” and tested the shoes’ benefits compared to regular fitness shoes, the FTC said. The study did not produce the results claimed in the ad, the FTC said. Skechers also failed to disclose that Gautreau is married to a Skechers marketing executive and Skechers paid him to do the study, the FTC said.
In a statement Skecker’s stated:
“While we vigorously deny the allegations made in these legal proceedings and looked forward to vindicating these claims in court, Skechers could not ignore the exorbitant cost and endless distraction of several years spent defending multiple lawsuits in multiple courts across the country,”
Shoes that employ toning technology have been sold in the United States for more than 15 years and have been the subject of numerous research projects with at least 19 reports published in peer-reviewed clinical and sports medicine journals. Researchers from around the world have analyzed various models of toning shoes and found demonstrable fitness benefits from walking and standing in such shoes, as compared to flat-bottomed athletic footwear.