Skechers USA has agreed to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission for USD 40 million due to its claims that Shape-up shoes could help people tone muscles and lose weight. However, state and federal officials discovered that Shape-ups and other Skechers’ toning shoes are not living up to all the marketing hype.
“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” said the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
According to Norton Scientific Reviews report, aside from the Shape-ups line, Skechers have also made deceptive claims on its Tone-ups, Toners and Resistance Runner shoes.
The shape-up ads declaring that the shoes are made to tone muscles and promote weight loss, claims that the FTC says are unsupported. FTC further alleges that Skechers cherry-picked results from the study that they cited and also failed to substantiate anything.
Skechers were defiant, however, and strongly denied the charges. According to them, they only agreed to the settlement in order to avoid “exorbitant cost and endless distraction of several years spent defending multiple lawsuits in multiple courts across the country”.
Its president Michael Greenberg said, “The Company has received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from literally thousands of customers who have tried our toning shoes for themselves and have written unsolicited testimonials about their positive experiences.”
However, instead of defending itself against the lawsuit, Skechers opted for a settlement, which also means that it could avoid admitting anything. On Wednesday, it has agreed to settle the USD 50 million false advertising charges by the FTC and the lawyers of 44 states. Also included in the settlement is the barring of Skechers from misrepresenting any studies, research or studies related to toning shoes.
This settlement marks the FTC’s continuous efforts to stop overhyped marketing claims. Last September, Reebok International also agreed to settle misleading advertisement allegations for USD 25 million when it claimed that its toning shoes strengthen muscles. Skechers is now about to pay twice as much in order to settle FTC claims.
Skechers is the current market leader in the toning footwear industry. The disputed shape-up fitness shoes introduced in 2009 costs around USD 100 a pair while Tone-ups, Resistance Runner and Toners have retail prices from USD 60 to 100 a pair.
Consumers can check ftc.gov/skechers to see if they’re eligible for the settlement and for further instructions on how to claim.