Skechers is the latest footwear company to find itself in trouble as a result of its toning shoes advertising campaigns. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided that claims made on behalf of the company’s toning shoes – which include Skechers Shape Ups, Resistance Runners, Toners and Tone-Ups – were false.
The FTC alleges that studies which Skechers used to support claims made in their advertisements for their famous rocker bottomed toning shoes were fundamentally flawed and, in places, factually incorrect. The FTC also pointed out that two out of four studies which were supposed to prove that Shape Ups were good for you were conducted by a doctor who is married to a senior vice president of marketing at Skechers – a clear conflict of interests.
Skechers were fined $ 40 million. Consumers who bought Skechers toning shoes after August 1st, 2008, may contact the FTC for a refund directly – or they may visit this website.
Skechers continues to dispute the charges and says that it agreed to a settlement in order to avoid the legal cost of fighting lawsuits. Skechers also advises that it will continue to conduct additional studies.
Michael Greenberg, the president of Skechers, issued a formal company statement as follows:
“The Company fully stands behind its toning shoe products and technology and is permitted under the settlement to continue to advertise that wearing rocker-bottom shoes like Shape-ups can lead to increased leg muscle activation, increased calorie burn, improved posture and reduced back pain.”
Whilst $ 40 million is not a trifling sum, considering that toning shoe sales in 2011 ran at an estimated $ 1 billion, and that Skechers are the market leaders, it may not be a killer blow for Skechers. It would still be a brave man who tried to separate his wife from her Shape Ups.