If Skecher USA’s claims were true, we could all get in shape without ever stepping foot in the gym. Unfortunately, there is mounting evidence that these shoes may do more harm than good.
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged Skechers with making unsubstantiated advertising claims that its Shape-ups and other “toning shoes” would help people lose weight and tone their buttocks, legs, and abdominal muscles. Claims made in connection with the shoes included advertisements showing Kim Kardashian dumping her personal trainer for a pair of Shape-ups and including statements like “Get in Shape without Setting Foot in a Gym.”
To resolve the allegations, Skechers agreed to pay $40 million to provide refunds to people who bought Skechers toning shoes. “Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”
Sketchers also faces consumer lawsuits related to its toning shoes. Most recently, a New Jersey lawsuit alleged that the shoes can cause injuries. In her complaint, plaintiff Donna Valdez maintains that the shoes alter gait mechanics and create instability, ultimately causing her to fracture her ankle.
As the New Jersey Law Journal reports, Valdez maintains that she would not have purchased the shoes had she been aware of the risk of injury and known that the health claims were unfounded. She asserts claims for strict liability, negligence, breach of express warranty and of implied warranty of merchantability, and violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Sketchers, meanwhile, maintains that the shoes are safe, citing “[t]he low rate of injuries reported compared to millions of pairs of Shape-Ups sold, combined with the thousands of unsolicited testimonials we have received from satisfied customers who reported no safety or physical concerns.”