Skechers To Pay $40 Million In Refunds Because Putting On Shoes Is Not A Workout

News flash: you can’t work out by not working out. As we predicted in November, the Federal Trade Commission has settled with shoemaker Skechers over claims that their rounded-bottom Shape-Up shoes helped wearers to tone their lower-body muscles and lose weight. These claims were all over ads and promotional material for the shoes, including an ad that aired during the 2011 Super Bowl.

Shape-Ups ads featured the endorsement of an “independent” chiropractor who claimed to have conducted a study that proved the superior health benefits of wearing Shape-Ups compared to regular old flat-bottomed sneakers. According to the FTC, there were a few problems with this claim: first, the studies didn’t prove what the good doctor claimed, he just happens to be the spouse of a Skechers marketing executive, and the company paid for that not-so-independent study.

Here’s a sample ad provided during the FTC press conference on the settlement today:

ssu-walk-lg.jpg

In the future, Skechers can’t make claims about any of the following in their athletic shoe ads unless they’re backed up with actual research:

  • claims about strengthening;
  • claims about weight loss; and
  • claims about any other health or fitness-related benefits from toning shoes, including claims regarding caloric expenditure, calorie burn, blood circulation, aerobic conditioning, muscle tone, and muscle activation

Did you buy these shoes? You can check out the info and even file for a refund at the FTC’s site for the settlement.

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Skechers Prepping For Possible FTC Settlement Over Shape-Up Ads