Skechers has settled a $40 million lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission for falsely claiming that its Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes contribute to weight loss. Color us unsurprised.
In 2009 and 2010, Skechers ran ads that claimed its shoes increase muscle activation, help burn calories, and improve posture. We’re not sure what “muscle activation” means, but we’re always skeptical of products that claim to help with weight loss just by wearing it. A class action lawsuit was filed against Skechers last year for these false claims. Companies like New Balance and Reebok have also found themselves in a similar legal trouble.
According to the New York Daily News, the FTC said the ads falsely claimed that the shoes (specifically, the Resistance Runner style) would increase “muscle activation by up to 85% for posture-related muscles and 71% for glutes”.
For further context, some of the Skechers ads featured Kim Kardashian breaking up with her trainer because she’s wearing Skechers shoes, while others show Brooke Burke claiming “once my Skechers Shape-ups are on, I’ll be toning muscles and burning calories”.
Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection David Vladeck explained to the Los Angeles Times:
“But when comparing its toning footwear to standard fitness shoes, Skechers put its foot in its mouth by making unproven claims that its toning footwear strengthened muscles, increases weight loss, reduces body fat, and improves circulation and aerobic conditioning. They said that people lost weight when in fact they gained weight.”
Most of the money from the settlement will be used to issue refunds to consumers who bought the shoes. There’s no word on if Skechers has to pull products from stores.