Skechers has agreed to pay $50 million to settle false advertising allegations about it’s Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-up shoes by the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of 44 states as well as the District of Columbia.
Advertisements from Skechers told consumers that they could “Get in Shape without Setting Foot in a Gym.”
David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in in a press release, “Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, for the millions of people who bought Skechers toning shoes, the only thing that got a workout was their wallet.” He adds that the FTC wants advertisers to shape up. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”
Most of the Skechers settlement money will be used to give refunds to consumers who paid $60 to $100 a pair for the Skechers Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-up shoes.
On Wednesday, Skechers denied the federal government’s allegations and said the company had settled to “avoid protracted legal proceedings” and to save future legal costs.
Skechers will continue to make and sell the toning shoes. In a press release Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers said, “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.”David Weinberg, the Skechers Chief Financial Officer said in a press release, “While we vigorously deny the allegations made in these legal proceedings and looked forward to vindicating these claims in court, Skechers could not ignore the exorbitant cost and endless distraction of several years spent defending multiple lawsuits in multiple courts across the country. This settlement will dispose once and for all of the regulatory and class action proceedings. While we believe we could have prevailed in each of these cases, to do so would have imposed an unreasonable burden on the Company regardless of the outcome.”
According to The Associated Press, Skechers will pay twice as much as Reebok International Ltd. to resolve similar FTC claims. Reebok agreed in September to pay $25 million to settle allegations that it falsely claimed its toning shoes strengthened muscles.
Find out more about applying for a refund at www.ftc.gov/skechers.