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I wrote yesterday about Reebok’s $25 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over deceptive marketing of Reebok’s toning shoes, the EasyTone and RunTone.

Since then, I have received numerous questions from readers about how to take part in the settlement.

Purchasers of Reebok toning shoes may request a refund through the settlement using this Refund Request Form.

In order to participate, you must have purchased the toning shoes on or after December 5, 2008. The refund applies to the following Reebok toning shoes and apparel:

  • EasyTone

  • EasyTone Flip

  • RunTone

  • TrainTone

  • JumpTone

  • SimplyTone

  • SlimTone

  • EasyTone Capri

  • EasyTone Pants

  • EasyTone Shorts

  • EasyTone Long Bra Top

  • EasyTone Sleeveless Shirt

  • EasyTone Short Sleeve Top

According to the settlement web site, payments to eligible purchasers will vary depending upon the product purchased and the number and amounts claimed by all eligible consumers. If you submit a refund request in excess of $200, you may be asked to provide proof of purchase to validate your request.

The FTC is requiring the refunds because Reebok’s ads made unsupported claims that the rocker-bottom shoes were "proven" to tone buttocks 28% more than other shoes and build calf muscles by 11% more. According to the FTC, it "spent a lot of time examining the evidence [Reebok] put forward and found it wanting."

Right now, Reebok is the only toning shoe manufacturer providing refunds, but Skechers has also been contacted by the FTC over claims about the exercise benefits of Skechers Shape-Ups toning shoes.

As I’ve discussed many times, not only will these shoes not improve your fitness, they actually cause injury.

Popular toning shoes include MBT and Skechers Shape-Ups.

Toning shoes (including shoes manufactured by MBT and the popular Skechers Shape-Up shoes) may actually cause more harm than good. Consumer Health Reports found a number of complaints for toner shoes far greater than any other single type of product. In one report, an individual suffered a broken bone only 45 minutes after wearing the shoes.

These injuries do not surprise health care professionals. Dr. Orly Avitur, the lead doctor working with Consumer Health Reports, concluded that anyone with balance issues, back pain, neuropathy, or unstable ankles should not wear toning shoes.

The Reebok toning shoe settlement covers only claims for deceptive marketing. Injury claims and lawsuits for toning shoe injuries must still be resolved on an individual basis.

The toning shoe danger is not limited to individuals with balance issues. Even young people in good shape have reported problems with toner shoes. A test by the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and American Council on Exercise showed prolonged use can lead to material alteration of individual walking gait mechanics. This is particular concerning considered the industry new marketing campaign targeting preteens.

The bottom line is – when you are told you can get more results with less efforts, one should be suspect. You may end up with more than tighter buns and thighs, you might end up with serious injuries.

[More on Toner Shoe Injuries]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

17 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Brittney L

    I am SO glad the FTC is finally doing something about this. I have had these shoes for about a year now and they really mess with my balance. Sometimes I even have a hard time with running because the bottom of the shoe is so off-balance.

    Well deserved refund for the consumers :)

  2. Gravatar for Brett Emison

    Ashley - from the language on the form, it does not appear you need a receipt unless you are requesting a refund in excess of $200.

  3. Gravatar for Donna S. Brown

    I have no idea what an "URL" is. I am a 59 year old grandmother. I bought a size 91/2 pearlized white with lime green trim. I bought the shoes online, probably shoemall, or zappos, or something simmilar. I used my Visa to pay and no longer have the receipt. I have to say, the shoes do mess with your balance!

  4. Gravatar for Mary

    I filled out a refund submit for a pair of runtone's I purchased less than 6 months ago. I have not received anything yet. Will they just send me a refund in the mail, and its that easy?

  5. Gravatar for Sherry

    Any idea on the time frame for consumers to actually recieve refunds? I bought both the Run Tones, for jogging, and the easytones for walking. Since they're not actually doing me any good, would like to purchase a new pair of shoes!

  6. Gravatar for Lucia Quintalino
    Lucia Quintalino

    dear all,

    I bought the pair of EasyTone in Dicks at Woodbridge mall. These trainers lasted about 3-4 months. The front tore and shorlty after that at the back by the heal inside this really hard piece of plastic was sticking out and there was nothing I could've done but throw them away.

    there were not comfortable to wear at all :( costing 99 USD i was not happy at all.

    anything you need please let me know - my phone # 732-533-3000

    thank you

    have a great weekend

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