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A number of sources have reported that Reebok will pay $25 million to settle an FTC lawsuit alleging deceptive advertising of Reebok’s toning shoes. The payment will be made to consumers who purchased Reebok’s toner shoes (EasyTone and RunTone) shoes based on Reebok’s claim that its shoes would give additional strengthening benefit.

The FTC said 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."

"The FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims are supported by sound science, said David Fladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in a statement on the FTC’s web site.

Skechers – makers of the popular Shape-Ups toning shoes – has also been contacted by the FTC over claims about the exercise benefits of Shape-ups toning shoes.

Toner shoes have been dubbed the “World’s Smallest Gym” and are now the fastest growing segment in the footwear industry. Shoe companies claim the shoes’ design tone legs and boost the benefits of walking. With popular spokespeople, including Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky, Karl Malone, and Kim Kardashian, the toner shoe market tripled last year.

However, the American Council on Exercise conducted an independent study that showed "no evidence to support claims that these shoes help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories, or improve muscle strength and tone."

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 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.

Update 1:

I have had several questions about how to take part in the Reebok toning shoe settlement. For those who have purchased Reebok EasyTone and RunTone shoes and wish to seek a refund for Reebok’s deceptive marketing practices, you can do so by clicking on this Reebok Refund Request Form link.

I have also received a number of questions regarding claims for injuries caused by toning shoes. Injury claims are not included in the FTC settlement with Reebok and must be litigatated on an individual basis at this time.

Update 2:

I continue to get questions about how to participate in the Reebok Refund. I have provided a direct link to the Reebok Refund Request Form and listed the toning shoes and apparel available for the refund at this new post: How To Get Your Reebok Toning Shoe Refund.

Read More:

[More on Toner Shoe Injuries]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

15 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Delores Foust

    My husband and I both bought a pair of these expensive toner shoes at the Reebok outlet mall and mine since I wear more got a hole in them where the mess is and no they did nothing for but or legs.

  2. Gravatar for Katina Henderson
    Katina Henderson

    I bought a pair of the Reebok easy tone & I am not satisfied with them. I do not & have not seen any change in my legs or butt. I would like to join the lawsuit against Reebok.. Thank you

  3. Gravatar for Sandy miller

    I purchased a pair of reebok toner shoes, I think I wore them twice. My foot started to hurt and swell. I went to the foot doctor and he said I damaged my tendon from wearing those shoes. I don't have proof of that it was his opinion. I have had to purchase the expensive orthopedic shoes to wear on a regular basis, I can no longer wear heels regularly. Am I entitled to a piece of the settlement?

  4. Gravatar for Mary Dawson

    I bought a black pair of these and white pair and bought these because of the ads. Am I entitled to at least the cost of the shoes back

  5. Gravatar for Brett Emison

    Thank you all for reading and taking the time to comment. To answer your questions, I have updated the post above to include the link for submission of deceptive marketing claims.

    Toning shoe injury claims are not included in the FTC settlement and must be litigated on an individual basis at this time. While this blog is not meant to be an "advertisement", I would be happy to discuss potential toning shoe injury claims with you.

  6. Gravatar for Brenda Porras

    Okay. I bought two pairs of the Reebok easytones one pair for each of my daughters. My oldest daughter wore her shoes almost everyday for not even 3 months and the balls on the sole of the shoes popped. My youngest daughters did the same except she got cramps in her feet everytime she wore hers. And to top it all off they were expensive and not even worth the hassle we were put through. i would also like to join the lawsuit against the Reebok company. Or at the least get my money back for the shoes.

  7. Gravatar for Cheryl Morse

    I brought my runtone a few months ago. My knees and ankles started hurting on day one. Never thought it was my brand new Reeboks. I started wearing flats. I stopped wearing the Reebok and found my knee and ankle problems to get better but still persist (not as bad). I thought I was purchasing the best shoe available but have been painfully reminded that the more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

  8. Gravatar for Angie Jessome

    I purchased reebok easy tones about a month ago..i ama trainer at curves and for the first time cant do my job properly my knee keeps giving out and locking when i try and bend it ..and never having knee problems in my entire life i have to put it on thes shoes since its the only change after wearing Nike Air for years..thanks alot reeebok

  9. Gravatar for Largol33t

    I can't help but wonder if some of you are lying just to bilk money out of them. In this Obamaconomy why shouldn't I be surprised. I wonder if any of you even own a pair of those exact shoes. My money says you don't. Shame on you.

  10. Gravatar for Brett Emison

    Largol33t - that is a pretty strong accusation you are making.

    I have concerns if such "shame" is directed toward a specific commenter without evidence.

    If, however, you are "shaming" some anonymous person out there who might take advantage of this settlement by making a false claim -- I'm with you. Making a false claim is the same as stealing.

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