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Skechers Settles Lawsuit with the FTC for $40 Million

Thursday, May 17, 2012
Consumers who purchased Skechers Shape-Ups or other toning shoes designed by the company are now eligible for a partial refund from a $40 million settlement. Skechers reached with the Federal Trade Committee and 42 states with class action lawsuits. The suit centered around the allegation that Skechers made false claims regarding its sneakers’ ability to tone and tighten muscles, improve posture, and aid in weight loss.

After reviewing the research Skechers used to establish and support its fitness claims, the FTC concluded the “studies were false,” and that, in reality, the sneakers had the adverse effect of leading to wearers actually gaining weight. A University of Wisconsin study corroborates the FTC findings as its findings indicate that replacing basic running sneakers with toning shoes does not result in increased muscle activity in areas such as the calves, quads, back and abs as the shoes’ manufacturers contend.

Skechers maintains the appropriateness of its advertising and continues to back its assertions touting Shape-Up’s role as a fitness and weight loss tool. The company released a statement Wednesday, May 16 explaining that it “denies the allegations,” but has decided to settle the claims “to avoid protracted legal proceedings.”

This $40 million Skechers settlement comes on the heels of a $25 million settlement reached between Reebok and the FTC last September that sought consumer redress for Reebok’s false advertising claims regarding the fitness benefits of its toning sneakers. Hundreds of thousands of purchasers of Reebok’s toning sneakers applied for refunds following the settlement, and a similar procedure is being utilized in the Skechers case as consumers must visit the FTC website to apply for a refund of their Skechers toning shoes purchase.

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