Skechers shoes, the company that built a marketing campaign about the health benefits of their shoes, will be settling a lawsuit filed against the manufacturer by the Federal Trade Commission.
Advertisements for Skechers have claimed that the shoes could help wearers tone up, lose weight, and even combat heart disease. The slogan was “Get in shape without ever setting foot in a gym.”
The FTC says those claims simply aren’t true, and will accept Skechers settlement of $40 million. The money will be largely used to refund consumers.
“Skechers put its foot in its mouth by making unsubstantiated claims,” said David Vladeck of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
In 2009, Sketchers helped to create the market for rocker bottom shoes that created instability and therefore made the muscles work harder for the wearer to keep their balance. Other shoe companies soon joined the toning shoe fray including Reebok, which settled a similar claim by the FTC earlier this year.
The FTC also pointed out that a chiropractor used in Skechers’s advertising campaign was actually married to a marketing executive from the company and was paid to conduct his studies on the shoe’s benefits.
Skechers responded by saying the mounting legal fees to fight the charges was simply too daunting financially.
“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,” said David Weinberg, CFO of Skechers.
The lawsuits against Skechers and Reebok could spell the end to advertising claims that fitness can be achieved through wearing the unusual shoes.
Customers seeking a refund after not getting the results they expected from Skechers can visit the FTC’s website at ftc.gov/skechers.