A few years ago my life used to revolve around shoes. No, not pretty, girly, snazzy shoes but legitimate, athletic, training shoes. There’s no business like shoe business! Back then, I could tell you anything you wanted to know about any shoe on the market.
Around the time that I stepped down from the industry the Reebok EasyTone shoes were just coming out and taking the market by storm. You remember them, the shoes about $80 – $100 a pair that claimed they would tone your body throughout the day just by wearing them? Yeah. Those.
In all honesty, when customers would ask about them I would steer them in a completely different direction towards, you know, a shoe that would truly be beneficial for their workouts. Now, I’m not saying the EasyTone shoes aren’t novel and unique and beneficial… The FTC is.
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged Reebok International with a settlement for deceptive advertising of EasyTone and RunTone shoes as being the “toning shoes” of one’s legs and buttocks. Rebook has agreed to pay the $25 million settlement.
To any of those of you that may have bought the shoes OR to any of my old (as in past not elderly) customers that bought these shoes you should have consumer refunds being made available through the FTC or a court-approved action lawsuit.
Reebok’s EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes have retailed for $80 to $100 a pair, while EasyTone flip flops have retailed for about $60 a pair. Ads for the shoes claimed that sole technology featuring pockets of moving air creates “micro instability” that tones and strengthens muscles as you walk or run.
According to the FTC complaint, Reebok made unsupported claims in advertisements that walking in its EasyTone shoes and running in its RunTone running shoes strengthen and tone key leg and buttock (gluteus maximus) muscles more than regular shoes. The FTC’s complaint also alleges that Reebok falsely claimed that walking in EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28 percent more strength and tone in the buttock muscles, 11 percent more strength and tone in the hamstring muscles, and 11 percent more strength and tone in the calf muscles than regular walking shoes.
Beginning in early 2009, Reebok made its claims through print, television, and Internet advertisements, the FTC alleged. The claims also appeared on shoe boxes and displays in retail stores. One television ad featured a very fit woman explaining to an audience the benefits of Reebok EasyTone toning shoes. She picks up a shoe from a display and points to a chart showing the muscles that benefit from use of the shoes, while a video camera continues to focus on her buttocks. She says the shoes are proven to strengthen hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent, and that they tone the buttocks “up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers, just by walking.”
Under the settlement, Reebok is barred from:
- making claims that toning shoes and other toning apparel are effective in strengthening muscles, or that using the footwear will result in a specific percentage or amount of muscle toning or strengthening, unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence;
- making any health or fitness-related efficacy claims for toning shoes and other toning apparel unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence; and
- misrepresenting any tests, studies, or research results regarding toning shoes and other toning apparel – Source.
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