Reebok to Pay “Toning Shoe” Owners $25 Million in Refunds

When it comes to promoting their products, San Diego litigation lawyers find that many companies don’t shy away from making extravagantly false claims, or resorting to deceptive advertising. Reebok is realizing that such practices can often affect the balance sheet. The company will pay $25 million in refunds to consumers who bought toning shoes that were promoted as being good for muscle strengthening.

The company is settling allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that it engaged in false claims that the products would help increase muscle strength. The products that are included in the settlement include the Easy Tone walking shoes and Run Tone running shoes. These shoes were sold for about $100 a pair. The claim was that the walking shoes would provide up to 28% more strength and tone in the buttock muscles. In addition, users would see 11% more muscle strength in both the hamstring muscles and calf muscles.

Those brazen claims were made in several Reebok advertisements that ran in 2009. Advertisements for the shoes claim that the shoes contained a special technology that left the sole with pockets of air. This created what the company intriguingly called “micro-instability,” which Reebok claimed would help strengthen a user’s muscles while walking.

Customers, who bought the shoes hoping for extra muscle strength, were quickly disappointed. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it investigated several complaints, as well as Reebok’s claims, and found that the company’s claims about toning up muscles were unsubstantiated. The company was not able to show any evidence for its claims about the shoes. A company must not make claims it cannot back up, especially when the product claims to provide health benefits.

Other manufacturers have introduced similar toning shoes. It is not clear whether the Federal Trade Commission is investigating those products too.

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