Reebok’s toning shoes: $25 million dollars worth of false benefits and injury

By Mimi Johnson, NCL Director of Health Policy

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t welcome a shortcut to better health and a trimmer physique.  For the past few years, several different companies have marketed shoes to help women, men, and even children, more quickly drop pounds and gain muscle.

You won’t see such claims any more, says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Reebok has just settled – for $25 million dollars – with the FTC over what they claim were unsubstantiated claims of benefits.  Reebok made very specific product promises, claiming that their line of their toning sneakers would produce 28% more muscle tone in the glutes and 11% more muscle tone in the calf and hamstrings than regular sneakers (see the ad below).

Other brands who might soon follow suit include Sketchers and New Balance, both of which are currently under investigation or part of class-action lawsuits over false benefit claims and injuries. The Consumer Produce Safety Commission (CPSC) has more than 36 complaints in its database, ranging from reports of stress fractures to pain.  While a $25 million dollar settlement might seem like a big deal, the toning shoe industry raked in about $1 billion last year alone and Reebok spent more than $40 million advertising the shoes benefits since the beginning of 2010

If you bought Reebok toning shoes or EasyTone apparel on or after December 5, 2008, you are eligible for refunds.  For more information about the settlement and to submit your claim, visit http://www.reeboksettlement.com/ftc.

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