Skecher Shape Up shoes and Skecher Tone-Up shoes look different than other walking shoes, tennis shoes, work-out shoes, or running shoes: they have a thick, rocker bottom that the manufacturer promoted to be helpful in getting fit — you could “shape up while you walk.” Problem is — lots of people are getting hurt while wearing these shoes. They are suffering from serious personal injuries that bring with them things like pain, suffering, lost work, etc. and the marketing promises are without support.
“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”
- A Shape-ups ad telling consumers to “Shape Up While You Walk,” and “Get in Shape without Setting Foot in a Gym,” and claiming that the shoes are designed to promote weight loss and tone muscles. The FTC alleges that Skechers made unsupported claims that Shape-ups would provide more weight loss, and more muscle toning and strengthening than regular fitness shoes.
- Shape-ups ads with an endorsement from a chiropractor named Dr. Steven Gautreau, who recommended the product based on the results of an “independent” clinical study he conducted that tested the shoes’ benefits compared to those provided by regular fitness shoes. The FTC alleges that this study did not produce the results claimed in the ad, that Skechers failed to disclose that Dr. Gautreau is married to a Skechers marketing executive, and that Skechers paid Dr. Gautreau to conduct the study.
- Shape-ups ads featuring celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke. Airing during the 2011 Super Bowl, the Kardashian ad showed her dumping her personal trainer for a pair of Shape-ups. The Burke ad told consumers that the newest way to burn calories and tone and strengthen muscles was to tie their Shape-ups shoe laces.
- An ad that claims consumers who wear Resistance Runner shoes will increase “muscle activation” by up to 85 percent for posture-related muscles, 71 percent for one of the muscles in the buttocks, and 68 percent for calf muscles, compared to wearing regular running shoes. The FTC alleges that in citing the study that claimed to back this up, Skechers cherry-picked results and failed to substantiate its ad claims.
FTC Settlement in May 2012
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the manufacturer, Skechers USA, had entered into a settlement agreement with the FTC and would be forking over $40 million in settlement of federal charges that Skechers USA, Inc. deceived consumers by making claims in its marketing and advertising that these shoes would help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abdominal muscles. The company had no factual support for these claims.
The FTC settlement covered not only Skechers Shape Ups but also its Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes, and as a result of the FTC action, people who had purchased these unsafe shoes could get a refund for their purchase.
These Injuries Are Serious
People have suffered fractures to their feet, wrists, hips, and ankles. Some people have experienced fractures to their necks and backs from wearing these shoes. Tendons have been damaged. Ligaments have been injured.
People who bought shoes to try and be responsible about their health have ended up with bodily injury. That in addition to other personal injury kinds of damage: pain and suffering; quality of life being impacted; people losing work; things like that. As anyone who has suffered a serious neck, back, or leg injury knows — your entire life is changed when you suffer an injury like this.
Lawsuits Being Filed Across the Country
Across the country, civil lawsuits are being filed by people who wore these shoes and suffered serious injury as a result. These are personal injury cases based on product liability laws as well as lawsuits based upon deceptive practices of the manufacturer in marketing these shoes as something healthy and helpful in getting fit when the company had no support for those claims.
If you or a loved one have been injured and suffered damages from injuries sustained while wearing a pair of these Skechers shoes, then it’s important to investigate whether or not you have a case against the manufacturer for legal damages based upon state product liability law or deceptive practices.