Reebok Reaches $25 Million Settlement Over Toning Sneakers
Skeptical about all those shoes that promise to tone your butt and shrink your thighs?
The Federal Trade Commission has confirmed all your doubts by announcing this morning that Reebok must pay $25 million in a settlement over their Easytone and RunTone products, which fail to fulfill the body-shaping promises claimed in the ads.
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.
David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “The FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science.”
It probably didn't help that Reebok got quite specific with its claims, showing a super fit woman in commercials who assures viewers that EasyTone sneakers strengthen hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent and tone one's butt "up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers, just by walking."
How was Reebok planning on backing that up, exactly?
The sneakers, which include different styles for running, walking and training, retail for about $100 each. Ad Age writes that as of November 2010, Reebok had sold five million pairs in the US and 10 million abroad.
Now the athletic company's got to pay it all back to the tune of $25 million. If you bought the shoes and want cash back, send in a refund request form here.
UPDATE: Reebok has responded to the controversy and maintained its stance on the shoes, telling us: "We stand behind our EasyTone technology – the first shoe in the toning category that was inspired by balance-ball training. Settling does not mean we agree with the FTC’s allegations; we do not. We have received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from thousands of EasyTone customers, and we remain committed to the further development of our EasyTone line of products. Our customers are our number one priority, and we will continue to deliver products that they trust and love."