Reebok International Ltd. has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint alleging deceptive advertising practices with regard to the company’s “toning shoes.” Reebok advertised its EasyTone and RunTone lines as containing special soles that created “micro instability,” toning and strengthening muscles by simply walking or running, but the FTC maintains these claims are not backed up by scientific evidence.
The money will be made available for consumer refunds either through the FTC or through a class action lawsuit.
“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,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC complaint alleges that 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 complaint further 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.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Reebok is also 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.
For more information on making a claim, see ReebokSettlement.com.