Everyone knows those hideous shoes — the Skechers Shape-Ups, which according to the brand, tone their wearer’s legs and behind with no workout. Kim Kardashian even shot a sexual innuendo-laden Super Bowl commercial in which she dumps her personal trainer for the magical shoes. Now Skechers has agreed to fork over $40 million in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which alleges the company “deceived consumers by making unfounded claims.”
In addition to the Shape-Ups, the FTC found fault with advertising claims for other shoes in the line, which include Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups.
“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” says 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.” Who knew the FTC was so punny?
The FTC alleges Skechers manipulated research, and handpicked the pieces that benefitted the brand’s claims. They also say the shoe company touted the support of a chiropractor without revealing he is married to a Skechers marketing exec, and was paid for his endorsement.
Skechers maintains their advertising was “appropriate,” and would have defended the matter in court if not for the exorbitant costs associated with a lawsuit. Still, if you feel you were suckered into shelling out money for the shoes, the government says you may be owed a refund.