Reebok has agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges from The Federal Trade Commission in America that it deceptively advertised its toning shoes as providing extra tone and strength to leg and buttock muscles.
According to the US consumer watchdog, 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 muscles more than regular shoes.
The FTC also alleges Reebok falsely claimed that walking in EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28 per cent more strength and tone in the buttock muscles, 11 per cent more strength and tone in the hamstring muscles, and 11 per cent more strength and tone in the calf muscles than regular walking shoes.
Beginning in early 2009, Reebok made its claims through print, television and internet advertisements, the FTC alleged. The claims also appeared on shoe boxes and displays in retail outlets.
Under the settlement Reebok is 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.
• Misrepresenting any tests, studies or research results regarding toning shoes and other toning apparel.
“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,” says David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.