Toning shoe customers could get money back

September 28, 2011 4:25:25 PM PDT
A consumer alert -- if you bought some of shoes on promises that they would help shape and tone your muscles, you may be entitled to part of a $25 million legal settlement.

Reebok is paying out the money for their EasyTone shoes. The government says Reebok was deceptive in their advertising.

The toning shoe business has become a billion dollar industry. Now Reebok, which makes EasyTone and RunTone shoes, has agreed to refund millions of dollars to consumers because the government says the advertising claims were deceptive.

Reebok claims its RunTone and EasyTone shoes can strengthen your glutes by 28 percent, and thighs and calves by 11 percent while you walk. Lily Yoder bought her shoes partly because of those claims.

She said, "I bought them because I needed running shoes. I thought, hey if it does that extra stuff, great. But I have not worn them enough to say."

While Yoder likes the comfort of the shoes, she and millions of others who own Reebok EasyTone and RunTone shoes are able to get some of their money back. The government says the health benefits of the shoes were unsupported.

David Vladeck with the Federal Trade Commission explained, "For the millions of Americans who paid up to one hundred dollars for a pair of Reebok toning shoes, Reebok's claims did not withstand scrutiny."

The Federal Trade Commission says Reebok is no longer allowed to make claims that toning shoes are effective in strengthening muscles or that footwear will result in specific percentage or amount of muscle toning or strengthening unless it is backed up by science.

The FTC does not say the shoes are bad, rather that the advertised claims are unsupported. There are other brands of toning shoes on the market, like Nancy Todd's Skechers Shape Ups, that are not included in the government's settlement. Todd says she did not buy her shoes for any potential health benefit.

"I love them, I love them. I've worn them every day for probably about three years. They get a lot of wear," Todd said. "I do not think they do what they are advertised to do, but they are very comfortable."

Again the settlement only applies to Reebok EasyTone and RunTone shoes. You can get at least a partial refund even if you like the shoes and did not buy them for the health claims. To get money back, you must fill out a form online.

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