If the Shoe Fits, Buy It – for the Right Reasons

by Florence Klein –

Reebok to pay $25 million in consumer refunds settling FTC charges of deceptive advertising of Easy Tone and RunTone shoes and apparel.

Seems everyone wants to improve his or her fitness. It also appears there are plenty of companies eager to help us do just that. May be some companies are a little too eager to help. Shoppers should look out for companies that offer too much of a good thing. Overhyped advertising claims aim to win your purchasing dollars without delivering fully on claims. The FTC takes action to help and Reebok will pay $25 million in consumer refunds to settle FTC charges of deceptive advertising of Easy Tone and RunTone shoes.

Getting fit for the holidays ahead sounds like a good idea for many of us. Lots of people tend to take on a pound or two over the season when it may be harder to get out for a walk and rich foods are abundant and easy to get at. Getting more exercise time in can help us all. Having the right equipment helps us get out there and can make us feel better while exercising. A good walk is one of the best exercises around and many, many people recommend it. All you need is a good pair of shoes (and a place to walk).

The FTC alleged that Reebok used unsupported advertising claims in printed, online, radio, and television ads. The FTC claimed that Reebok statements of extra toning, shaping and strengthening gains of an extra 25% in your buttocks and 11% for your hamstrings and calves over other shoes were not supported by any research. The FTC also alleged that claims of improved posture were unsupported.

Reebok has taken action to remove the advertising from the market place. Under the settlement with the FTC, Reebok is banned from claiming:

  • Toning shoes or other toning apparel effectively strengthen muscles or result in a specific extra percentage of muscle toning unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence
  • Any health or fitness-related bonus efficacy unless they are true and backed by scientific evidence

So what is the scoop on other brands of toning shoes? Well, “Toning” shoes are shoes that purportedly provide extra health and fitness benefits that other shoes do not. These shoes usually claim they add extra toning and strengthening of the muscles in the lower body. Toning shoes are often described as the newest, greatest footwear trend. While traditional athletic shoes are designed to provide the wearer with support, toning shoes are designed to create slight instability.  The companies offering toning shoes generally claim that the instability of the shoe causes muscles to work harder to stabilize, resulting in greater training effect. Most companies do not put specific numbers on their claims or make statements of scientific tests. So it is up to each of us to decide if we want to trust any of the claims made.

The FTC works to see that every exact claim made has an exact proof backing it up. We join with the FTC in urging you to shop smart. Here are some tips to help you choose wisely when it comes to exercise equipment. Remember what gets the exercise done is your effort, not how you’re geared up while working out. Here is what to watch out for:

  • Promises of problem spot reductions because losing weight in one problem area requires regular exercise that works the whole body
  • Promises to effortlessly burn a spare tire or melt fat from hips and thighs, they do not work
  • Consider how the product fits your fitness goals do not stock your home with equipment you will not use
  • Test equipment before you buy it
  • Check advertised prices, as final cost may be greater: ask about refund policies, restocking fees or how much it might cost to send something back

If you shop smart, and set up a good exercise plan, your exercise equipment will help you meet your fitness goals.

Stay safe,
Florence Klein

If you bought a pair of the Reebok shoes in question follow this link to apply for a refund and see if you are eligible.