Manufacturers of toning shoes advertise that wearing their shoes will result in weight loss and toning of the wearer’s legs and lower torso. Despite the lack of any proof for their claims, the shoemakers charge extremely high prices for the shoes. Eventually, these companies faced an investigation and fines from the FTC for false advertising claims. They may also face defective product lawsuits from those injured by wearing the much-hyped footwear.
AOL’s Daily Finance reported on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) investigation and September 2011 mandate that Reebok, maker of toning athletic shoes, reimburse customers $25 million to compensate for their false fitness claims. A Los Angeles Times article supported the FTC’s findings, citing a report from the American Council on Exercise. The council determined that Skechers Shape-ups, Reebok EasyTone and Masai Barefoot Technology shoes offered no additional benefit above normal walking or running shoes for weight loss or toning.
Hurtful Instead of Healthy
Not only have the fitness claims been proven to be inflated and false, toning shoes have been linked to a wide variety of injuries. The unstable sole of the shoes increases the risk of tripping and falling while the rocker action can disrupt normal gait patterns. Because of the exaggerated range of motion, strained, inflamed and even ruptured Achilles tendons are possible. Broken bones may follow a trip or fall, while sprains can result from the wobble of uneven shoe soles. Muscle pulls and tears occur when the wearer compensates for a loss of balance on the narrow, higher bottoms. Hip injury and pain associated with a change in gait pattern can become a chronic problem. Older consumers or those who suffer from balance problems, weakness or numbness in the legs or feet are particularly at risk for bad outcomes if they wear the toning shoes.
Some users of the shoes have even developed stress fractures or tendonitis because of the repetitive rocking motion. According to an ABCs News article, a 38 year-old waitress claims to have developed stress fractures in both hips from wearing Skecher’s Shape Ups. She reportedly had surgical repair of both hips and has since filed suit for damages.
Injuries from Fitness Footwear
One investigation by Consumer Reports showed many problems arising from the footwear. A review of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new product complaint database in May 2011 revealed 36 people with reported injuries due to toning shoes. These reports were higher than for any other product. Although many injuries in the database were minor injuries, 15 of the reports mentioned broken bones. Some of the cases required surgery.
If you or someone close to you experienced pain or injury after wearing toning shoes, please contact us for a no-obligation consultation with our experienced product liability attorneys. We will help you decide if a lawsuit is the right course of action. Because the law limits the time available for filing an injury claim, it is important that you act now.