REEBOK International has agreed to pay $25m to settle charges that it
made unsupported claims that its “toning shoes” provide extra muscle strength,
the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Wednesday.
The penalty will go towards consumer refunds.
The FTC said in its complaint that Reebok, a unit of Adidas, falsely claimed in advertising that its EasyTone and RunTone shoes “strengthen
and tone key leg and buttock (gluteus maximus) muscles more than regular shoes”.
“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,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s bureau of
The agency said Reebok began making the claims in early 2009, and
provided statistics about the purported benefits of the toning shoes.
The FTC said that in one commercial, Reebok advertised that its
EasyTone shoes are proven to strengthen hamstrings and calves by up to 11%, and to tone the buttocks up to 28% more than regular sneakers,
just by walking.
The refunds will be made available either directly from the FTC or
through a court-approved class action lawsuit, the FTC said.