Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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May 16, 2012

AG Kelly announces $45 million multi-state settlement with Skechers over "Shape-up" shoes

HARRISBURG ? Attorneys General from 44 states and the District of Columbia, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have reached a settlement with the popular shoe company Skechers USA, Inc. (Skechers) resolving allegations that the company made unsubstantiated claims of numerous health benefits in marketing its line of toning shoes.

Kelly said that Skechers, which is headquartered in Manhattan Beach, CA, conducted a national advertising campaign for its toning shoes, commonly known as Shape-Ups or Tone-Ups, and made claims that wearing the rocker-bottom shoes provided certain health benefits, but did not properly support these claims.

According to the lawsuit filed in connection with the settlement, the company advertised that their toning shoes would:

  • Firm a user's buttock;
  • Promote weight loss;
  • Reduce a user's cellulite;
  • Improve a user's blood circulation;
  • Strengthen a user's back, core, and legs;
  • Improve a user's posture;
  • Reduce a user's stress on joints;
  • Reduce a user's pain;
  • Improve a user's sleep; and
  • Are superior to traditional exercise shoes.

The lawsuit filed today by the Attorneys General claims that Skechers made these health-related claims without adequate support.

"Skechers focused their marketing efforts on fitness-conscious women," Kelly said. "However, their promises of weight loss and strengthening were misleading to many consumers."

The states allege that there is no difference in muscle activation and calorie burning when wearing any of the Skechers toning shoes or regular athletic sneakers.

Under the settlements, Skechers is prohibited from making these claims unless it has adequate substantiation to do so.

Additionally under the settlements, up to $40 million is being allocated for consumer refund money to be paid back to consumers who purchased the shoes. As part of the settlements, Skechers will pay an additional $5 million to the states. Pennsylvania's share is more than $143,000.

Consumers who purchased Shape-Ups, Tone-Ups, or the Skechers Resistance Runner should go to the FTC website at www.ftc.gov/bcp/cases/skechers/index.shtm or call 1-866-325-4186 for information about how to obtain a partial refund.

Any consumer who has complaints about unsubstantiated health or advertising claims are encouraged to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling 1-800-441-2555 or by visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov

The Commonwealth's case was handled by Senior Deputy Attorney General John Abel of the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection. The settlement in the form of a Consent Petition was filed in Commonwealth Court and requires Court approval.

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