Skechers Settles Over Sketchy Ads

A lawsuit filed by Washington state, 43 other states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleges that without having adequate supporting evidence, Skechers claimed that their “rocker-bottom” shoes provided numerous weight loss and muscle-strengthening benefits. Not-so-subtle advertisements suggested that certain flabby body parts would firm up just by walking around in the shoes.

Rather than fight the suit, Skechers USA, Inc., the makers of Shape-Ups, Tone-Ups, and the Skechers Resistance Runner athletic shoes will settle the lawsuit. Skechers does not admit any wrongdoing and denies the factual allegations asserted in the Attorney General’s complaint. But today the company allocated up to $40 million for consumer refunds and will pay an additional $5 million to the states.

Skechers will pay $117,138 to Washington state. About half will cover the state’s legal fees and the rest will be used for consumer education, for health care purposes including but not limited to health-related research or education or programs directed towards girls’ or women’s’ physical fitness, proper nutrition or reduction of obesity.

Under the settlement, Skechers is prohibited from making health and fitness claims unless it has adequate substantiation to do so. Consumers who purchased Shape-Ups, Tone-Ups, or the Skechers Resistance Runner should go to ftc.gov for information about how to obtain a partial refund.

Consumers who have complaints about unsubstantiated health or advertising claims or any consumer matter should file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office: http://www.atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx.

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