Ads for the shoes claimed that sole technology featuring pockets of moving air creates “micro instability” that tones and strengthens muscles as you walk or run.
According to the Federal Trade Commission complaint, Reebok made unsupported claims in advertisements that walking in its EasyTone shoes and running in its RunTone running shoes strengthen and tone key leg and buttock muscles more than regular shoes. The FTC’s complaint also alleges that Reebok falsely claimed that walking in EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28 percent more strength and tone in the buttock muscles, 11 percent more strength and tone in the hamstring muscles, and 11 percent more strength and tone in the calf muscles than regular walking 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 Consumer Protection.
To settle the case, Reebok has agreed to pay $25 million for refunds to people who bought Reebok toning shoes or apparel. The funds will be made available for consumer refunds either directly from the FTC or through a court-approved class action lawsuit. Consumers who bought Reebok toning shoes or toning apparel can submit a claim on the Reebok settlement website.