Skechers Forced to Backpedal on Toning Sneakers, Issues $40M in Consumer Refunds

The shoe company is sending checks to half a million customers for falsely promoting the weight loss benefits of its Shape Up sneakers

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Skechers Shape-Ups Announces Global Partnership With Kim Kardashian And Kris Jenner
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Actress Kim Kardashian attends the Skechers Shape-Ups press conference on November 22, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.

Remember the toning sneakers craze of 2010? When shoe companies left and right claimed that donning their footwear would help you lose weight faster and firm up those all-important butt, ab and leg muscles? That era is officially over, as Skechers has just issued $40 million worth of refunds for its Shape-Up, Resistance Runner, Toner and Tone-Up toning sneakers, following a similar settlement by Reebok in 2011.

Last year, several individual lawsuits that accused Skechers of falsely advertising added weight loss benefits were consolidated into a class action suit, which the company settled with the Federal Trade Commission in May 2012. Although it has never admitted any wrongdoing, Skechers settled in lieu of prolonging the litigation process. For its part, the FTC alleged the sneaker brand’s boasts about wearers’ increased weight loss and muscle strengthening were “unfounded,” according to an FTC press release.

Over 500,000 Skechers customers submitted claims after buying the sneakers from 2008 to 2012. Checks were mailed several days ago, and consumers have until October 10 to cash them. In 2011, Reebok reached a $25 million settlement of its own with the FTC for unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of its EasyTone shoes.

Brooke Burke and Kim Kardashian have both shilled for the oddly-shaped Shape-Ups—making this another entry in the line of Kim’s failed endorsement deals (see prepaid debit cards, QuickTrim diet products). Guess consumers will have to work to attain the notorious Kardashian posterior the old-fashioned way now.

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