On Wednesday the Federal Trade Commission announced that Reebok was going to have to reimburse $25 million to consumers for false claims it made about its so-called "toning shoe" benefits. While a Reebok spokesperson told Bloomberg that "settling does not mean we agree with the FTC’s allegations; we do not," it doesn't matter at this point, does it? They have to pay up.
The obvious question was, "Who's next?" The obvious answer? Skechers, who advertises the heck out of ShapeUps--using Kardashians--and even has a line for children. According to the same Bloomberg report, Skechers acknowledged in a US Securites and Exchange Commission filing that the FTC had contacted the shoe company over its toning claims. Skechers response was that it would "defend" its claims. We won't be surprised to hear that they'll eventually have to pay up, too.
An analyst interviewed by Bloomberg theorized that if Skechers' toning claims are discovered to be unfounded, that they would have to pay more than Reebok. What's most interesting about all this is that as a category, the sales of these shoes have been declining anyway. (Um, maybe because people are figuring out they don't do anything?)
Is this the final nail in the coffin of gimmicky exercise shoes? We suspect not. After all, those weird five-toe minimalist anti-shoes are all the rage now.