“Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true.” Wouldn’t It Be Nice?, The Beach Boys
Wouldn’t it be nice to ditch the long runs, the grueling spin classes, the brutal abs workouts and shape up just by walking around? Skechers, a maker of athletic footwear, promised just that with several lines of sneaks guaranteed to tone muscle and shed pounds. Sounds too good to be true. But Skechers backed it claims up with scientific studies. Conducted by medical professionals! And the pubic, spurred on by celebrity endorsements, snapped at the chance to get svelte by doing little more than bending over to tie their shoelaces. Sales of Skechers and similar excershoes exploded, reaching more than $1 billion last year.
Trouble was, as Skechers’ coffers grew fat, waistlines and butts didn’t recede as advertised. And when the FTC reviewed the situation, it found gaping holes in the shoemaker’s science. As reported by CBS news, : http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57436508-10391704/skechers-shape-ups-why-the-ftc-called-companys-studies-deceiving/, one study involved a lone subject, another had no comparison with ordinary shoes, and a third was filled with errors and sketchy analysis.
So the FTC sued to stop Skechers from claiming that its shoes deliver no-sweat fitness. Wishing to side-step a protracted legal battle, Skechers has settled with the FTC to the tune of $40 million. So now, consumers who shelled out upwards of $100 for the dream of effortless fitness can now apply for a sliver of the settlement money.
And Skechers? The company marches on. Announcing the settlement in an official statement, it said: “The Company fully stands behind its toning shoe products and technology and is permitted under the settlement to continue to advertise that wearing rocker-bottom shoes like Shape-ups can lead to increased leg muscle activation, increased calorie burn, improved posture and reduced back pain.”
So once again, its Couch Potato emptor.
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