WASHINGTON -- Skechers USA Inc. has agreed to pay $40 million to settle allegations by federal officials that it misled consumers about the health benefits of its Shape-ups and other toning shoes.
Consumers who bought the shoes, which cost $60 to $100 a pair, will be able to apply for refunds as part of the settlement, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday. The settlement is part of a broader agreement resolving an investigation involving attorneys general from 44 states and the District of Columbia.
The agency said that Skechers, based in Manhattan Beach, deceived consumers with claims that they would lose more weight and get more muscle tone by wearing its shoes than they would with regular fitness shoes.
“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”