Shoe and apparel company Reebok International Ltd. recently agreed to pay out $25 million in refunds to customers who bought its toning shoes. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the company falsely advertised that its line of toning shoes would help consumers activate more muscle. Reebok’s various ad campaigns famously claimed its shoes could shape and tone the glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles more than regular walking shoes. When an FTC-commissioned study could not produce research to support those claims, charges were filed against the company.
“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.