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July 25, 2012 / Brandon Brouillette

Skechers “Shape-ups” Face Allegations of Misleading Consumers

In a recent class action suit filed in California, Skechers, a shoe company headquartered in nearby Manhattan Beach, California, is facing allegations of misleading consumers with its Skechers Shape-Ups brand shoe and attached marketing campaign.   Skechers touts clinical trials and testimonials in supporting its claims that wearing Shapes-Ups can improve posture, tone and firm muscles, and burn more calories than normal tennis shoes.  Are these allegations true?  Depends who you ask.

Naturally, Skechers has adamantly denied the allegations in the complaint, calling the lawsuit inasmuch as frivolous, while pointing to its own studies and numerous customer testimonials. However, recently, the American Council on Exercise (“ACE”) released a study testing the effectiveness of Shape-Ups and similar training shoes on the markets.  The results were unanimous.  The report concludes, “[A]cross the board…  There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”  However, that doesn’t mean Shape-ups wearers aren’t losing additional weight, as the ACE’s Chief Science Officers points out, “These shoes may be encouraging a fair number of people who probably wouldn’t put on a normal pair of walking shoes and go out for a walk, to do so because they think they’re getting some super toning effect.”

The opinions (see comments) of Shape-Ups wearers varies.  While some consumers swear the shoes work as advertised, others are claiming sore calves, knees, or hips without the desired results.  Is the former group merely showing the reactions of a placebo effect in reliance on Skechers marketing campaign?  Or perhaps is the latter group simply not using the shoes as advertised?  With Skechers public vigilance thus far in defending the suit it appears eventually we will find out.  Until then, “shape up” at your own risk.

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