CHICAGO (CBS) — Remember the Skechers “toning” workout shoes that promised the world? Weight loss, improved circulation, even eliminating cellulite? On Wednesday, the company agreed to pay $50 million to settle lawsuits accusing them of misleading advertising.
CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports most of that money – about $45 million – will go to pay for partial refunds to consumers who bought the “Shape-ups” and other toning shoes for $60 to $100 a pair.
In ads for the shoes, reality show celebrity Kim Kardashian claimed she was able to ditch her personal trainer after she started using the shoes. Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana said the shoes improved his strength and posture.
Those promises, according to the Federal Trade Commission, were tantamount to a snake oil pitch.
Now, Skechers is putting a $50 million foot in its mouth to provide refunds for anyone who bought the shoes and pay for court costs. It’s also barred from making health claims it can’t prove.
CBS 2 once investigated Skechers’ claims about the shoes.
Peggy James threw out the shoes after wearing them.
“I took my shoe off, and I thought, ‘My God.’ It was so swollen. It was pale blue,” she said.
Even after she stopped using the shoes, James said, “I still have the swelling in my ankles.”
She eventually tossed out the $138 shoes.
“A shoe is not gonna cause you to lose any weight, it’s just not gonna do that,” Adrian Turner said of the shoes.
Skechers’ too good to be true shoes will now cost the company $50 million.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office shamed the company as well in a statement on Wednesday.
“Companies that make health claims without scientific proof to support them are using deceptive tactics that may unfairly influence consumers’ purchasing decisions,” Madigan said on her office’s website.
Skechers said it still believes its advertising was appropriate, but decided to settle the lawsuits to avoid a lengthy legal battle.