Fitness Trainers Call Out Skechers on Shape-up Claims

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Tenafly, NJWhen the Skechers $40 million settlement for allegedly misleading consumers was featured on CBS This Morning (05/17/12), the President of Skechers USA indicated to reporter Michelle Miller in an interview that he didn't believe that Skechers had misled consumers in any way. Those consumers who have filed a Skechers lawsuit due to injuries allegedly caused by use of the shoe may beg to differ.

The case against Skechers and claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ran 27 pages and included an agreement by Skechers to cease all prior claims made on behalf of its product, 'Shape-ups' related to health, fitness or weight loss. The FTC, in sum, suggested that such claims constituted Skechers false advertising.

Skechers claimed that just by wearing them, consumers would burn calories and strengthen muscle through the simple process of walking.

Not so fast, said Peter Kupprion, a strength and conditioning specialist interviewed as part of the CBS News report. Kupprion was quoted as saying it's a stretch to think that the simple act of wearing a shoe is "going to produce a tangible result, or noticeable result.

"My biggest concern was that it could actually be taxing on your body, to be standing on an unstable shoe all day and could lead to a risk of injury."

Kevin Valluzzi concurs. The owner of The Fitness Leader based in Tenafly told The Record of Bergen County (05/20/12) that shoes such as Skechers Shape-ups not only fail to deliver toning benefits to muscles, they can also cause injury over the long term.

"People don't even think about the knee, hip and even back injuries they can cause," Valluzzi, himself a personal trainer, said. "When you have a sneaker like that with such an elevated heel, it's almost like walking on a high heel. And after weeks and months it can throw off your gait, because your feet are never coming into contact with the ground."

The Skechers toning shoes at the center of the controversy is the Shape-up line, which features a one-inch 'rocker,' or rolling sole. Skechers claimed that because the shoe provided its own, innate instability the wearer would have to compensate and in so doing "use more energy with every step."

However, the 'instability' at the heart of the shoe's stated benefit has, as the trainers above suggested, become the source of Skechers injuries for some people, resulting in a Skechers Shape Up lawsuit. Other consumers are demanding—and will be getting, their money back.

The Shape-up isn't the only shoe named in the FTC settlement. The Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-up shoes were also referenced. The alleged Skechers false advertising also included a false representation of clinical studies supporting its claims of muscle toning and weight loss.

The Record reports that Skechers is disputing the charges and is looking into more studies. In the meantime, "We didn't want to battle this out for years to come," said Skechers chief Michael Greenberg, in comments to CBS News. "So we wanted to get back to what we do best, and that's make good shoes."

For his part, trainer Valluzzi told The Record that he couldn't believe such shoes were allowed on the market in the first place. In his view the shoes stem from society's wish to get maximum benefit from minimal physical investment, and the shoe companies vying for market share in providing that dubious benefit. "It's part of the whole quick-fix thing people want," he said.

What people want and what people get are often two different things. Many have sought reduced weight and toned muscles, but instead have wound up on crutches from Skechers injuries.

Skechers Legal Help

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Reader Comments

Posted by

Anyone around in the 80's remembers the negative heel earth shoe/ Birenstock. Flat bottom shoe with an indented heel. You were basically walking on a slight incline all day with screaming calf muscles. Around a few years then vanished to discount stores & trash bins. Same concept here, except the shoe's sole is cantilevered at the heel & somewhat at the front. They are also slightly unstable from side to side depending on shoe contact point with the floor. Benefits for priopreceptors, balance, calf muscle elongation, hip flexors/stability. Not for running, working out. (yes, I know they make a running version, I wouldn't even bother- I wouldn't use them outside/uneven surfaces/pavement/stones) Think of them as you would standing on a wobble cushion. Not for extended periods (hours) of walking. You wouldn't stand for hours on a wobble cushion or beyond muscle fatigue. In fact brief use of a wobble cushion or 2 would give you greater benefit & be cheaper. Not for anyone with any serious preexisting balance/stability/walking/gait/joint (knee ankle) conditions. Consult an orthopaedic/foot doctor instead. They don't cure.They're ok as an indoor/office extra pair of shoes when used moving about during the day & taken off if fatigued. They are comfortable as a shoe. They are sized at least a 1/2 size small. This is how they SHOULD have been marketed to a smaller market.

Posted by

I have been working on concrete floors for four years now only wearing Sketchers. The only time my feet hurt is when its time to buy a new pair( about 8 months) Love mine! you must be using them ALL wrong.

Posted by

I have two pair of shape ups skechers. when i first got it. I start it walking 2 miles per day. the first day didn't felt anything but the third date my back start it to hurt really bad I tought it was good, I said to my self wow these skechers are really working. after few weeks got worse, I stop using my skechers. haven't using since then. to bad when i bought them at the mall they cost me $109.99. I waste my money for nothing and got a bad backache.

Thank you,

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