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New Balance Faces Potential Class Action Over Toning-Shoe Claims

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Boston, MA: New Balance, the Boston-based sneaker maker is being sued over allegations of deceptive advertising, specifically, that its toning shoes create more sculpted legs than traditional walking shoes are not accurate.

The complaint, filed on Monday in the US District Court of Boston, is seeking class action status, and $5 million in damages.

The suit was filed by Bistra Pashamova of California, who claims that she and others like her have been harmed by New Balance. New Balance has promoted its toning shoes with claims that the shoes increase muscle activation by about 27 percent and increase calorie burn by as much as 10 percent with each step.

However, results from a study completed by the American Council on Exercise, released in the summer of 2010, showed that "toning shoes" do not live up to the claims made by several manufacturers. The report concluded there was "no statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation'' as a result of wearing toning sneakers."

Additionally, reports of injuries have raised concerns that the shoes, which retail for about $100 a pair, could in fact do more harm than good.

Pashamova is also seeking to "halt the dissemination of this false and misleading advertising message, correct the false and misleading perception New Balance has created in the minds of consumers, and to obtain redress for those who have purchased any New Balance toning shoes.''

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