Reebok has agreed to a $25 million settlement over advertising claims that its EasyTone and RunTone shoes could give users "better legs and a better butt with every step," and has agreed to stop making the claims, the Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday.
"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 Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. He said the $25 million will go into a fund to "provide redress for Reebok consumers."
The company's EasyTone walking shoes (modeled by Kendra Wilkinson, left) and RunTone running shoes sell for $80 to $100 a pair, while EasyTone flip flops sell for about $60 a pair. The shoes' ads claims that their soles contain pockets of moving air that create “micro instability” that tones and strengthens muscles.
Vladeck declined to comment on whether the FTC was targeting other companies that have marketed similar shoes.
Vladeck told TheWrap that the FTC didn't run tests itself to determine whether Reebok's claims were true, but rather investigated the company's claims and determined that it couldn't support them.
"Our job is to determine whether the company had substantiation for the claims they were making," he said.
Vladeck said Reebok pulled its ads in the midst of the FTC's investigation. He directed customers to a website where they can request refunds.