Skechers fined $40 million for false claims about its toning shoes
FOOTWEAR brand Skechers is to pay $40 million (€31.5 million) to settle claims that it deceived consumers by suggesting its sports shoes could help weight loss and bottom-toning.
In an agreement similar to one last year against Reebok, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in America said purchasers of the California-based firm's Shape-up, Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-up shoe ranges can apply for refunds.
The Shape-ups adverts featured reality TV star Kim Kardashian getting rid of her personal trainer in favour of a pair of Shape-ups in a campaign aired during last year's Super Bowl - the most watched American television broadcast of the year.
"Skechers' unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health," said David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
"The FTC's message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims," he added.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris added: "Consumers shouldn't be duped into paying more for products with false promises of weight loss and other benefits."
Skechers, meanwhile, "vigorously" deny the allegations.
Last September, sportswear giant Reebok, a unit of the German group Adidas, agreed to pay $25 million (€19.7m) in customer refunds to purchasers of its EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes.