Manufacturers of toning shoes have deceived many consumers, especially women. Products such as Easy Spirit’s Anti-Gravity shoes and Sketchers Shape-ups are injuring women who bought them hoping for an easy way to boost their metabolisms and improve the muscle tone in their legs and buttocks. The thick curved soles on these shoes cause instability when work while walking and, according to studies, do little to improve fitness.
Increased Sales, Increased Injuries
Last year, toning shoes took in $1 billion, nearly tripling sales since 2009. Not only are sales up, but injuries from the shoes are up as well. On May 25, 2011, Consumer Reports found several injury reports filed with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new website, SaferProducts.gov. The site only began accepting reports on March 11. In just 10 weeks, 36 injury reports originated from toning shoes.
No other product in the database has more injuries associated with it. The most common injuries included pain in the feet, legs and hips, in addition to tendonitis. Broken bones occurred in 15 of the reports, and some of them required surgical repair. ABC News reports that one woman sued Sketchers over stress fractures in her hips, which occurred after she began wearing the company’s signature toning shoes, Shape-Ups.
Advertisers claimed that toning shoes would increase muscle tone and strength, improve balance, straighten posture, burn extra calories, relieve joint stress and even ease back, foot or leg pain. Flimsy studies supported the exaggerated claims, and ads never disclosed the potential dangers. Manufacturers failed to point out that some people have abnormal limb alignment. Toning shoes make such individuals much more likely to fall down.
Follow-up Study Shows No Benefit
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) wanted to know if toning shoes could do all they claimed. ACE enlisted the help of the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Their study found that, “Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”  ACE also worries that individuals who wear such shoes for long periods might suffer altered walking patterns and poor body mechanics.
The unstable design of these shoes may make wearers feel as though their muscles are working harder as they try to maintain balance. Unfortunately, the gains seen in studies were statistically insignificant. Not only do toning shoes fail to live up to their promises, they post an unnecessary danger to many.
If your or someone you love was injured from toning shoes or any other defective product, contact our experience attorneys. We will meet with you free of charge to discuss the facts of your case and help you decide if a defective product lawsuit is appropriate in your situation.