10:56am

Wed September 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Reebok Agrees To Refund $25M To Those Who Purchased 'Toning Shoes'

Reebok International Ltd. came to an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission over what the government said were "over-hyped advertising claims" by Reebok that a pair of its specialty shoes could tone leg and butt muscles better than regular shoes.

One TV ad, cited by the FTC, claimed that Reebok's EasyTone shoes tone "your butt up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers, just by walking."

Not so said the FTC. And, today it announced that it reached a $25 million settlement with Reebok. That money will provide refunds to consumers who bought Reebok toning shoes or toning apparel. The refund amount will depend on how many people apply for the refund, which you apply for by clicking here.

"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," David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

Reebok's shoes reatail for $80 to $100 a pair. The Los Angeles Times reports that the FTC investigation found that Reebok could not back up the claims it made in its advertisements.

In a statement, however, Reebok stood by its shoes, saying "settling [with the FTC] does not mean we agreed with the FTC's allegations; we do not."

Reebok added:

We fully stand behind our EasyTone technology – the first shoe in the toning category inspired by balance-ball training. We have received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from thousands of EasyTone customers, and we remain committed to the continued development of our EasyTone line of products. Our customers are our number one priority, and we will continue to deliver products that they trust and love.

But as part of the settlement, Reebok can no longer make claims that toning shoes and toning apparel are "effective in strengthening muscles" and result in a certain percent of more toning unless "the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence."

So, we guess this means it's back to the StairMaster.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.