Maryland Attorney Applauds $25M Fine Against Reebok Over Toning Shoe Ads

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Baltimore personal injury lawyer Robert Jenner of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, says the FTC’s decision to penalize Reebok for deceptive advertising is a good step towards protecting consumers from the dangers of toning shoes.

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Baltimore attorney Robert K. Jenner

This is a real victory for consumers. It comes on the heels of some very solid nationwide reports indicating that toning shoes do not live up to the hype.

Baltimore personal injury attorney Robert Jenner today applauded the Federal Trade Commission’s order requiring Reebok to pay $25 million in refunds to purchasers of the company’s toning shoes due to false claims about their fitness benefits.

The FTC’s action represents the first time a government agency has intervened regarding the controversial toning shoes.

“This is a real victory for consumers,” said Jenner, whose Maryland personal injury law firm is investigating allegations that toning shoes injure consumers. “It comes on the heels of some very solid nationwide reports indicating that toning shoes do not live up to the hype.”

The FTC ruled Reebok’s ads were deceptive in promising that toning shoes significantly strengthen muscles in the buttocks, thighs and legs, according to a press release from the agency. Part of the settlement bars Reebok from making further claims about the benefits of their toning shoes without scientific evidence.

“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 FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the statement. “Consumers expect to get worked out, not worked over.”

Jenner pointed out that a study from the American Council on Exercise last fall found no significant differences in how muscles respond to toning shoes versus conventional footwear. He also cited a 2010 Consumer Reports study of toning shoes concluded that toning shoe wearers are “better off spending time in the gym than wearing shoes that could send you to the couch with your leg in a cast.”

Toning shoes are engineered with a built-in instability to mimic uneven surfaces. Manufacturers claim that the popular footwear makes wearers engage their leg muscles more to maintain balance, thus burning more calories.    

“But we know it’s the inherent instability that places consumers at risk,” Jenner said. “And that’s why claims are emerging nationwide to challenge footwear manufacturers.”

Jenner’s website, http://www.toningshoeinjury.com, details some of the toning shoe injuries that plaintiffs allege, including falls, fractures and Achilles tendon damage.

“There has already been economic evidence showing that toning shoes may be losing their appeal,” the Maryland attorney said. A recent Time magazine article reported that demand appears to be dropping in the toning shoe market, forcing companies to lower their prices.

Despite the lagging demand, toning shoes makers do have one strong and unfortunate advantage, according to Jenner.

“The problem is that Americans have put a premium on the pursuit of the perfect body,” he explained. “While looking your best by being fit is a laudable goal, it should not come at the expense of personal safety – and that’s where toning shoe companies may be bear some responsibility.

“It’s just not acceptable for companies to continue producing and aggressively marketing products, toning shoes included, that may injure people,” he added. “As long as that practice persists, there will be law firms like ours ready to hold companies responsible.”

About Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC

The law firm of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC is a nationally recognized law firm dedicated to representing victims of defective products, medical devices, prescription drugs and medical malpractice. Each of the firm’s principals is named in The Best Lawyers in America® and Super Lawyers®. The firm has offices in Baltimore, Maryland; Columbia, South Carolina; and Asheville, North Carolina. The firm accepts clients and referrals from clients and attorneys throughout the country. For more information about claims related to toning shoe injuries, contact the firm at (888) 463-3529 or through the firm's website.

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