The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced this week that Reebok International Ltd has agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that it made unsupported claims that its "toning shoes" help wearers get fit faster. The money will go toward consumer refunds. Reebok advertisements said the shoes strengthened hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent more than regular sneakers, and toned the buttocks up to 28 percent more but these claims have been found to be factuous. The concept of toning shoes is they are designed to be slightly unstable and according to the marketing rhetoric, the instability causes the wearer to work harder and hence increases muscle tone. Reebok brought out a toning shoe in early 2009 and has sold "millions" of pairs in the United States. Reebok have been quick to respond and changed their advertising. Further they have stopped using boxes and materials that make those claims. Retailers will also be instructed to remove any prohibited marketing materials. US consumers who bought Reebok toning shoes or toning apparel can apply for a refund.
A variety of other companies advertise toning shoes, including New Balance and Skechers and currently there are private lawsuits alleging deceptive advertising against these companies.