The makers of Skechers Shape-Ups continue to face lawsuits brought by consumers who indicate that the toning shoes caused them to suffer serious injuries.
In January, Skechers Shape-Up injury lawsuits were filed by at least six different plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, alleging that the rocker-bottom design of the shoes caused a number of injuries, including stress fractures, damage to tendons and ligaments, fractures to the feet, wrists, hips and ankles, as well as head and back injuries.
The complaints are the latest in a growing number of lawsuits over problems with Skechers Shape-Up and Tone-Up shoes. The manufacturer faces more than 150 claims from individuals nationwide, with all of the federal lawsuits centralized and consolidated in the Western District of Kentucky as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
Skechers introduced the shoes with a pronounced rocker bottom sole. The company promoted the shoes with slogans such as “shape up while you walk,” suggesting that wearing the shoes would promote weight loss, tone muscles, improve posture, tighten abdominals, firm the buttocks, thighs and calves; among other claims. However, the benefits of the design were never tested and a number of users experienced very different effects from the Shape-Up and Tone-Up shoes.
According to allegations raised in the Skechers lawsuits, the manufacturer intentionally misled consumers to believe the shoes were beneficial to their health, claiming that they would improve cardiac function and provide orthopedic benefits, despite any medical proof verifying these claims. In addition, claims indicate that the rocker bottom design actually caused or contributed to serious personal injuries for many consumers.
In March 2012, Skechers Shape-Ups class action lawsuit was also filed on behalf of individuals who purchased the shoes, alleging that the shoes were sold at a “premium price” without providing the claimed benefits. That complaint indicates that consumers were led to believe the design would allow them to develop toned muscles without the need to go to the gym, even though the manufacturer has released no data to backup up the claims.
Skechers has faced an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which could result in substantial fines. The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission has also received a large number of injury reports involving the shoes, with reports involving the toning shoes exceeding any other product in the regulatory agencies database as of May 2011.