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Consumer Reports Article Links Injuries to toning shoes like Skechers ShapeUps

Posted on May 26, 2011
Americans spent more than $1 billion on toning shoes last year, up from about $360 million in 2009, according to research firm SportsOneSource. No doubt, the surge is bolstered in part by celebrity spokespersons such as Kim Kardashian, whose sexy Super Bowl ad for Skechers reached more than 100 million viewers.

Along with that growth are reports of injuries to SaferProducts.gov, run by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including alleged fractures, pulled muscles, and other accidents. Our recent analysis of those complaints identified 36 reports associated with toning shoes since March 11, when the database started. That's more than for any other single type of product in the database. Most of the reported injuries were minor, including tendinitis and foot, leg, and hip pain. But 15 of the reports were of broken bones, some requiring surgery.

And in August 2010 a group of consumers filed a lawsuit against the makers of the Skechers Shape-ups line of shoes claiming, among other things, that they "provide no health benefit to users beyond what any other ordinary sneaker provides," and that they "have actually injured some consumers."

Tests done last year by the American Council on Exercise concluded that "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." And they raised the concern that "extended wear of these toning shoes may alter the walking gait mechanics of wearers."


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