WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Reebok International Ltd. will pay $25 million to customers to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that it made deceptive claims in ads that its toning shoes would measurably strengthen the legs and buttocks of those who wear them.
Related: Apply For A Refund
Reebok, based in Canton, Mass., has centered much of its business on toning shoes, which include its EasyTone walking shoes, RunTone running shoes and EasyTone flip flops.
Read: FAQ About The Settlement
The company claims the shoes, which have a rounded, slightly unstable sole, encourage strength by engaging more of a wearer’s muscles.
Reebok made a number of claims in its advertising and marketing materials that the FTC said it could not support.
Watch: Reebok TV Ad
That includes claims that its EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28 percent more strength and tone in the buttock muscles and 11 percent more strength and tone in hamstring and calf muscles than regular walking shoes.
Under the settlement announced Wednesday, the athletic shoe and clothing maker is also barred from making any claims that the shoes add strength unless they are backed by scientific evidence.
A spokesman for Reebok, Dan Sarro, issued this statement Wednesday:
“In order to avoid a protracted legal battle, Reebok has chosen to settle with the FTC. Settling does not mean we agreed with the FTC’s allegations; we do not.”
“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.”
Reebok is owned by German shoe company Adidas.
Consumers seeking a refund will be paid either directly from the FTC or through a court-approved class-action lawsuit.
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