More so than any other marketer, Skechers put a spotlight on the
toning category, with Super Bowl spots in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, ads
featured customer testimonials and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana.
In 2011, Kim Kardashian starred in the spot. Brooke Burke
also appeared in ads. Skechers' marketing is handled
The toning category reached $1.1 billion in 2010, with Skechers
controlling about 60% of the market, according to Matt Powell, an
analyst with SportsOneSource. Shape-ups helped propel Skechers'
sales to more than $2 billion in 2010, making it the second-largest
footwear brand in the U.S. Only Nike is larger, according to Sports
Market Intelligence. Shape-ups, introduced in April 2009, cost
about $100 a pair. Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups were
introduced in mid-2010 and retailed for between $60 and $100.
At issue were ads urging consumers to "Shape up while you walk"
and "Get in shape without setting foot in a gym." Skechers also
claimed Shape-ups were designed to promote weight loss and tone
muscles. The FTC also alleged that specific "muscle activation"
results related to the use of Resistance Runner shoes were
"cherry-picked" from a study and failed to substantiate ad claims.
Skechers ads also included an endorsement from a chiropractor who
was married to a Skechers marketing executive. The FTC alleges the
"independent" clinical study conducted by the chiropractor and
cited in ads did not produce the results claimed.
Under the FTC settlement, Skechers is barred from making any
claims about strengthening, weight loss or any other health or
fitness-related benefits resulting from toning shoes, unless they
are true and backed by scientific evidence. Reebok faced similar
restrictions but has bounced back, enhancing its testing protocol
and tweaking its marketing messages. Reebok execs believe toning remains a viable category.
Skechers said it will continue to make and sell toning shoes.
President Michael Greenberg said the company has received
"overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback" from customers who have
tried its toning products and remains "committed to the continued
development" of such products.