Reebok's promise sounded too good to be true: It claimed its EasyTone and RunTone shoe lines could shape your legs and tone your butt into a cute apple bottom. The claims sounded scientific: A trim spokeswoman touted a 11% gain in leg strength, and a tempting 28% improvement in your derriere over regular running shoes.

On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission ordered the sneaker company to pay $25 million in partial customer refunds -- calling the inflated fitness claims bogus. Consumers who bought shoes or apparel in the company's tone line after Dec. 4, 2008, can file a claim (with a proof of purchase) for a $25 to $50 refund.

"The FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science," David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in the statement.

Reebok is not the only shoemaker playing the toning card. In the last three years, brands like Sketchers Shape-Ups, MBT and FitFlops have offered products that claim to tone your bottom half with footwear that retails for between $60 and $100. Last year, sales for toning and wellness shoes were $1.1 billion, according to Matt Powell, chief retail analyst with Sports Business News -- a massive increase from the $350 million the sector earned in 2009.

While the FTC has made footwear companies knock off the shady science guarantees about more shapely legs, the shoe varieties continue to be popular, and they are comfortable, according to reviews on Zappos.com. Sports Business News anticipates the overall dollar revenue for the market segment drop 40% to around $650 million for 2011, but for now, unit sales are down only 5% as oversupply has packed the aisles with discounted toning kicks.

"[Reebok] will have to change its marketing story where benefits are not touted," suggests Powell. "They are comfortable and there is enough demand and consumer interest. But marketing story has to change."

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savemycountry911

I bought Sketcher sandles on sale. I like them fine but have no delusions about the claims.

September 29 2011 at 9:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rachel

Boohoohoo. I'm tired of these ridiculous shoes and I'll be so happy when the "trend" finally disappears. I'm sick and tired of reading articles and hearing obese woman complain that the company didn't stick to their side of the bargain. "B-b-but! The shoes were supposed to make me skinny!" Honestly, just put the cheeseburger and extra large the soda down, and get a gym membership for chrissakes!

September 29 2011 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
erika

I purchased Skechers Shape Ups and they gave me knee trouble. Turns out this type of shoe is not designed for knock-kneed people. I'm not even severely knock kneed but it doesn't take much. I took those things right back
to get a refund.

September 29 2011 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
erika

I purchased Skechers Shape Ups and they gave me knee trouble. Turns out this type of shoe is not designed for knock-kneed people. I'm not even severely knock kneed but it doesn't take much. I took those things right back
to get a refund

September 29 2011 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MARY

I purchased a pair of SKEECHERS TONING SHOES, but only because a few nurses I know wear them and said how comfortable they are, and being on my feet all day I wanted to try them. So I spend $99 and they are very comfortable.
So I will keep my shoes.

September 29 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jekeehan

I boght them also and have had leg problems everythime i use them so stoped a big waist of my money.Dont have my receipt either dam it.

September 29 2011 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
consultingpbh

You wood think having in your possesion a pair of the sneakere would get you a refund...but you nee the original purchase receipt. So how many out their keeps receipts for more than 90 days if it isn't for tax purposes. Reboot will pay nothing but court costs for this. But the American public can kick reboot to the curb.

September 29 2011 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
david85719

i bought these sneakers too. I walk two blocks to eat Mc Donalds every day for lunch and dinner. I' ve gained weight and my butt and legs got fat! I'm suing! How dare they. Now my bf doesn't want to have sex with me anymore. He is suiing them too for loss of services from me. They must pay me millions.

September 29 2011 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to david85719's comment
Rachel

How awful. I know how you feel. I weigh 320 pounds and went on the Taco Bell diet and bought these shoes. I've gained 135 pounds!

September 29 2011 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
moorepickle

Well, problem 1 all ready.......purchased 2 pairs for my daughter, back when she was in track and cross country....believed the hype the salesgirl gave us...who saves their reciepts for 3 years????????
NOW i KNOW WHY THEY AGREED TO A 25 MILLION SETTLEMENT.........THEIR NOT PLANNING ON PAYING ANYTHING........makes good headlines though, like their being responsible......what a joke !!!!!!!!!

September 29 2011 at 7:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Psalm 103:1

Talk about GARBAGE - brought new meaning to, "sneakers""!! The "commercial" for these shoes began in the gutter - actually and specifically focusing on the woman's rear end.. The message is not only misleading; it's really degrading, vulgar, targeting very young girls in an already sex-soaked media blitz. Unfortunately for our nation, too many "commercials" are nothing but short porn clips, and the malevolent minds behind them cares absolutely nothing about the age of the consumer nor the consequences wrought by such exploitation. Women, in particular, should be more discriminating, discerning the stupid bubble-headed images being projected and suggested to them. Thank GOD for the women who saw through the hype, realized the poison and went after the perps.

September 29 2011 at 4:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply