Yesterday, a judge tentatively approved a $40 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against Skechers, the company responsible for Shape-Ups, the shoe responsible for shattering both dreams of perky asses and literal leg bones. But if people injured wearing the shoes were hoping that the shoe company would compensate them for their health care costs, they're SOL — the settlement will only refund customers their money spent on buying the shoes in the first place. Hospital bills and the monetary value of all dignity lost not included.
When Sketchers released Shape-Ups with the advertised implication that they were a great way to get a fantastic ass while just going about your day, people bought them in droves. Baskets and baskets of ugly shoes for people whose hatred of exercise, vanity, and ability to overlook shoe ugliness intersected to create a marketing holy trinity and sell a shitload of footwear. But not long after they hit the market, the brand's dubious claim that the shoes gave their wearers health benefits were challenged and debunked.
The idea that schlumping around in a special kind of shoe can give you the ass of a US Track & Field athlete is not only false, it's dangerous. And earlier this year, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of dissatisfied Shape-Ups customers, some of whom had experienced serious injuries while wearing the shoes. One woman says she fell and broke her hip. There were reported ankle problems. Knees became angry and inflamed. Lawyers were amassed. According to ABC News, the number of people who will be refunded for their Shape-Ups purchase — ranging from $40 to $84 — is "undetermined."
Skechers isn't the first brand of shoes to dupe people out of their money with false promises of toning magic. Just last week, Reebok was forced to cough up $25 million worth of refund checks to 315,000 dissatisfied customers on the grounds that its advertising for Reebok EasyTone and RunTone shoes was deceptive.
And while I'm sure every single person who bought Skechers Shape-Ups isn't a foolhardy rube moved by too-good-to-be-true advertising pitches designed to appeal to the lazy (I hear, for example, that some people who have difficulty walking in other shoes have an easier time of it when they're walking on Shape-Ups' curved, sloping soles), let's just get this out of the way right now: You guys. "Toning" isn't a thing. It's a lovely thought, but it isn't a thing. Some lady in a magenta leotard and turquoise leg warmers made that up in 1985 to sell workout videos to housewives who would spend their Januarys on their backs on their shag carpeting trying in vain to slenderize their midsections without doing cardio. Toning is false hope that has fueled a million Thighmasters. Toning is a lie! Stop buying crap that says it will "tone" you. If you want to be "toned," then do exercises that require you to be "strong." Like running, or riding a bike, or judo, or lifting weights, or Cirque du Soleil-ing. For the love of Jane Fonda, don't snap your ankles while padding the Kardashians' pockets.