Skechers Shape-ups, a popular brand of celebrity-endorsed toning shoes, have recently been found to increase the risk of stress fractures, falling and fall injuries. Sports medicine experts contend that the built-in instability of Skechers Shape-ups makes wearers unnecessarily prone to tripping and falling. Injuries reportedly associated with Skechers Shape-ups include broken bones, broken or sprained ankles, broken hips, pain or tightness in the heel, calf, and Achilles’ tendon.
Skechers Update 5/16/12: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is advising the public to be wary of ads claiming that by simply wearing Skechers shoes, you’ll soon be rocking a body like Kim Kardashian or Brooke Burke. According to the FTC, Skechers USA has been fined a whopping $40 million to settle charges that the company made unfounded advertising claims that its shoes would help people lose weight and tone their bodies.
What’s the problem?
For better or worse, American culture tends to place a high priority on beauty and fitness. In our fast-paced society, we often have to sacrifice a healthy lifestyle to provide for our families and make ends meet. Because of this, people will buy almost anything that promises the benefits of a rigorous gym workout without the time or effort. One of the many popular magic workout products are walking sneakers with fat, curved soles which promise to help you “get in shape without setting foot in a gym.”
Skechers Shape-ups are designed with a rounded sole that is intended to increase the heel-to-toe movement of the foot. They are marketed to men, women, boys and girls in models including athletic shoes, boots, casual shoes, sandals and sneakers. According to the company, Skechers Shape-ups:
- burn more calories
- increase muscle activation
- improve posture
- reduce stress on the back and legs
- tone leg muscles
- promote healthy weight loss
- ‘Make it easy to get in shape!’
Skechers Shape-ups began receiving negative publicity in February 2011, when Good Morning America aired a segment titled “Could ‘Toning Shoes’ Hurt Instead of Help?” The report featured a 38-year-old waitress who allegedly suffered stress fractures in both of her hips after wearing Skechers Shape-ups for five months. The woman went on to file a personal injury lawsuit for her injuries.
Skechers Shape-ups Injuries
Injuries from the use of Skechers Shape-ups have been found to include:
- broken bones
- broken or sprained ankles
- broken hips from falls
- pain or tightness in the heel, calf, or Achilles’ tendon
The risk of these injuries is increased in elderly individuals with poor balance, vertigo, lack of feeling in their feet or chronically weak ankles. People with a pigeon-toed gait or those who walk with feet or toes at an angle could potentially be more prone to tripping or falling.
Often times, Skechers Shape-ups wearers may go for weeks or even months with muscle or bone pain without realizing the source of the problem. Doctors may even misdiagnosis these early signs of Skechers-induced injuries, making the problem that much worse.
Taking the numerous reports of these types of injuries into consideration, it seems clear that Skechers never tested Shape-ups to determine whether wearing them is safe. The scientific literature has repeatedly demonstrated the risk of toning shoes and the long-term impact of problems that occur when a wearer has an unstable gait. Yet, supported by the allure of an effortless workout and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Wayne Gretzky, Skechers has continued to market their shoe as safe and reliable.