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Jewish World Review
Oct 7, 2011
/ 9 Tishrei, 5772
Toning shoe takes a misstep
I feel badly about the whole Reebok toning shoe mess. It was
the athletic shoe for women that promised to strengthen calves and
hamstrings up to 11 percent and tone buttocks by 28 percent more
than regular shoes.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has fined Reebok $25 million
for “unsupported claims.” I thought the “unsupported” part was clever
on behalf of the FTC, which I had previously envisioned as droll
sorts, rolling about on their desk chairs all day, certainly never
engaging in word play.
In any case, the unsupported claim was that you could firm what
sagged by merely changing shoes. It was a stretch and yet so many
wanted to believe it. It’s become the American way, really – wanting
something for nothing -- toning without sweating, weight loss without
dieting and savings accounts without saving.
I wanted to believe in the toning shoe the same way I want to
believe there might one day be a chocolate that makes you thin,
alcohol that makes you sober and cigarettes that are good for your
To their credit, the commercials made it very believable. She
was a lovely young thing, the camera highlighting her tiny bum barely
covered by her tiny shorts. No fat, all muscle, the picture of health,
vim and vigor. And all because she changed shoes.
Why yes, maybe if I buy those shoes I’ll look like that, too.
Maybe I’ll even be 20 again, have long flowing hair, eat fries,
double cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes yet have a willowy build
and do back walkovers.
Of course, I never completely bought into the toning shoes. The
shoes were too much like the Facelift in a Jar. You hope it’s true.
You desperately want it to be true, but the $29.95 price tag tells
the rational side of your brain that it’s not true.
In any case, the toning shoe misstep has not been a total loss.
The unsupported claims of the toning shoes are working out exceptionally
well for personal injury attorneys. The Internet now teems with
sites dedicated to helping women recover damages if they have been
injured by toning shoes.
It is not as if the shoes mysteriously beat owners about the
head in the night, forced them to turn down the wrong street or
jump high hurdles when they weren’t conditioned. They are looking
for injuries where the shoes may have caused someone to teeter,
lose their balance and incur injured ankles, stress fractures or
worse. Ever so thoughtful, if you’re not sure as to how you might
have been injured, the websites offer a list of possibilities to
get you thinking.
Even for those, and I quote, “who are completely healthy and
able, it may be possible that a change in your walk could become
permanent and affect your ability to wear normal shoes.”
It’s really not a full day unless the healthy and able-bodied
are filing lawsuits, is it?
The personal injury firms have even been considerate enough to
set up toning shoe injury hotlines.
Let’s hope the women can walk to the phone.
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