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New Balance Class Action: Shoe Buyers are Still Fat, Not Tone

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By Jason Beahm on January 06, 2011 5:48 AM

Exercise is a good thing. But according to a New Balance class action lawsuit filed in Boston, shoemaker New Balance has been hawking TrueBalance and Rock Tone sneakers that falsely claim to have health benefits.

New Balance ads claim they increase muscle activation by at least 27 percent and increase calorie burn by up to 10 percent with each step using a spring sole. However, shoe buyers are remaining obese, and not seeing any increased toning. Enter the New Balance class action lawsuit.

Toning shoes have become a billion-dollar industry in two years, but they have also been the subject of class action litigation. Sketchers and Reebok have also been sued over their toning shoes.

The New Balance lawsuit filed by Bistra Pashamova and other similarly-situated consumers against New Balance alleges that the company falsely claimed its sneakers help consumers tone their bodies, burn more calories and improve their health. The class action lawsuit says that claims that the sneakers increase muscle activation and calorie burn are "false, misleading, and reasonably likely to deceive the public," Reuters reports.

The New Balance lawsuit is seeking at least $5 million in compensation. New Balance claims their shoes "use hidden balance board technology that encourages muscle activation in the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, which in turn burns calories," Reuters reports. However, according to the lawsuit, research does not back up these claims. 

Generally speaking, under the FTC:

  • Ads must be truthful and non-deceptive
  • Businesses must have evidence to back up their claims
  • Ads can't be unfair, meaning the advertisement can't cause substantial injury to consumers that consumers can't reasonably avoid, or make claims about health benefits that will lead reasonable consumers to buying a product, who only find out later that the product doesn't do what it claims or is harmful.

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