March 1st, 2011
By: Deborah Dunham
Skechers Shape-up shoes claim they can tone your legs, but one woman is saying they injured hers.
Ohio resident Holly Ward has filed a lawsuit against the company stating that she developed stress fractures in both hips as a result of wearing the shoes.
Ward said that she wore the toning shoes during her job as a waitress and, after five months, developed severe pain in her hips. According to the lawsuit, the 38-year-old had no previous injuries and had a healthy bone density of a young woman, thereby alleging that the shoes were the culprits of her stress fractures.
The Shape-ups are a part of the company’s more than 3,000 styles of shoes. Their technology includes a soft kinetic wedge insert and rolling bottom to simulate walking on soft sand. There are different variations of the Shape-ups, including those made for walkers, runners, hikers and gym goers.
There is also a “for-work” Shape-up shoe, which the company’s website states is “perfect for industry professionals who want to get in shape while on the job.” These shoes are advertised to help reduce joint stress (among other things like burning calories, tightening abdominals and strengthening the back), which is the very nature of Ward’s injuries and resulting lawsuit.
“We do not know of any testing or safety studies that Skechers did to determine safety,” Ward’s attorney, Ronald Johnson, told ABC news. “If they’re going to invent a whole new way for a human being to walk, the very first thing they should do is studies to make sure that’s not going to harm their customers.”
Ward, who is now in physical therapy for her injuries and has pins in her hips due to the injuries, told “Good Morning America,” “The extended use of these shoes has injured me catastrophically.”
Ward added, “The femoral bone is the strongest bone in the human body, and I fractured not one but two of them without being in a car crash or any traumatic incident.”
The hype for Shape-ups began in 2009 when the shoes were introduced. Since then, Kim Kardashian and her mother, Kris Jenner, have been named the new faces of the brand with a campaign called “Shaping Up With the Kardashians.” Yet even with the media hype, there has been repeated controversy over whether the toning shoes do indeed work.
The thing that everyone can agree on is that Shape-ups alter your natural foot pattern and the way you walk. In fact, there is little supporting data that any of the toning shoes on the market really work, and orthopedics, in particular, have remained skeptical about their benefits.
Ward’s lawyer said he has heard from more people with fractures and reports quoting doctors who say they’ve seen other injuries like strained Achilles tendons and falls because people lost their balance in the shoes.
Meanwhile, Skechers stands by its shoes, stating “millions of people wear Shape-ups without experiencing what Ms. Ward alleges.”