UPDATE: Settlement checks were mailed August 21, 2013!
Remember the Sketchers Shape-Ups class action lawsuit we told you about in August? Well it looks like New Balance is facing a similar class action lawsuit for also selling “toning” shoes that allegedly don’t strengthen muscles or burn calories as advertised.
The New Balance class action lawsuit takes aim at the sneaker manufacturer’s claims that wearing its popular Truebalance line of athletic shoes will give users a tighter butt and shapelier legs.
New Balance advertises that its Truebalance toning shoes are designed with unstable soles that force muscles to work harder to maintain balance during everyday activities, resulting in up to 29 percent more muscle activation and up to 10 percent more calories burned with every step. The ads also claim that it increases calf muscle activation by 14 percent and butt activation by 16 percent compared to regular walking shoes.
“[New Balance] alludes that these claims are backed by scientific evidence because they say, ‘based on studies,’ but there is an assumption on the part of the consumer that when you say, ‘based on studies’ that there is actually scientific evidence to prove those claims,” said an attorney representing the lead plaintiff in the case.
The Truebalance class action lawsuit accuses New Balance of false advertising, breach of express warranty and unjust enrichment for running these allegedly false and misleading ads. The proposed class action notes that scientific studies do not support New Balance’s claims and that some scientists have even expressed concern that wearing the toning shoes could lead to injury. These fears, the lawsuit adds, are omitted from the company’s advertising.
“Consumers would not have paid the prices they did for, or would not have purchased at all, the toning shoes, had they known the truth: that toning shoes have none of the benefits described by New Balance and in fact increase the likelihood that some users will suffer serious injuries, such as broken ankles or pulled hamstrings,” the class action states.
The New Balance toning shoe class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of anyone who purchased Truebalance shoes or other New Balance lines of toning footwear. It is seeking to recover the purchase price of the footwear, which costs at least $85 for athletic shoes and $45 for flip-flops, according to the lawsuit.
The case is Pashamova v. New Balance Athletic Shoes Inc., et al., case number 11-cv-10001, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
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