- 09-30-2011, 09:35 PM
Nike refused to do toning shoes as it wasn't part of their core values. They were criticized heavily and lost market share. Then this week, Reebok have to pay $25 million for false claims about toning shoes.....
"Wouldn't it be great if we could make a pair of shoes that made your butt smaller, made my gut look smaller, make your muscles look a little bit bigger, just by putting them on and wearing them around and stuff, walking in them? Nobody can do that. I was just teasing." - Eric Sprunk, Vice President of Global Product, Nike, May 2010
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Nike looks to have woman trouble.
The footwear and apparel behemoth's share of the U.S. women's footwear market slipped to 29% last month, down from 36.5% in the year-earlier period, according to SportsOneSource. Its sales of women's footwear, meanwhile, declined by mid-single digits even as the category grew in the teens.
It's no mystery where they went: Skechers and Reebok. Skechers tripled its share during the same period, climbing to 16.5% from 5.5%, and Reebok nearly did the same, jumping to 8% from 3.3%. Both of those marketers have invested heavily in the hugely popular segment of toning shoes, which artificially create additional resistance and turn a simple walk into more of a workout. Reebok is at work trying to widen its franchise with additional products including apparel under its Easy Tone brand.
"The explosion of growth in this space in such a short period of time eclipses nearly everything I have witnessed in the industry over the last 25 years," said Herbert Hainer, CEO of Reebok parent Adidas. "We are well on track to selling at least 5 million pairs of toning footwear in the U.S. alone this year."
Not Nike's style
But Nike refuses to sell toning shoes, which it says don't fit with its performance-obsessed brand.
"Unlike today's toning products, we won't ask the consumer to compromise on stability, flexibility or any other key performance characteristics as they train," a company spokesman said in a statement.
The spokesman added that the company has a range of new women's training products set for fall and winter release. And, speaking to investors last month, CEO Mark Parker promised "more compelling presentations at retail" aimed at women, calling the category "a massive opportunity" for the company.
Some analysts, however, suggest the category may be more challenge than opportunity at the moment. "It's more nuanced than just [not selling] toning," said Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource. "They're also losing business in nontechnical, fashion styles."
Part of the problem, said Mr. Powell, is a surge among competitors who talk to women in a very different manner than Nike does. Nike's testosterone-soaked "Just Do It" tone has always been an uneasy fit with women, although it didn't prevent the company from acquiring the largest share of the segment sales by beating out competitors who, at times, seemed to be doing their best to mimic the market leader.
Take Reebok: The brand was an aerobics sensation in the women's-fitness space when it made its debut in the U.S. during the 1980s, but it gradually drifted into performance-oriented pitches for team sports, inking high-profile sponsorship deals with athletes such as Allen Iverson. It even set a deal to make NFL jerseys.
The company has, however, in recent years refocused on its core women consumers, and those efforts are clearly paying off -- at Nike's expense. "There is a huge market opportunity out there that is not attracted by win-at-all-costs communication," said Katrin Ley, Reebok's VP-brand strategy and women's business.
Ms. Ley said that the marketer's research showed that, while female consumers viewed the Reebok brand as dormant for some time, they still thought of it as approachable and fun, and "they still felt openness to us and felt that we still had the right to reconnect" with them.
So the company has focused its energy behind its Easy Tone line -- marketed with taglines such as "Get a better butt" -- and a training-shoe line called ZigTech that it describes as "an energy drink for your feet." Both efforts have been backed with TV, print, retail and digital efforts from ad agency DDB, which works on the brand in U.S. and European offices.
Look for more to come: A running version of the toning shoes and a related apparel line are hitting the market soon, and apparently without toning-category competition from Nike, which continues to sneer at the space.
That's OK with Ms. Ley. "If you look at toning, it's focusing on the walking category, which has been dormant for awhile," she said. "Now walking is sexy again."
- 09-30-2011, 09:36 PM
ACE Research Study Finds Toning Shoes Fail to Deliver on Fitness Claims
SAN DIEGO (July 21, 2010)—The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading authority on fitness and the largest non-profit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world, today released the findings from an independent research study on the effectiveness of popular toning shoes including Skechers Shape-Ups, MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) and Reebok EasyTone. The study, one of the first from an independent organization, enlisted a team of researchers from the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and found no evidence to suggest that the shoes help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.
Our findings demonstrate that toning shoes are not the magic solution consumers were hoping they would be, and simply do not offer any benefits that people cannot reap through walking, running or exercising in traditional athletic shoes.”
To test the toning shoes’ effectiveness and evaluate their claims, a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, led by John Porcari, Ph.D., John Greany, Ph.D., Stephanie Tepper, M.S., Brian Edmonson, B.S. and Carl Foster, Ph.D., designed a pair of studies to evaluate the exercise responses and muscle activation that take place while walking with toning shoes versus traditional athletic shoes. Researchers enlisted 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 19 to 24 years, for the exercise response study, during which they completed a dozen five-minute exercise trials of walking on a treadmill while wearing each type of shoe, including the toning sneakers Skechers Shape-Ups, MBT and Reebok’s EasyTone, and traditional New Balance running shoes. To evaluate muscle activation, researchers recruited a second group of 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 21 to 27 years, who performed similar five-minute treadmill trials and were measured for muscle activity in six muscle areas: calves, quads, hamstrings, buttocks, back and abs.
All three toning shoes tested showed no statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during the treadmill trials, when compared to the normal athletic shoes tested. There was simply no evidence to indicate that the toning shoes offer any enhanced fitness benefits over traditional sneakers, despite studies cited by manufacturers seemingly “proving” the toning shoes’ effectiveness. Bryant warns consumers to be wary of such studies sponsored by manufacturers, many of which are not peer-reviewed and may be of questionable design. ACE’s study also addresses anecdotal evidence consumers have shared indicating that they feel the shoes are working their muscles due to localized muscle soreness. Study researchers explain that this feeling is due to the shoe’s unstable sole design, which cause wearers to use slightly different muscles to maintain balance than they would while wearing normal shoes, resulting in temporary soreness that will subside as the body adjusts to the shoe.
“There may be one positive effect these shoes offer,” continues Bryant. “The motivation factor. If these shoes are serving as a motivator for individuals to walk or get moving more often, that is a good thing, even if they don’t produce the dramatic toning and calorie-burning results people think they are getting.” Bryant goes on to add that “it is important to note that, based on the results of this study, it appears that consumers can more economically achieve the same results wearing normal running shoes.”
ACE’s study also raised a couple of questions, one positive the other negative: will wearing toning shoes improve balance over time? Or do they alter an individual’s walking gait mechanics, potentially causing problems for those who are already at risk for lower-extremity issues? Evaluating both of these issues would require additional in-depth research.
- 10-01-2011, 07:08 AM
Reebok to Pay $25 Million in Customer Refunds To Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising of EasyTone and RunTone Shoes
Settlement Order Prohibits Reebok from Making Unsupported Claims that ‘Toning Shoes’ Strengthen, Tone Muscles
In its ongoing effort to stem overhyped advertising claims, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Reebok International Ltd. has agreed to resolve charges that the company deceptively advertised “toning shoes,” which it claimed would provide extra tone and strength to leg and buttock muscles. Reebok will pay $25 million as part of the settlement agreement. The funds will be made available for consumer refunds either directly from the FTC or through a court-approved class action lawsuit. Consumers who bought Reebok toning shoes or toning apparel can submit a claim here.
“The FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Consumers should carefully evaluate advertising claims for work-out gear and exercise equipment. For more information see: How's that Work-out Working Out? Tips on Buying Fitness Gear.
Reebok’s EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes have retailed for $80 to $100 a pair, while EasyTone flip flops have retailed for about $60 a pair. Ads for the shoes claimed that sole technology featuring pockets of moving air creates “micro instability” that tones and strengthens muscles as you walk or run.
According to the FTC complaint, Reebok made unsupported claims in advertisements that walking in its EasyTone shoes and running in its RunTone running shoes strengthen and tone key leg and buttock (gluteus maximus) muscles more than regular shoes. The FTC’s complaint also alleges that Reebok falsely claimed that walking in EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28 percent more strength and tone in the buttock muscles, 11 percent more strength and tone in the hamstring muscles, and 11 percent more strength and tone in the calf muscles than regular walking shoes.
Beginning in early 2009, Reebok made its claims through print, television, and Internet advertisements, the FTC alleged. The claims also appeared on shoe boxes and displays in retail stores. One television ad featured a very fit woman explaining to an audience the benefits of Reebok EasyTone toning shoes. She picks up a shoe from a display and points to a chart showing the muscles that benefit from use of the shoes, while a video camera continues to focus on her buttocks. She says the shoes are proven to strengthen hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent, and that they tone the buttocks “up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers, just by walking.”
Under the settlement, Reebok is barred from:
making claims that toning shoes and other toning apparel are effective in strengthening muscles, or that using the footwear will result in a specific percentage or amount of muscle toning or strengthening, unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence;
making any health or fitness-related efficacy claims for toning shoes and other toning apparel unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence; and
misrepresenting any tests, studies, or research results regarding toning shoes and other toning apparel.
Ftc.gov/reebok gives consumers the basic facts about the Reebok settlement and
directs them to apply for a refund if they are eligible.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and approving the proposed consent decree was 5-0. The FTC filed the complaint and proposed consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on September 28, 2011. The proposed consent decree is subject to court approval.
10-03-2011, 05:17 PM
All that and still...., good luck telling any woman that the shoes don't work.
10-06-2011, 04:18 PM
Man guess im gonna have to get my money back.. O well, at least I still have my shake weight
you can lead a man to knowledge, but you cant make him think.
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