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Skechers lawsuit raises safety questions about toning shoes

Skechers lawsuit raises safety questions about toning shoes

By Jed Boal | Posted - Feb. 16, 2011 at 6:24 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Toning shoes are the fastest growing segment of the athletic shoe market. That may change after a lawsuit was filed by an Ohio woman claiming Skechers Shape-ups shoes gave her stress fractures in both hips.

Holly Ward, a 38-year-old waitress, says Skechers Shape-ups severely injured her hips, but the company maintains the popular shoes are safe.

Other customers love the shoes. Wendi Wolfe of Salt Lake City is a big fan of her Skechers Shape-ups.

Still, she says she got used to them very quickly and likes the way they look, too.

The rounded soles are supposed to help get you in shape while you walk.

"I haven't had any discomfort or pain," she says.

We talked to Salt Lake chiropractor Mark Dudley about the possibility of the shoes leading to hip fractures.

"When we're dealing with the body and body mechanics, anything's possible," he said.

However, Dudley says stress fractures in both hips would be very unusual. He says people who wear the shoes should expect to ease into them.

"When people wear these shoes, their biomechanics do change, and they're told to step differently with those shoes," Dudley said.

The Shape-ups played in a prominent ad during the Super Bowl; in addition to celebrity Kim Kardashian, who starred in the commercial, former pro athletes Joe Montana and Karl Malone back the shoes.

Skechers says it will aggressively defend the allegations, and gave this statement:

"Since this lawsuit is brand new, Skechers has not had an opportunity to thoroughly review the plaintiff's allegations, claims, or medical records. Millions of people wear Shape-ups without experiencing what the plaintiff alleges." [CLICK HERE to read the entire statement]

Dudley says there could be other factors in the hip fractures, like slips, falls or body alignment issues.

"I think these shoes are good, I think exercising is fantastic," he said. "Any excuse to help motivate people and get out and start moving is good, as long as your body can handle and adapt to it."

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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