Last week the FTC charged Reebok International Ltd. with making false claims that its so-called toning shoes helped strengthen leg and buttock muscles. The agency said the ads made unsupported claims that walking in their “EasyTone” footwear was “proven” to tone buttocks 28 percent more than other sneakers and build calf muscles by 11 percent. They agreed to settle the case for $25 million dollars but stated they will not stop selling their “EasyTone” footwear. Sneaker maker Sketchers also has been contacted by the FTC over claims that its Shape-ups shoes have toning benefits. Their promotional materials promise they can *promote weight loss *improve posture* strengthen the back *tighten the abdominal muscles *firm buttocks, calves and thighs * reduce cellulite and *improve blood circulation. It sounds like they may be in the business of miracles rather than sneakers. They also have the Kardasians as representatives, and you can be assured that they have a lot of credibility as stars of a Reality TV show. I would have thought that hiring someone who looked like Moses might have upped sales even more dramatically. What always fascinates me is that people are more liable to believe false claims and celebrities than individuals that are trained to really know what sneakers might create less trauma to our bodies. Podiatrists and Orthopedic surgeons have already stated that toning footwear is not a great choice. It can cause damage to your Achilles tendons, strain calf muscles and create an imbalance in your stride which can compromise those who already have balance problems. All of this rhetoric seems to fly in the face of reason since common sense has become less and less a part of the culture. If a product makes claims that it can burn fat, tone your abdomen and help you lose weight in less time than it takes to brush your teeth, than the mad rush to purchase whatever it is begins. sketcher sales grew to $1 billion dollars in 2010 before dropping off this year as retailers and shoemakers were forced to slash prices after demand fell. Could it be that there were a series of epiphanies? Gee maybe losing weight is also contingent on eating less and reducing stress, since too much stress can increase abdominal fat. But, hey that doesn’t cost anything, so it just isn’t going to sell, unless of course it can be bottled into some elixir and sold by Yogi Bear in a bikini!
Over the years I have bought into a myriad of products and clothing that made promises to lift, tuck, flatten, erase, lengthen, lighten, remove, reduce or enhance. I’m afraid to think about the money I spent on these items that essentially consist of creating illusions. I’m sure there are thousands of women like me all over the world. I have found that as I’ve gotten older that the comfort and enhancement that many of these products offer often comes from not buying them. Still, every once in a while I am seduced into looking into whether or not a certain item really does what the retailer says.
I often get commercials for the “ Genie Bra” on my computer. My imagination which is rife with humor started thinking of what a “Genie bra” might do. Could you rub the bra and get your wishes to come true. And where does the Genie live? Perhaps under one of the shoulder straps that the company says is wide and comfortable. I still look for jeans that have a shape but don’t strangle your thighs, and either come up too high or are so low you could get arrested for lewd exposure. Yes, I know there are companies that have jeans they say are for all body types, and I have friends who swear by them. Maybe, just maybe they haven’t seen a body like mine, since I can never get a pair that fit without feeling suicidal.
Makeup used to be one of my favorite things to shop for. I particularly love the eye shadows and blush, but I’ve gotten away from having to drive myself crazy trying to emulate what makeup artists do when their trying to show me how a certain product can open my eye more or diminish lines and lessen age spots. They often give you a chart to follow which is like having Map Quest for your face. I often end up looking like I’m auditioning for a circus act. I have finally had some epiphanies that have made my life much easier. Not wearing a bra unless I have to, is extremely comfortable. It gives the “girls” a vacation from bra prison. I have found some loose comfortable pants that allow easy movement and underwear that fits, but doesn’t constrict. I still love eye makeup, and hip fashion, but I have also come to realize that all of promises retailers make on how good you’ll feel once you wear their stuff means nothing if you haven’t worked on feeling good on the inside.