Disclaimer: I don’t know if Skechers broke the law. A settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing, as a general rule. It is typically just an agreement to pay money and cease doing anything illegal in the future.
At any rate, Skechers has agreed to pay out $40 million to settle a lawsuit related to allegedly false health claims made in its shoe advertisements. If federal regulators’ claims are true, then any lawyer worth a darn surely would have told them not to claim that a shoe can help you tone muscles and lose weight.
You can’t just go around making health claims without hard scientific proof to back it up. That does not and never will fall under free speech or anything like that. You can lie all you want in general. But you can’t make false or misleading statements when trying to get people to fork over their hard-earned money to buy your product. Again, I’m not saying that Skechers made false claims. That is not for me to decide on such limited facts. But as a general rule, a shoe company has no business making such broad health claims.