Shoes like Sketcher Shape-ups and Reebok EasyTone are the latest in sneaker technology -- the rocking design of the sole is supposed to tone your legs and backside. Now Sketchers is marketing the shoes to children, which has activists, parents and doctors upset.
Sketchers is running an animated ad on kids shows promoting the sneakers to young girls. The commercial (below) shows nicely-toned members of a girl-band running away from boys dressed as hot dogs, cupcakes and ice cream.
Critics say it is a double-standard.
"By not only marketing a shoe line to young girls, but also not even having an equivalent for boys Skechers is sending a clear message to girls and women – you're never too young to start hating your body," Change.org wrote in a petition, according to the New York Daily News.
The paper writes:
Parents are not pleased that their young children are being exposed to commercials that link being thin with being happy – nor do they appreciate the marketing for a product aimed at toning your glutes.
Some doctors are concerned about the design of the sneaker.
"The shoe's rocking bottom can cause ankle injury, especially if these little kids are running around a lot," Suzanne Levine, a podiatric surgeon and foot-care expert told the News. "Kids are likely to sprain their ankles and experience toenail injuries from the rocking motions. These shoes totally interrupt the stability of the foot."
But Sketchers claims everyone is getting the wrong idea -- it is just trying to send a positive message about fitness.
"The whole message behind Shape-ups is to get moving, get exercise, and get fit," Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, told the News in a statement. "This is the same messaging being used by the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, which is aimed specifically at children."