The NASA Technology That Walked on the Moon Now Runs on Earth
Claims: Dynacoil cushioning offers shock-absorption that's virtually compression proof.
KangaRoos still uses Dyancoil cushioning systems on their shoes today, but they are greatly different from the NASA-inspired idea from 1986. In the '80s everyone wanted to be an astronaut, so Kanga jumped at this marketing opportunity by bringing a piece of the space program to their footwear. Ahead of their time when it came to technology, this paved the way for current cushioning systems today such as Nike's Lunarlon.
"Be Ready in a Flash" with Zips by Stride Right
Claim: Easy on, easy off.
Zips claim was 100% spot on. Just ask your grandfather next time he goes out to get the mail and straps up that velcro faster then the speed of light. Which directly leads us to the problem with Zips in today's market as velcro is all but eliminated. Nike tried to bring back the velcro lacing system with the Stefan Janoski SB's earlier this year, but stopped rolling out new colorways after mediocre sales.
"Get Fit By Never Going to the Gym" in the New Balance TrueBalance
Claim: Burn 8 percent more calories then other shoes.
Introduced in 2010, New Balance was unaware of the problems that would ensue with the TrueBalance line. Not only did New Balance claim the shoes would burn more calories then other models, they were also supposed to tone multiple leg muscles including the calves, thighs, and gluteus just by walking around. It didn't take long for the lawsuits of false advertising to stack up, and eventually New Balance was forced to pay $2.3 million, and there's still more to come.
Sketcher Shapeups Claimed to Shape Your Butt
Claim: Tone muscles without stepping foot in the gym.
With Kim K at the helm, Sketcher's should of known they were doomed from the start with Shape-Ups. The shoes promised to help tone muscles, promote weight loss, and reduce the stress on ankles and knees, all without stepping foot in the gym. Shape-Ups came under fire in late 2011 after numerous reports of false advertising claiming the shoe's did more harm then help. A federal judge ruled Sketchers pay $40 million in damages, with users getting refunds of roughly $40-$80 if they had bought a pair. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Reebok EasyTone, Proven to Tone Hamstrings, Calves, and Butt 28% More
Claims: Tones muscles just by walking around.
When demand for a product is through the roof, you can't really blame companies for jumping at the opportunity to make a quick buck. That's exactly what happened to Reebok when they introduced the EasyTone as a competitor for the Sketcher's Shape-Ups. Reebok's claim was that the EasyTone would sculpt the hamstrings, calve, and butt muscles 28% more. More then what? Reebok never said, and maybe that's what got them into trouble and was forced to pay $25 million for their unsupported claim. Consumers and brands alike seemingly learned their lesson, and toning shoes are all but a thing of the past.
Defy Gravity With Moon Shoes, the Trampoline For Your Feet
Claims: "Jump with anti-gravity effects while developing balance and coordination"
Any kid of the '90s will remember Moon Shoes. Although they didn't promise any improvements to jumping ability, or leg strength, Moon Shoes were the must have for any kid during the summer of '93. Fast forward to 2014, where every child has the world at their fingertips and Moon Shoes wouldn't even cause a blip on the radar. Not to mention the lawsuits that would rain down from any parent whose child busted their ass trying to jump around in these.
Running Barefoot is Good For You
Claims: Mimics barefoot running to improve foot health.
Since it was introduced in 2005, over 70 million Americans have bought the FiveFinger. This ridiculous design was intended to replicate being barefoot by the use of thin, flexible soles that contoured to the shape of your foot. Things were on the up and up for Vibram until 2011 when lawsuits flew in disputing their claim to "reduce injuries and strengthen foot muscles". It took a few couple years to settle, but in May of this year, Vibram was forced to pay $3.75 million in refunds and damages after it was deemed the shoes caused achilles and plantar fascia problems. Goes to show the minimalist approach doesn't always work.
Converse Will Protect Your Ankles on the Basketball Court
Claims: Unisaddle for ankle protection and midfoot support
Back in 1985, the Converse Star Tech was the go for many of the NBA's elite. Just peep the commercial, and you'll see three of the biggest names in the sport of all-time backing the shoe. Nearly 30 years later, you'll be lucky if you see even one person hooping in Converse sneakers, let alone the best players in the world. Nike bought Converse in 2003, but if the Swoosh reissued any of the basketball models from back in Converse's hay day in today's market, it'd take a lot more then a single piece leather upper to offer the support LeBron and company are looking for.
Pump Up and Air Out
Claims: Pump up tongue for increased support, comfort, and custom fit.
Possibly the most iconic technology from Reebok, the Pump was supposed to increase support, and customize the fit of your shoe all by adding a little air. Reebok brought out the big guns for the marketing campaign including Dominique Wilkins who was competing with a little guy named Michael Jordan, who had his own shoe thing going on at the time. Only problem with the Pump in todays market is there is no real evidence to support the claim, and with Nike's Flywire as a competitor, it's clear why the Pump isn't used in today's models.