Are Magnetic Shoes Starting to Attract Lawsuits? – Brief Article

Kevin Christopher

The Consumer Justice Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) consumer group, filed a lawsuit on August 8, 2000, for false advertising and consumer fraud against Florsheim Group, Inc. for selling its MagneForce shoes as a pain remedy. The lawsuit was filed in Orange County, California, and asks that the footwear manufacturer be ordered to stop advertising the MagneForce shoes as a health aid, and to refund the purchase price to the class of persons who bought the shoes.

Apparently the pressure of the suit and adverse publicity has compelled Florsheim to abandon its pseudoscience marketing efforts–at least online. Many of the bizarre claims originally on the Florsheim Web site ( had been removed by mid-August 2000. However, the company was then still marketing its MagneForce shoes online with one tiny paragraph of concentrated junk science:

“The first shoe with its own power supply. Comfortable, quality footwear constructed with a lightweight, flexible magnetic insole to generate a deep-penetrating magnetic field which increases circulation; reduces foot, leg and back fatigue; provides natural pain relief and improved energy level.”

Finally (as of mid-September 2000), Florsheim relented and removed any trace of claims that the magnets in its footwear had health or pain-relief benefits. “Comfortable, quality footwear constructed with a lightweight, flexible magnetic insole.”

Stories on the lawsuit against Florsheim have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Denver Post, the National Post (Canada), and even Footwear News, a magazine devoted to coverage of the footwear industry.

Florsheim is by no means the only major corporation marketing magnetic therapy products. Other major names include Dr. Scholl’s. (See “Dr. Scholl’s Steps into Pseudoscience with Magnetic Insoles,” SI July/August 2000 24[4].) And smaller magnet therapy companies market their wares alongside more mainstream sports and footwear products on Web sites and catalogs, and in stores.

This is not the first time that a corporation has become entangled in legal disputes by making therapeutic claims for its magnet therapy products. In 1998 the Texas Attorney General filed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) against Magnetherapy, Inc., requiring that the company stop making claims that magnets “can cure, treat or mitigate any disease or that they can affect [sic] any change in the human body.” The order also required the company to “withdraw false labeling and advertising from the marketplace within 120 days” and pay a $30,000 penalty to the Office of the Attorney General to reimburse the state for legal and investigative fees. (See “Magnet Therapy Update,” SI September/October 2000 24[5].)

In case you didn’t know, Magnetherapy, Inc. was the company Florsheim worked closely with to develop its line of magnetic footwear. Go figure.

Kevin Christopher is Public Relations Director for CSICOP.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

You May Also Like

Police, psychics search for ‘abducted’ Runaway Bride

Police, psychics search for ‘abducted’ Runaway Bride Benjamin Radford Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, vanished from her Duluth, Georgia, hom…

Astrology Schools Seek—And Get—Academic Recognition

Astrology Schools Seek—And Get—Academic Recognition – Brief Article Kevin Christopher Accreditation Commission Approves Astrology…

Recent research shows that moral, religious, and paranormal beliefs relate to specific workings of the brain

The neural substrates of moral, religious, and paranormal beliefs: recent research shows that moral, religious, and paranormal beliefs relate to…

Doyle and Sherlock Holmes – Letters To The Editor

Doyle and Sherlock Holmes – Letters To The Editor – Letter to the Editor Steve Chandler Your latest piece on Houdini, Massimo Polid…