American footwear company, Vibram, just settled a class action lawsuit for $3.75 million due to false advertising that claimed their shoes were designed to promote foot health.
At around a $100 a pair, the shoes visually look like gloves for your feet and have a separate pocket for each toe that are designed to be very flexible and mimic walking barefoot.
The Vibram Five Fingers website claims that their shoes “free your feet to perform at their best.”
“The benefits of running barefoot have long been supported by scientific research. And there is ample evidence that training without shoes allows you to run faster and farther with fewer injuries,” it adds.
In March of 2012, a lawsuit was filed against the company by Massachusetts resident Valerie Bezdek, who alleged that the company misrepresented their product and had no valid research to support the following:
- Strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs
- Improve range of motion in the ankles, feet, and toes
- Stimulate neural function important to balance and agility
- Eliminate heel lift to align the spine and improve posture
- Allow the foot and body to move naturally
In a press release, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) stated, “Barefoot running has been touted as improving strength and balance, while promoting a more natural running style.”
“However, risks of barefoot running include a lack of protection, which may lead to injuries such as puncture wounds, and increased stress on the lower extremities. Research is ongoing in regards to the risks and benefits of barefoot running,” it added.
Bezdek stands by her claim and explained that Vibram misrepresented their product when there was no scientific proof to support their research.
Consumers that have purchased the FiveFingers shoes after March 2009 in the United States are eligible to receive a partial refund of up to $94 per pair and can file their claim at www.fivefingerssettlement.com. However, it is not known whether Canadian customers will be reimbursed.
The settlement has also forced Vibram from making future claims about the erroneous health benefits of its shoes.
Some Twitter users have disregarded the allegations made against the footwear company, and still love the shoes nonetheless.
— Zemrag (@Zemrag7) May 9, 2014
— zoe kay (@luckylady140) May 26, 2014
Feature Image: birthdayshoes.com