Are you one of the millions of Americans who bought a pair of Vibram barefoot shoes? If you are, then its time to get yourself a refund! According to Runner’s World, the company made false claims about the health benefits of its five-fingered footwear, causing the it to settle a lawsuit. Vibram claimed the shoes could reduce foot injuries and increase the strength of foot muscles. Apparently those claims were not based on any legitimate findings. In fact, studies have shown that using the glove-like shoes can actually increase the chance of foot injury.
A study done in 2013 divided a group of runners into two groups. Half of the group used their regular running shoes wile the other have used the Vibram shoes. None of the runners in the second half of the group had ever used the Vibram shoes before. After a substantial amount of running, MRI’s were taken of both groups’ feet. The MRIs found no obvious changes concerning the soft tissues in the foot. However, the bones in the runner’s feet were a different story.
Twenty percent of the participants in the Vibram-wearing group had an injury of some sort. Although it may be true that the footwear can strengthen the muscles of your foot muscles, they do not provide proper support. The lack of cushioning in the shoes can cause injuries, especially in the long run. It is thought if the study had been done over a long-term period, the effects of wearing the shoes would have been more evident.
Although the study is convincing, the official word from the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) is that the research surrounding the topic of barefoot running is conflicting. Research that has been done is not conclusive and long-term effects of barefoot running as a practice are not known. Whether the shoes are beneficial or not, the news is good for you if you happen to own a pair of the shoes!
The false claims about the shoes have caused Vibram to settle a class-action lawsuit. If you purchased a pair after march 21st 2009, you might be eligible for a refund. Vibram has agreed to deposit 3.75 million dollars into an escrow account. Those funds will be used to refund individuals who purchased a pair of the shoes.
Owners of the footwear can expect to receive between $20 and $50 per pair. If there is still money in the account after customers have requested refunds, it will be donated to the American Heart Association for research on the health benefits of running. Details about getting a refund can be followed at www.fivefingerssettlement.com.
Do you think that filing a lawsuit for making false claims about health benefits its over the top? Or do you think the company got what it deserved? Let us know in the comments below!