Bought Vibram FiveFingers Shoes? You Can Get A Refund (And Also, Why Did You Do That?)
I've always had a thing against Vibram FiveFingers, widely known as "those toe shoe things," not least because my pinky toe would never fit in them. Hell hath no fury like a pinky toe scorned. And this week, I can finally shield my dislike for FiveFingers in rational argument — the the company has settled a lawsuit for $3.75 million alleging Vibram misled customers about the FiveFingers health benefits. If you bought these shoes — you bought these shoes? — you may be eligible for a $94 rebate, which may not be enough to salve your wounded pride. But it's a start.
The shoes made hay off the barefoot running movement, which promotes the idea of well, running barefoot. The movement's proponents argue that the human body was designed for "natural" running, and that doing so can lessen the risk of certain types of injuries. But guess what? There's no scientific research backing that up. However, there are a lot of people who report that running barefoot works for them. More power to those (crazy) people.
The same does not go for Vibram, which, to recap, created a shoe for a movement centered on running barefoot. The makers of so-called "minimalist" shoes claimed to offer the same health benefits as barefoot running without the risk of, you know, stepping on something you'd rather not step on. Like dog poop. Or glass. Or all manner of other things sidewalks tend to offer up to barefoot runners. The shoes were also promoted for hiking, trail running, and other outdoor activities.
Now people who bought about two dozen models of the shoes are eligible for the refund, according to The Wall Street Journal. Vibram didn't admit any wrongdoing in the suit, Vibram USA's CEO told the Journal.
We continue to expressly deny the allegations in the suit.
But the company will stop claiming its pricey toe shoes come with health benefits.
FiveFingers: Like Crocs, but worse. Definitely worse than Crocs. You heard it here first.