FiveFingers shoes will pay millions in lawsuit settlement

The shoes gained popularity after Christopher McDougall's best-selling book 'Born to Run' touted the benefits of running like our ancient ancestors.
By Aileen Graef  |  May 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM
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BOSTON, May 8 (UPI) -- The company Vibram USA agreed to settle a class action lawsuit with customers claiming that the running shoes do not perform as advertised.

The claim, filed in 2012, said that Vibram's statement that the shoes will, "reduce foot injuries and strengthen foot muscles" is not true and led to illegally gained profit. The suit was filed by Valerie Bezdek, who said that the company's assertions were not based on any scientific evidence. Several people were added to the lawsuit after similar complaints --the courts agreed with them.

Vibram has agreed to pay $3.75 million into an escrow, which will be distributed to people with valid and completed complaints about the shoes. If any money is left after the distribution, it will be donated to the American Heart Association for research on the benefits of running.

Vibram said it is only settling to avoid further legal costs and they stand by their advertising that glove-like shoes have health benefits. "Vibram expressly denied and continues to deny any wrongdoing alleged in the Actions, and neither admits nor concedes any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing or liability," said the court brief.

They also agreed to cease advertising that their shoes strengthen foot muscles and prevent injury, unless they find scientific evidence to prove otherwise.

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