There might be more to squint at about Vibram FiveFinger shoes than how they look as if you're walking around in a pair of tight gloves. Manufacturer Vibram USA Inc. has announced it would offer refunds to buyers to settle a class action lawsuit that said its health benefit claims went too far.
The lawsuit asserted that Vibram misrepresented health research to advertise that its shoes, which are designed to mimic barefoot running, improved posture, strengthened muscles and reduced injuries. Were it not for for these claims, the suit filed March 2012 said, consumers wouldn't have snatched up pairs. The shoes sold for $80-$125.
The company said Wednesday that buyers will be able to file claims at fivefingerssettlement.com, which isn't live yet. Once it is, valid claims are expected to be able to get between $20 and $50.
My experiment with them went pretty well. With them, I had my longest span of regular running, ever. I think I went three and a half years of running three or four times a week, every week. And it didn't end until my right arch started acting up. I don't know if I blame my FiveFingers for creating the problem, but I suspect that once it started they made it get really bad really fast. And now, even after eight months off, it's not 100%. Not even 50%, really. But I'm tired of waiting. I'm running again, but I'm running in Mizunos now. I'm afraid of the FiveFingers.