Vibram Bikila EVO
Vibram Bikila EVO

Vibram, the company that manufacture the FiveFingers shoes with separated toes, has moved to settle a suit claiming they overstated health benefits of wearing the shoes.

The company has agreed to pay out US$3.75 million to customers who own the shoes, meaning those who bought them after them March 2009 could be eligible for up to $94 refund from the company. Most of the company’s FiveFinger models will be eligible for a refund if the U.S. District Court approves the settlement, which was filed last week.

Vibram claimed the shoes help strengthen muscles in wearers’ feet and prevent injury, claims the company could not back up. Still, the company stands by their shoes and assert they agreed to a settlement to avoid expensive costs associated with prolonged legal battles.

FiveFingers were popular with a huge expansion of minimalist running shoe sales only a few years ago, but sales have again dropped off along with the market for minimalist shoes.

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19 Comments

  • barebuns1 says:

    I have 2 pairs. I have the Classic and the KOS. I used the classic for beach running when I was on PEI a couple of years ago. They are perfect for that sort of thing. I use my KOS for trail running and on the treadmill. I have no complaints about either pair.

  • Meggin D says:

    Soo…. how do you apply for this? I love the shoes, but this might allow another pair!

    • LennyB says:

      After the judge approves the settlement, Vibram will put up a web site and you can apply through there. Could take a little while.

  • alan1 says:

    I’ve been running in them for five years. I’d accept a free pair vs $94.

  • Patrick says:

    Seems obvious to me. Been running for half my life (15 years) and was never fooled by the minimalist movement!

    • Scott Beasley says:

      I’ve been running over 40 years and Nike Frees work great for me, so it’s a matter of the individual.

  • Duncan Morris says:

    If you have read Christopher McDougal’s book “Born To Run” you would wonder why all the thick soul shoe companies aren’t being sued. All running shoe companies make the same claims. What happened to “let the buyer beware”? We live in a litigious culture. I like my monkey shoes and I don’t want $94.00 at the expense of some company promoting fitness.

    • Rory says:

      There was a pretty interesting article that I will try and find on McDougal’s less than honest representation of his experience and the injuries that he sustained (and covered up) while running barefoot. I agree though suing a shoe company is opportunist and ridiculous. How on earth do these things get to court?

      • Duncan Morris says:

        Perhaps you shouldn’t print the link- the litigators may also name him in the suit (and people on this thread will try for two extra pairs of shoes)!

  • Stephanie says:

    I’m sorry to see this – I’ve been running in them for a couple of years now and my visits to the osteopath for ankle, knee, hip, shin splints issues, have dropped dramatically. Not to mention I just ran a marathon in them, and took a whopping 1 hr 15 min off my time.

  • cheryl b says:

    I don’t run, I walk. I don’t care what the podiatrist has to say, those treatments have kept me in pain.
    Been using minimalist shoes for 4 yrs now and most of the aches and pains are gone. All of the foot pain is gone.

  • Physical activity has an inherent risk of injury… running with or without shoes you may get hurt.
    Shoes are a “tool”… Tools require skill and knowledge to use… If used incorrectly you may injure yourself. If I take a hammer and miss the nail, strike my thumb and break it, can I sue the hammer manufacturer??

    Take the time to learn the correct way to run in minimalist shoes and you will be fine.

    ps. will this apply to canadians? ‘Cause I need a new pair of Vibs

  • Jen says:

    I bought 5 pairs since that date. I would only apply for the settlement so I can put the money right back into vibram and get another pair.

    • Nettie Potts says:

      Jen, that’s called FRAUD. Settlements are for damage, not your personal enhancement. Con artists like you are why the torts system is so effed-up.

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