The maker of a glovelike running shoe has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit which accused the company of falsely advertising the health benefits of minimalist footwear.
Vibram advertised the FiveFingers running shoes claiming it could “reduce foot injuries and strengthen foot muscles."
While Vibram "expressly [denies] and continues to deny any wrongdoing alleged in the Actions, and neither admits nor concedes any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing or liability," the company has agreed to pay up to $94 per pair of shoes purchased. More than two dozen models of Vibram shoes will qualify for refund.
Vibram also agreed to discontinue some aspects of its advertising and marketing campaigns and will make no other statements about the health benefits of FiveFingers without verifiable scientific evidence.
The class action suit called Vibram’s claims “deceptive” and stated “that FiveFingers may increase injury risk as compared to running in conventional running shoes, and even when compared to running barefoot.”
It said that the company misrepresented research on barefoot running, claiming “there are no well-designed scientific studies that support FiveFingers' claims.”
"We continue to expressly deny the allegations in the suit," Vibram USA Chief Executive Mike Gionfriddo told the Wall Street Journal.