Vibram, a shoe company who touted the health benefits form their ‘barefoot’ shoes is about to pay out a hefty compensation to customers purchased their footwear. The company admits that the shoes do not have any proven health benefits, and will have a payout as much as $3.75 million.
Any customer who purchased is eligible for a refund to anyone who purchased a pair of their shoes since March 2009. The company is also forced to dial back their health claims, which for years they have stated is due to their shoes, which are meant to mimic running barefoot. Over 70 million pairs of the shoes have been sold in the last six years the company saw an increase of 300% in sales.
Introduced in 2005, the company had on their website, ‘Imagine footwear that can actually help make the foot healthier, that can strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improve range of motion and increase sensory reception important to balance and agility.’
Their initial health benefits included strengthening muscles in the feet and lower, improving range of motion in ankles, feet and toes and eliminate heel lift to align the spine and improve posture. Doctors begged to differ, and the American Podiatric Medicine Association came forward in 2009 stating, “research has not yet adequately shed light on the immediate and long-term effects of this practice.”
Said the company after the settlement:
Vibram will not make…any claims that FiveFingers footwear are effective in strengthening muscles or preventing injury unless that representation is true, nonmisleading and is supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
Customers who are eligible can submit claims and receive $20 to $50 in compensation.