Vibram FiveFinger: Refunds Offered After Lawsuit Over Glove-Like Shoes

Image: Vibram FiveFinger: Refunds Offered After Lawsuit Over Glove-Like Shoes

Friday, 09 May 2014 02:05 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Vibram USA Inc. is offering refunds to buyers of their FiveFinger shoes to settle a class action lawsuit that accused the company of misrepresenting the footwear's health benefits.

The refunds are part of $3.5 million settlement to customers who bought the shoes after March 21, 2009, for $20 to $50. The company also said it would cease making claims in ads that the shoes strengthened muscles and prevented running-related injuries.

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FiveFinger shoes resemble a glove, with individual slots for each toe, praising a "minimalist" approach to running.

Valerie Bezdek brought the class action suit against Vibram in March 2012, and filed the complaint in Massachusetts, the company's base of operations.

"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," the court brief said, according to Runner's World.

Vibram USA isn't alone in people taking issue with their marketing practices.

In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission sued Skechers over claims that the curved soles in its "Shape Up" shoes boosted exertion, prompting toned muscles, improved posture and weight loss. Skechers settled for $40 million.

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