“Barefoot” running may have just gasped its last breath.
According to NBC News, Vibram USA Inc. has announced it would offer refunds to buyers to settle a class action lawsuit that claimed the proposed health benefits of the shoes went too far.
The suit was filed in March 2012, and buyers of the shoes can go to fivefingerssettlement.com (whenever it’s live) to claim up to $94 from the company, which has set aside $3.75 million to settle the suit. Proof of purchase is required if you’re claiming more than one pair of shoes.
Allegedly, Vibram “deceived consumers when it claimed, without any scientific backup, that its shoes could decrease foot injuries and strengthen foot muscles,” according to the Washington Post.
But everyone needs to hold the phone for a hot second.
There are other utilities outside of running that are perfect for FiveFinger shoes – namely, weight lifting. Deadlifting and squatting are known to be best done with as little distance between you and the floor as possible; ideally, barefoot. You need a stable base that other cross-traning shoes don’t provide. Since most gyms don’t allow you to shed your shoes and socks, this could be a new niche that FiveFinger shoes could fit into, a space that specialized weight lifting shoes and Chuck Taylors have long occupied. Many lifters swear by FiveFingers.