Sunday, November 04, 2012

Wear Five Finger shoes with care

Vibram USA Inc and Vibram FiveFingers LLC were part of a class action suit where it was alleged that they made "deceptive and misleading statements about the benefits of barefoot running". The case was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts earlier this year. The lawsuit alleges the health claims of the Vibram FiveFingers were deceptive, FiveFingers may increase the risk of injury when compared to conventional running shoes, and that there were no legitimate studies that support the FiveFingers claims. The lawsuit cites a 2011 study by the American Council on Exercise which found that “heel-to-toe” runners who failed to change their running style (half the participants in the study) when wearing the FiveFingers had increased discomfort and risk of injury. The law suit was filed on behalf of Florida resident Valerie Bezdek, and claimed 1) health benefits claims Vibram FiveFingers has used to promote the shoes are deceptive; 2) that FiveFingers may increase injury risk as compared to running in conventional running shoes, and even when compared to running barefoot; 3) that there are no well-designed scientific studies that support FiveFingers claims.

Vibram does state on their website (which is acknowledged in the lawsuit) that switching to the FiveFingers does take time, possibly over a year for some people. Their training plan for the FiveFingers is longer than 13 weeks. The first two weeks are wearing the shoes 1-2 hours per day (no running), and weeks 3-4 are running 10%-20% of your normal distance, no more than once every other day, in the FiveFingers.

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