Vibram running shoes, a passing fad with class action status. Were their claims of barefoot running false or just over exuberant marketing?
If you are a runner, there is no doubt you have heard about Vibram barefoot running shoes. Of course, to market such a product, you must spin it so people begin to want it. College campuses and high schools were filled with people who wore these cool looking shoes with 5 toes that fit like a glove. We even did a report on near barefoot running (read it here)
Vibram is now being sued for their claims on the benefits of barefoot running however, most true barefoot runners will tell you that Vibram shoes were not barefoot, since there is a loss of sensory input when you place a barrier between the foot and the ground. On the other hand, that barrier does add a layer of protection from injury and the pain of stepping on something that could penetrate the bottom of your foot.
To barefoot or not to barefoot, that is the question and when all was said and done, this fad ran its course. Does the legal profession now have the right to profit as the fad dies out, by claiming Vibram lied to the public? Did Vibram make claims that were wholly untrue, resulting in people purchasing a product for certain benefits that did not exist (this sounds a lot like the lawsuit against Sketchers for their toning shoes, which were a knockoff of MBT and claimed to so something they didn’t). As you can see here, the attorneys are making sure they make a quick buck off of this class action suit which in the end will benefit the attorneys financially, while the public watches the spectacle and perhaps, gets a discount on their next pair of shoes.
While nobody wants a product that does not deliver, many people have enjoyed MBT, Sketchers toning shoes and even Vibrams, a product that is not quite as cool as it once was, however, when this all shakes out, those who like those products (if they are still viable after having been publically reprimanded and having the products reputation soiled), are likely to continue to use them.
Check out this blog post regarding the Vibram lawsuit.
Vibram is Settling Lawsuit
9:37 am, February 17, 2014 by Bob Neinast
It’s time for an update on the lawsuit against Vibram, Bezdek v. Vibram. It looks like Vibram has made an offer that has been accepted.
And who will win? The lawyers, of course.
First, let me give a bit of background. As far as I am aware, there were three lawsuits against Vibram for making unsubstantiated claims about their FiveFingers™. These were basically lawsuits for fraud. (There was also another lawsuit against Adidas for their AdiPure shoe—this lawsuit was dropped by the plaintiff for some reason.)
In addition, they all looked very similar, often using similar language in their complaints. (A “complaint” is the legal document that starts a lawsuit). They also all asked to be classified as “class-action” lawsuits. In a class-action lawsuit, the original plaintiff asks the court to let them represent all the people injured by the supposed fraud, in this case, people who were lured into buying FiveFingers™ by the supposed false claims.
The three cases are Bezdek v. Vibram, filed in Boston in March of 2012; Safavi v. Vibram, filed in Los Angeles in July of 2012; and DeFalco v. Vibram, filed in Chicago in September of 2012.
The Safavi case was stayed (put on hold) to wait for the outcome of the Bezdek case. The DeFalco case was actually transferred to the Bezdek case and incorporated into it. So, it’s the Bezdek case that really matters.