FiveFingers customers can file claims for shoes

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Owners of FiverFinger shoes, like these, can now file claims and expect to receive between $20 to $50 per pair. Vibram recently settled a lawsuit out of court for $3.75 million. (Sydney Tyndall)
Owners of FiverFinger shoes, like these, can now file claims and expect to receive between $20 to $50 per pair. Vibram recently settled a lawsuit out of court for $3.75 million. (Sydney Tyndall)

Vibram USA, maker of the FiveFingers running shoe, has found itself in a bit of a toe jam. Owners of FiveFinger shoes are eligible for reimbursements of up to $94 per pair purchased after the company was challenged for its advertising practices.

Those who purchased certain models of FiveFinger shoes between March 21, 2008 and May 27, 2014, can file a claim and receive up to $94. People who file claims are likely to receive less than that amount, however.

“Based on the experience of similar settlements of class actions, it is reasonable to expect that Class Members may receive payment in the range of $20.00 and $50.00 per pair,” said Vibram’s Second Amended Settlement Agreement document

FiveFingers claimed their shoes improved foot health, but had no supporting evidence. Vibram plead no fault and settled out of court in May of 2014 for $3.75 million after customers said there was no scientific research to back up their advertising.

“Even though they’re really cool shoes and they’re super comfy, the company made claims that they couldn’t back up and ended up jacking up the prices of the shoes based on false claims,” said Jasmine Eaton, a senior nutritional science major. “I think I should get back the money I overpaid.” 

One Vibram advertisement said, “FiveFingers for fitness training, running or just for fun will make your feet stronger and healthier — naturally.”

Those who brought cases against Vibram argued that their campaigns presented five unscientifically founded points that caused buyers to purchase the shoes and spend more money than they traditionally would have. The five points are as follows:

1. Strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs

2. Improve range of motion in the ankles, feet and toes

3. Stimulate neural function important to balance and agility

4. Eliminate heel lift to align the spine and improve posture

5. Allow the foot and body to move naturally

Despite its multimillion-dollar settlement, Vibram does not admit to deceiving buyers.

“Vibram denies any and all claims of wrongdoing and does not admit any fault, wrongdoing, or liability,” according to the Long Form Notice document posted on the Vibram Claims website.

Owners of FiveFingers may file up to two claims without needing to submit proof of purchase. Those who want to be reimbursed for more than two pairs must submit a valid claim form as well as proof of purchase. All claims must be filed by Sept. 24, 2014, either through mail or the Vibram FiveFingers Class Action website.

Many users still love their shoes and have no intention of filing a claim.

“I love my FiveFingers. … I love running and hiking in mine; they get a lot of stares but are a great conversation starter,” said Preston Smith, an entrepreneur living in American Fork. “I am not going to file a claim because they have been nothing but great shoes for me.”

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