Last month it was reported that Vibram, the company that makes the Five Fingers minimalist footwear in which I run, decided to settle a class action lawsuit against it rather than take it to trial. Many of my Facebook friends posted incendiary sensational articles about it on my wall as if to say, “I told you so,” about my goofy shoes.
The lawsuit alleges that Vibram used deceptive marketing messages to imply health benefits that would come from wearing their product and that those health benefits were not proven to exist. In settling the lawsuit, Vibram has not admitted guilt; rather it has admitted that going to trial would probably cost substantially more than the $3.75M settlement.
Imagine that: a marketing message may have its validity disputed. You might as well sue Axe body spray for not delivering on its promise of attracting hoards of attractive girls every time you use it – or every beer company ever for not magically transporting the consumer to Rocky Mountain streams with his best buds.
For a pretty fair and balanced assessment of the lawsuit, the research that is and isn’t behind it, and its implications, see this post from The Science of Sport.
As for me, I’m planning to collect my settlement refund, viewing it as a discount on future Vibram purchases!