A whole host of people have been sending me articles about the recent class-action settlement against Vibram over health claims made about their “FiveFinger” shoes. Folks who know me know that I’m a big proponent of them: I’ve been wearing them for over 4 years. I met my wife because of them. I’ll continue wearing them despite this “finding”.
Some of the articles folks have sent me:
- Vibram, ‘Barefoot Running Shoe’ Company, Settles Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit
- FiveFingers Maker Will Pay Millions To Suckers Who Bought Its Shoes
- Science, American legal system confirm barefoot shoes are bullshit
See, here’s the deal: why is it surprising (or even a cause of schadenfreude) that a multi-million (billion?) dollar industry combines with American Podiatric Medicine Association (who make their $$$ with expensive “custom” inserts) to push a class-action lawsuit against Vibram? There’s no science and very little evidence that the last 30+ years of running has benefitted from wedge heels, 1/2” of padding and all the other bullshit for which folks have been paying ~$80-$200 a pop. It’s not like running injuries NEVER EXISTED before Nike came in with their foot-splints. But where there’s a dollar to be made, there’s a way. The American ~~sewage~~ “legal system” is bullshit.
There’s a ton of mis-information out there about barefoot and minimialist running. In his book, Born To Run, Christopher McDougall doesn’t run barefoot. Scott Jurek doesn’t run barefoot. The Tarahumara indians don’t either. Only “Barefoot Ted” runs in Vibrams, and he learns how to make the huarachas the Tarahumara use to run massive distances over rough terrain.
Additionally, all of the “health claims” Vibram made about their FiveFingers were buffetted with a stern warning to start easy. I’ve always explained it to people like this: > So let’s say you’ve been wearing a sling on your arm for your whole life. You can use your arm, but only within the confines of the splint. Now let’s say you take your arm out of the splint. Are you going to be able to row a boat for a full day? Climb a mountain? No. You’ve gotta slowly build up strength in your muscles, bones and tendons before you can really start exerting yourself. Switching to minimalist footwear is just the same.
This is why there’s bullshit “research” out there where they take runners, switch them to minimalist footwear, and surprise, surprise they have injuries.
In summary, the whole thing is bullshit. Have I used that word already? The running shoe industry can continue making millions off of people who over-pronate or under-pronate or… whatever it is they get you to buy over and over again. The podiatrists can continue to sell pricy inserts when the running shoes don’t quite “fit your foot right”. Running injuries will still happen, and yet miraculously nobody points their finger at anybody but their own bodies for somehow not being “born to run”. I’ll be over here with this guy.