Earlier this month, Vibram — makers of FiveFingers “toe shoes” — announced a settlement in a lawsuit in which they were accused of misleading their customers about the virtues of their FiveFingers shoes for runners. The claimants were apparently injured during transition to running in the shoes, and argued that Vibram made false claims about the efficacy of their shoes.
I’ve been running in FiveFingers shoes for several years, including at least two half marathons. Based on information on the Vibram website and everything I read about transitioning to barefoot or minimalist running, I made a gradual and purposeful transition, starting with intervals of about a tenth of a mile alternating with walking over a total distance of about a mile. I alternated running with traditional running shoes and FiveFingers. It was a gradual and frustrating process.
Not only did I not get injured, but the very reason I made the switch was that running in traditional shoes had resulted in a knee injury that necessitated arthroscopic surgery to my right knee. My reaction to that injury was not to sue Adidas or Nike, but rather to fix my problem and find a solution.
These days I run 20+ miles per week in my Vibram Bikila EVO’s, which are my fourth pair. I run a combination of trails and sidewalks. I’ve run in several organized races so far this year, including a 5K (3 miles), an 8.5 mile time-prediction race, and a 13.1 mile half marathon. I’ll do a 10K (6 miles) on the Fourth of July and another half marathon on Labor Day weekend.
I could very easily request my $90 settlement from Vibram, but I refuse to be a party to the actions of these idiots and their shyster lawyers. Below is my letter to Vibram’s lawyers, opting out of the class.
June 6, 2014
Vibram FiveFingers Class Action Settlement Administrator
PO Box 449
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0449
RE: Valerie Bezdek v. Vibram USA Inc., et al., Case Number 1:12-cv-10513-DPW (D. Mass.) Exclusion Request
Dear Sir or Madam:
I believe the claimants in this case are both ignorant and deceptive. Ignorant in that they didn’t read or couldn’t understand the massive amount of information available to runners transitioning to minimalist running, including the extensive information on the Vibram website itself, and deceptive in that they have mischaracterized how this product has been represented by Vibram.
I believe this suit to be little more than a way for a small number of amoral lawyers to collect nearly a million dollars while setting aside only $2500 for each of their clients. The claim is false; the claimants are lying; and their lawyers are some of the worst excuses for human beings to ever walk the planet.
On principle, then, I must request to be excluded from the Class – not as a way to preserve my right to sue, but as a way to object in the strongest possible terms to the very idea that anything the claimants have said has any merit.
I do not save receipts for products I have no intention of ever returning, so I cannot file an objection to the settlement, which was my first inclination. Suffice to say I believe it is very gracious of Vibram to agree to this settlement given that the claims are so fallacious.
I am the proud owner of four pairs of FiveFingers Bikila running shoes for which I am requesting exclusion. I followed the instructions on the website and in all the literature related to transitioning to minimalist running, and had none of the experiences described by the claimants and their lawyers, who are woefully stupid and disgustingly disingenuous.