FiveFingers Barefoot Running Shoes Cause Foot Problems and Lawsuits

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

May 17, 2014 3:30:00 PM

You’ve probably seen those funny looking running shoes called FiveFingers® that look kind of like gloves for your feet and have a separate space for each toe. Over the last few years they’ve gained popularity in the running community promoting the concept of barefoot running.

fivefingers-footproblems-1[Image source:]

One of the reasons barefoot running has become so popular is because the trend explores a “new” way of running and moving, synonymous with freedom and exploration (Vibram FiveFingers). Some people in the running community believe it’s better and more natural to run the way people have for hundreds of years instead of using high tech running shoes with arch supports, shock absorbers, etc.

Another reason the FiveFingers shoes have become so popular are because of the health claims the company makes - but doesn’t have any actual scientific research to support – which lead to a lawsuit being filed in March 2012. Check out the article below for the outcome.


Posted by: Emily Thomas | The Huffington Post

Vibram, ‘Barefoot Running Shoe’ Company, Settles Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit

If you were one of the 70 million Americans who purchased a pair of those weird-looking "barefoot running" shoes, you may be entitled to some cash.

Vibram, the company behind FiveFingers shoes, just settled a $3.75 million class action lawsuit over false claims that its running shoe yields health benefits, Runner's World reports. The thin-soled, flexible shoes, which cost about $100 a pair, are said to mimic the experience of running in bare feet, and thus "improve foot health" -- an unsupported claim the company falsely advertised.

The lawsuit was first filed by Valerie Bezdek in March 2012. According to court filings, Bezdek claimed that Vibram deployed deceptive marketing and falsely advertised the following benefits from wearing its shoe, without basing its claims on any scientific research:

(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

But experts say barefoot running -- an experience the shoes are said to mimic -- may actually have a negative impact on foot health.

[Continue to original article: Vibram, ‘Barefoot Running Shoe’ Company, Settles Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit]


From the viewpoint of a New York podiatrist, it seems barefoot running can cause more foot problems than it's worth. Not only are your feet left without protection and vulnerable to injuries, there is also a significant amount of added stress being put on them and the other lower extremeties like the knees and ankles.

Running is great exercise, but it can cause foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, arch pain, and chronic foot pain. Without a proper running shoe to offer support and balance, these problems will only get worse and lead to more foot pain.

If you’re experiencing foot pain when you run or any other time, contact a New York podiatrist at Adler Footcare for a free consultation below. We believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.

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Related Articles:

Are You One Mile Away From a Foot Injury? Don't Ignore Your Foot Pain

Tips from a New York Podiatrist: How to Select a Proper Running Shoe


Topics: foot problems