Marketing is what companies do to attract consumers to buy a product, so would I expect anything less from Vibram? No. Is the $3.75million a big deal to them? I don’t know, but it was probably worth the cost of making the deceptive claims.
My question: At what point do consumers start to understand the quick fix for injury is a myth? If you honestly believed a wholesale change to running “barefoot” would prevent injury, I’m sorry…Go get your money.
The truth is, the marketing claims were not necessarily 100% wrong, but neither were they totally accurate. Deceiving? Sure. Vibram’s issue is making claims based upon anecdotal evidence and applying it a large group of people. Wake up! They are not the only company or individual’s doing this.
I personally used FiveFingers during the winter of 2008 to run “barefoot” on frosted field turf as I recovered from an Achilles injury. Did it help me? Probably, but not in isolation. I consulted with a physical therapist and coach, chose proper nutrition, cross trained, progressively returned to running, and worked on my running technique and proprioception. Did I buy another pair? Yes, FiveFingers were really comfortable to wear on field turf when it was cold out.
Would I recommend FiveFingers to a client? It depends.
Footwear is not a magic bullet. Strengthening, injury prevention, and rehabilitation is rarely attributed to a product, new exercise, or stretching technique. It is multifactorial, and it is depends on the individual.
Don’t be duped next time.
No, I will not be asking for a refund.