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My thoughts on the current “lawsuits” against barefoot running shoes made by Vibram and Adidas.

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For those unaware, Adidas has now been named in a lawsuit regarding their version of the “toe shoes” called the adiPure Trainer shoes. Joseph Rocco said the $90 pair of adiPure shoes he purchased did not deliver the increased training efficiency and decreased risk of injury promised in advertisements. He claims the shoes actually increase the risk for bruising and foot damage, due to their decreased padding and other structural differences from more traditional running shoes. Rocco said he and other customers were never warned about the potential hazards and that, as a result, he suffered compound fractures after training in the shoes.

Isn’t this common sense? Or am I missing something here? For millions of years, people have functioned without shoes. Why are people now deciding to sue the manufactures if they do not see a “benefit” from the shoes. Are shoes really designed to enhance performance? If that were the case shouldn’t we have wheels with precision die cast bearings that would allow us to move extremely fast with less demand on the body? After all, following the trend it seems that the less we use our body, then the less likely we are to get injured, right?

Since March, this is now the second suit filed against a shoe company claiming that the shoes did not provide the desired health benefit and that the consumer became injured. Vibram was the first in the line of minimalist shoes to be named in a suit when Valerie Bezdek accused Vibram of inflating claims about the health benefits of barefoot running to market FiveFingers and charge a price premium over other brands.

Whatever happened to learning proper form, strengthening your foot musculature, and not blaming a shoe for failed performance. If shoes were meant to prevent injuries, why do we see plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and numerous other foot pathologies exist in such large numbers in those wearing traditional running shoes? There are over 1 million physician visits per year with a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis. I challenge anyone to present a comparison of injuries in those wearing traditional running shoes to those wearing minimalist shoes.

If someone purchases a pair of gloves and strikes their finger while hammering a nail, are they entitled to sue the manufacturer of the glove, or should they learn how to use the hammer? Maybe Mr. Rocco and Ms. Bezdek should learn how to run first, before blaming the shoe companies. I would be more the happy to help educate them.

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